GEORGE TOWN: Spunky Alisha Iman Cheong took the biggest scalp of her career but then came up short when it mattered most in the 4th Penang Durian Masters Championship at the Penang Bowl yesterday.
The 22-year-old Kuala Lumpur bowler, who was surprised to qualify for the step-ladder finals as the third-placed finisher, could not believe it when she trounced national ace Shalin Zulkifli 224-181 in the playoffs.
But she let the pressure get to her in the final against Singapore’s Jack Wong and failed to raise her game a second time, losing 178-189 to the veteran bowler.
“I was already on cloud nine after finishing third to qualify for the step-ladder finals. I didn’t feel any pressure and bowled well against Shalin because I went into it thinking there was no way I was going to beat her,” said Alisha.
“But the final was different because all the Singapore players and supporters were cheering Jack on. I’m not used to bowling in such an atmosphere and became nervous. But I’m still happy with my overall performance.”
Penang is turning out to be a good hunting ground for the 61-year-old Jack, who added the Durian Masters title to his Penang Pesta Bowling Championships 2012 men’s veteran crown won last December.
“This win is totally unexpected ... there were many younger and energetic bowlers in the fray here. When you are over 55 years old, your bones do not always co-operate during competitions,” said Jack. “This is my fourth straight year competing in the Penang Durian Masters, and winning here is a bonus. I joined the competition mainly for the glorious Penang food, especially the durian, which is my favourite.”
For his efforts, Jack took home the RM8,000 champion’s purse while Alisha and Shalin won RM5,000 and RM3,000 respectively.
Singapore’s Keita Oku rolled down a perfect 300 score during the second block on Saturday night to become the sole winner of the tournament’s perfect game prize – 300kg of durians.
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