25th November, Kuching: Malaysians had plenty to celebrate as Muhammad Hafiz Darwisy of MMBC defeated Muhammad Aqil, 251-234 in the stepladder finals title decider to win the Youth 25 & Under Masters crown of the Sarawak International Open Bowling Championships 2022.
Top-seed, Muhammad Hafiz had lost the first match, 185-202 to third-seed and challenger, Muhammad Aqil. But Muhammad Hafiz fought back gallantly to take a well-deserved victory in the decider and the reward of the top prize of RM5,000.
Muhammad Aqil, who had earlier dispatched second-seed, Abang Afiq Yazid of Sarawak, 255-224 in the semi-finals, moved up the ladder to face the top-seed in the finals. Although Muhammad Azil won the first match against Muhammad Hafiz, the 15-year-old two-hander just could not repeat his earlier form in the semis.
Muhammad Aqil settled for RM3,000 as first runner-up while Abang Afiq Yazid was content with RM2,000 as second runner-up. In the earlier 8-game Masters finals roll-off, Muhammad Aqil was leading after the seventh game but by only 28 pins.
A disasterous 160 in his eighth and final game saw the youngster lucky enough to still make the cut for the stepladder finals in third position with 1869. The champion ended the finals with 244 to earn top spot for the stepladder finals with 1924.
Abang Afiq finished second with 1893. Mohamad Zuhair B Zailani also of MMBC, Penang missed the cut by 33 pins to end in fourth position with 1836. Abner Loo was the best Sarawakian finalists finishing in fifth position with 1834 behind the four youths from Penang dominating the finals.
The championships will end with the Open Masters finals 8-games roll-off tomorrow morning at 10.00 hrs local time. The top four with the highest pinfalls will proceed to the 'Last Man Standing' shootout to determine this year's champions and runners-up.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Kuching, Sarawak.