Retreat bowlers fly the flag for Pattaya

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Starting on August 30, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club hosted a 5-day international bowls event with national teams from all over Asia being invited to participate.  The teams included were from the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong, Kong, China, Japan and Korea plus many top teams from Bangkok.  The Retreat Bowling Club in Pattaya was given 2 wild card team slots which were duly filled and the players travelled to the capital with high anticipation.

From left: Ian Riches, Nina Riches and Keith Fortt at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.
From left: Ian Riches, Nina Riches and Keith Fortt at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.

The format was round robin with 6 groups of 6 teams each and the top 2 from each group going through to the quarter finals.  The Pattaya triples group of Keith Fortt, Ian Riches and Nina Riches were drawn in a particularly difficult group with last year’s winners Thailand and several other top teams.  Undaunted, The Retreat team played some superb bowls to go through the group stages unbeaten, even beating the favourites Thailand on the way.

The quarter finals saw The Retreat taking on the team from China and it was a very tight battle going down to the last bowl of the day.  Skipper Ian Riches drew the shot to put China out and the Retreat into the semi finals and now looking to be a real threat for the title.

The semi finals match was going to prove to be their hardest test to date for the Pattaya bowlers as they clashed with the only other unbeaten team, the Philippines.  The quality of play and skill from both teams did not disappoint, with Nina Riches and Keith Fortt battling hard at the front and setting up some good points to keep The Retreat in with a shout.  With 11 ends played the score was 11-11 apiece, and with 2 ends to play The Retreat pulled off some spectacular display of bowls to leave the Philippines dumped out of the competition and the Pattaya trio into the final.

In the championship match The Retreat would meet once again with last year’s winners the Thai team, and although The Retreat had beaten them in the earlier rounds you could sense that this final was poised and no one knew which way it would go.  Shots were traded and each end the lead changed hands.  Once again at the right moment, with 3 ends left to play, The Retreat made their move and took 3 valuable points which the Thai team players were unable to recover from and against all odds The Retreat team became the 2016 champions.  Pattaya representatives Keith Fortt, Ian Riches and Nina Riches had pulled off a very well earned victory with all of them having to play their very best bowls to achieve this notable success.

The Royal Bankok Sports Club put on a fabulous evening celebration with the presentation of the trophies and a splendid international buffet.