Classic banks on success

FORMER champions Mark McMahon and Noel Kennedy go into this week's revived Hong Kong Classic knowing that the tournament's future could lie in their hands.

McMahon and Kennedy generated huge local interest when they won the event in 1988 in their first international venture as a pair.

And organisers are hoping another good run by the duo, and the other local teams taking part, will help raise the tournament's profile and secure its future through sponsorship.

Lack of sponsorship forced the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association to cancel last year's event.

Bob Gartan of the event's organising committee, said: ''It costs about $500,000 to put on the event.

''The association are paying about half the costs, while the rest is coming from entry fees and the Sports Development Board.


''What we need is a main sponsor and if the national team or any of the other local teams can do well, it would certainly help our cause.'' McMahon and Kennedy are joined by local pairs from seven other clubs plus two Hong Kong women's teams.

There are eight quality overseas men's teams and one women's team each from Australia and the British Isles.

England are led by world singles champion Tony Alcock, who teams up with John Bell.

Bell was England's skip when they were beaten by Hong Kong in the 1988 final.


Scotland's Graham Robertson and Alex Marshall return to defend the title they won in 1990, while South Africa make their debut with Kevin Cambell and Ashley van Winkel.

The tournament begins tomorrow with the two-day Souza singles competition at Kowloon Cricket Club.


Alcock is the top seed in the 64-strong field ahead of Robertson.

All 20 overseas players will compete in the singles along with the players representing the Hong Kong teams and 40 other local bowlers who qualified for the event.

Alcock faces Charles Ko of Kowloon Bowling Green Club (KBGC) in the first round, while Robertson takes on Police's Raymond Law.


Kennedy, the current national singles player and a finalist in 1987, faces Paul Tang while McMahon meets Neil McCabe, of Police.

The Classic pairs competition starts on Monday at KBGC. The 20 teams are divided into two groups of 10. The top four in each group, after a round-robin, advance to the quarter-finals.

Australia's Cameron Curtis, the Pacific singles champion, has a first-round date with Police's Nick Grimshaw.


Classic Pairs groupings: Section A: Hong Kong men (Noel Kennedy and Mark McMahon), England (Tony Alcock and John Bell), Wales (Robert Weale and Will Thomas), Ladies Lawn Bowls Association (Sinina Yau and Noelene Hill), Australian Women (Daphne Shaw and Edda Bonutto), Kowloon Cricket Club (Ken Wallis and Jim Melbourne), Craigengower Cricket Club (Nicky Tso and Jacky Wong), New Zealand (Michael Kernaghan and Phlip Skoglund), Israel (Cecil Bransky and Jeff Rabkin), China Light and Power (Pat Chan and Jimmy Chiu).

Section B: Hong Kong Women (Lena Yeung and Linda Smith), Scotland (Graham Robertson and Alex Marshall), Australia (Cameron Curtis and Ian Taylor), Filipino Club (Ronson Au and Michael Hui), South Africa (Kevin Cambell and Ashley van Winkel), Hong Kong Football Club (Ran Lakoon and Mike Galland), Lawn Bowls Association (Mel Stewart and Danny Ho), British Isles Women (Margaret Johnston and Norma Shaw), Canada (Bill Boettger and David Brown), Kowloon Bowling Green Club (Anthony Carstairs and Dawood Karamdin).