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Nikmati harimu! Gerrards Cross BC host Malaysian Commonwealth Games squad

Nikmati harimu!

The translation is โ€˜enjoy the dayโ€™ in the Malay language and that certainly happened at Gerrards Cross when they hosted the Malaysian Commonwealth Games team (writes Keith Young)

The opportunity to host the game occurred many months ago and much time and effort was put into the planning to make it a day to remember.

So how did GX go about maximising the potential of this unique event?

The club approached its sponsors to see if they would be interested in helping publicise the event and Gibbs Gillespie, the local estate agent, placed boards at members houses around the locality.

The Malaysian High Commission were contacted and while their ambassador already had engagements, one of their councillors came over to Gerrards Cross with a flag.

The local newspaper was contacted and were convinced that this would be more of a general interest story and therefore agreed to send a reporter.

To make sure everyone at the club was aware of the visit, flyers were placed around the club and changed every week for a month counting down to the event. There were no excuses for members not to know about the day.

The evening before the game, the management team came to visit the club and were surprised and excited to see the Malaysian flag proudly flying!

The Malaysian team arrived early the next morning and started by singing the national anthem; a moving moment for those lucky enough to witness the respect of the team for their country.

Watching the coaching team putting the players through their paces demonstrated the world class quality of the Malaysian team as they picked up the pace of the green within a few bowls and demonstrated their skill in drawing and when using weight.

The club was in pristine condition with โ€˜Welcome to Gerrards Crossโ€™ and โ€˜Have an enjoyable dayโ€™ posters in Malaysian dotted around the club- house and in the changing rooms. This was really appreciated, and the team immediately felt at home.

Everywhere you looked there were smiles and this happy team left a lasting impression on all the members of Gerrards Cross.

It was also encouraging to see visitors that had seen the advertising attend and enjoy the day and get their first introduction to bowls.

The bar, that would normally take ยฃ200 on a Friday, took nearly five times that amount.

There was no language difficultly, the smiles were infectious and the language of bowls shone like a beacon burning brightly. A flame that wasnot extinguished until the last bowl was delivered.

The Malaysian team were also using the new coloured bowls that are to be a key differentiation element for TV coverage.

The afternoon saw a number of Gerrards Cross members take on the Malaysian team in all bowls formats following those to be used in the Commonwealth Games.

It was played in a friendly yet competitive spirit with the Malaysian management team watching and monitoring their players.

CELEBRATION OF BOWLS

It was more than a game; it was a celebration of bowls.

To see all the Malaysian ladies running or more accurately dancing up the green was a great sight to see.

With elite bowlers, including world champions on display, it was always going to be a tough series of matches, but the Gerrards Cross club have some exceptional bowlers and recorded a draw in the morning pairs and a win in the afternoon triples.

The standout highlight was the singles win of Richard Reid against highly experienced and one of the favourites for a gold medal, Fairul Izwan.

James Richings, the reporter sent to cover the event was astounded.

He said: โ€œI came to cover the event with the totally wrong perception of bowls, I didnโ€™t expect such fun and enthusiasm with the skill on show being remarkable. I thought it would be a little sedate, but I was so wrong and will happily be telling all our local readers.โ€

The day ended with a barbecue in the evening sunshine.

The manager of the Malaysian team, Syed Zainal Abidin was enthusiastic about the experience: โ€œThis was a very good experience for my players and they knew they had been in a tough game so we send great respect to the players at Gerrards Cross for their skill.

โ€œThe green was in excellent condition and the friendship shown by the members was really appreciated and we would like to thank everyone at Gerrards Cross for a truly wonderful day.โ€

โ€”

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