Chan helps Kennedy relive Classic glory

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2007, 12:00am

Noel Kennedy turned back the clock yesterday as he partnered youngster Ken Chan Ken-che to glory in the pairs competition at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic - 19 years after first winning the competition.

The SAR duo defeated Welsh pair Mark Harding and Stephen Harris 15-13 in a nail-biting final at Kowloon Bowling Green Club.

It was Hong Kong's first success in the event since David Tso and George Souza Jnr swept to victory in 1994.

It was also 42-year-old Kennedy's first pairs triumph since 1988 when he teamed up with Mark McMahon.

The 22-year-old Chan, playing in his second pairs final in three years, saluted Kennedy. 'Noel is such a fantastic player. We wouldn't have done it without him,' said Chan.

Kennedy said: 'Winning this was similar to Hong Kong's win in 1988 when we played England in the final because that went to an extra end. Was it sweeter? That's hard to say. The first win is always nice but it has been a long time.

'Ken is a fantastic player and he has got a huge future ahead of him. To beat Australia in the semi-finals this morning [24-13] and defending champions South Africa yesterday was also very sweet.'

Hong Kong came back from the brink of defeat when Wales held a three-shot advantage on the 18th end, but Kennedy saved the day when he burned the jack to force the match into an extra end, which they won 15-13. 'If I had missed it, I would have been disappointed,' he said. 'But it was a great final and Wales played very well. Just to get into the final is very pleasing and to win it is the icing on the cake. It's fantastic.'

Harris said he was disappointed with the result, but pleased Wales had reached the final on their tournament debut. 'It was a great game all the way through and it was always going to come down to the last end,' said Harris.

Wales had edged England's Mervyn King and Neil Hope 17-16 to reach the final.