The national lawn bowls teams posing for a group photo after their matches at the Asia Pacific Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this week. Courtesy of Pg Hj Mohd Salleh Chuchu Pg Hj Tuah
THE national lawn bowls team have book a place at next year's World Bowls Championships following their strong performance at the Asia Pacific Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Nov 24-Dec 4 tournament was held as a qualifier for next year's World Bowls Championships which also will be held in New Zealand.
Brunei's Ali Hj Bujang, Hj Naim Brahim, Mohd Huziami Hj Md Salleh and Pg Hj Mohd Salleh Chuchu Pg Hj Tuah were the sultanate's first team to book a place in the 2016 World Bowls Championship after upsetting tournament favourites Australia comfortably 21-13 in their final group match of the men's four event.
"We needed to win the last match against Australia to qualify and they were the favourites to win the tournament – so I think we shocked everyone by beating them with the scoreline," said Pg Hj Mohd Salleh Chuchu in a phone interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"Facing Australia as an undefeated team was a great challenge. As a skipper, I planned a strategy with my teammates which worked perfectly. "Overall, the performance of all the athletes was very convincing despite having to play in the cold and in very windy conditions with fast greens," he added.
The men's fours team kicked-off the tournament with a 15-14 loss to Hong Kong and they followed that up with a 17-17 draw against Norfolk Island. They recorded their first win after beating Samoa Island 17-10 but lost 18-17 to Fiji in a very close match.
Junior bowler Dk Nurul Nabilah Pg Mohd Salleh Chuchu also made it to the tournament proper following her excellent performance in the ladies singles. She started her campaign with two losses to Fiji (21-17) and to Australia (21-4) but she bounced back to win all her five remaining matches.
She overcame bowlers from Singapore (21-8), Niue (21-7), Canada (21-15), Hong Kong (21-13) and United States (21-17) to qualify for the semi-final play-off but then lost to a former Commonwealth champion from Malaysia. "In the play-off I was having trouble with the unpredictable strong wind," said Dk Nurul Nabilah.
"I promise to do better next year in the World Championship and improve my achievement," she added. In the men's single event Abdul Rahman Hj Omar recorded three wins to earn his place at next year's world event.
Abdul Rahman first defeated a player from Norfolk Island 21-20 before cruising past representatives from United States and China 21-13 and 21-3 respectively. The men's triple team which consisted of Ali, Hj Naim and Abdul Rahman also made it to the World Bowls Championship following their impressive performance in their group.
The trio recorded five wins: Niue (20-12), Norfolk Island (21-9), India (20-12), Hong Kong (19-11) and Cook Island (19-15) to grab a spot in the play-off, where they lost to home team New Zealand. The country's representatives in the ladies triples - Dk Nurul Nabilah, Esma Wandy Ibrahim and Suhana Hj Daud - are the other bowlers who will make an appearance at next year's World Bowls Championship.
They defeated Singapore 23-12 and their other only victory was against Australia in a very close 18-17 win. The national lawn bowls team also impressed at a tournament in Kuala Lumpur in October.
Competing in the 10th Asia Pacific Merdeka Indoor Championships 2015, Huzaimi and Rosita Hj Md Kamis and bagged joint bronze after being edged 12-11 by eventual champions Malaysia A in the semi-finals of the mixed pairs event at the Bayuemas Indoor Bowls Complex in Klang.