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Young Australian guns Nathan Pedersen and Corey Wedlock defend Hong Kong Bowls Classic title

Australia’s Nathan Pedersen and Corey Wedlock successfully defended their men’s pairs title at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic on Sunday as youth shone yet again at Craigengower Cricket Club.

Pedersen and Wedlock had won last year’s tournament and the pressure was on the young Jackaroos to repeat the feat. But lightning did strike twice at the Classic as the young Aussie pair proved that last year’s victory was no fluke after defeating Scotland’s Kevin Anderson and Ryan Burnett 8-7, 13-1.

“It was a lot harder this year,” said 20-year-old skipper Wedlock. “The greens were trickier to play on and the score didn’t really reflect how tough the final was. We won it twice in a row and hopefully we can come back and try to win it three in a row next year,” he said.

After winning the first set 8-7, the telling factor came midway through the second set when Anderson, trailing 7-1, drove his bowl while trying to save a shot, but he took out his own two shots. It meant the Scots were now trailing 12-1, which paved the way for a straight forward Australia victory.

“It was getting to the point where they [Scotland] were chasing shots. They had to go for it. There was always a chance he [Anderson] could have taken the bowls out but it was a pretty unlucky result,” said Wedlock, who hails from New South Wales.

“We have different tournaments in Australia and playing non-stop really. We both have jobs,” said the Australian, who is a greenskeeper.

Pedersen, 22, was extremely happy they were able to defend their title, which puts them in a good position to receive an invitation to come here again next year.

“It was a bit trickier this year with the greens, especially in the final. I think they [organisers] rolled the greens more and greens went quicker. Winning means that Corey and I have the best chance of coming back because the organisers would probably want the defending champions to return.

“We just love Hong Kong and the city is such a good place,” said Pedersen, who with Corey became only the fifth pair in the 30-plus history of the tournament to retain their Classic pairs title.

Pedersen was relieved with the result, but always thought the Australians had the upperhand from the start.

“To be honest, overall we played better than them. We put them [Scotland] under pressure and we forced them to play the big shots. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but this time it worked for us,” said Pedersen who owns a transport company.

The women’s pairs final was won by the Philippines’ Rosita Bradborn and Sonia Bruce. They defeated Malaysia’s Noorazlinda Zakaria and Zuraini Khalid 11-2, 7-7.

Hong Kong failed to match their feat of last year when they won three out of four titles. Dorothy Yu Kin-shan was closest in last week’s women’s singles, where she lost in the final to Khalid.