Henry holds off Scottish challenge in thrilling final
Ireland's Jeremy Henry clinched the singles title at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic after staving off the challenge of Scotsman Wayne Hogg in an entertaining final at Football Club yesterday.
Playing in his first Classic in nine years, the 32-year-old civil servant from Ballamoney made it a winning return as he edged Hogg 6-5, 6-7 (2-0) in a fast-paced final that lasted just under an hour.
Henry's triumph continued the superb record of his countrymen in the tournament. In past years, Ireland were represented by the successful duo of Noel Graham and Jonathan Ross - the defending pairs champions.
The Irishman reached the final by defeating Hong Kong's Robin Chok Hung-kei 8-2, 5-4.
'I'm really pleased to have won the singles because outside the world championships and the Commonwealth Games, this is probably the next biggest tournament,' said Henry, the 2000 world champion.
'I won the first set but I started to throw it away in the second set. I was lucky enough to pull through in the tiebreak. I had a couple of good ends but once you get to the tiebreak, it's like a lottery.'
Although Henry's triumph was not a surprise, the Irishman had to make big adjustments to his game after coming off the indoor season.
'It was hard winning my first two games here because I had to acclimatise to the outdoor conditions. I was lucky enough to get through after a couple of good breaks and once I reached the final, it was all on the day. I played really well today,' he said.
Hogg, this year's world junior champion, was disappointed not to have won the title, but pleased to have reached the final.
'There really wasn't much in the game. I was playing really good bowls and I knew I was in with a chance,' said the Scot.