Midori Matsuoka at Asian Champs

Midori receiving her Bronze Medal

Midori receiving her Bronze Medal

The 11th Asian Lawn Bowls Championships were in Brunei Darussalam at the National Sports Complex from 24 Jan – 2 February 2016. (It was titled the 2015 Championship as it was originally scheduled for October 2015.) 200 players represented the 13 countries. Midori Matsuoka, of Neutral Bay Club, represented her home country of Japan in both the Singles and Pairs.

The competition opened with sectional play (2 sections), then play-offs, with the winners of each play-off progressing to the semi-finals.

In her first Singles game, Midori played against Bell Chuchu of Brunei, who finished in the top 6 at the recent Asia-Pacific Champs held in Christchurch, NZ and was favourite to reach the final in this event. The game ran neck and neck and Midori finally won by 1 with the last driving shot. In the remaining games, Midori won against Macau and then lost two close games by one shot each to Hong Kong and Singapore. This was enough to get her through to the play-offs, where she triumphed 19-10 over India to reach the semi-final. At this stage, Midori came up against Siti Zalina of Malaysia, who counts World Champion and Asia Pacific Champion amongst her many titles. This proved too great a challenge as Zalina cruised 21-7 into the final, which she then won against Brunei’s Chuchu, leaving Midori to pick up bronze.

For the Pairs, the Japan team (Midori, skip, partnered by Saijo from Kobe, Japan) overcame Hong Kong, China and the Philippines in sectional play, losing only to Thailand. The play-offs pitched Japan against Hong Kong once more. However, on this occasion, Hong Kong were the victors, progressing to the semi-finals.

In the final tally, Malaysia with their 6 gold medals dominated the Championships. Nonetheless, with Midori taking bronze on her international debut, Japan won their first medal in Ladies Singles in the history of the Championships.