The Blackjacks para triple of Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble have played their way into the final at the 21st Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Competing in the B6/B7/B8 class, the trio beat England’s 18-11 in the semifinals to book a place in the final against Australia. The gold medal match takes place at 2.30pm (NZT) on Thursday.
But elsewhere it was a mixed day, with the men, in the singles and fours, securing places in Thursday’s quarterfinals. However, both the women’s pair and triple were eliminated.
It will be the second-straight final at the Commonwealth Games for Wynks and Noble. With Lynda Bennett, they lost the 2014 final of the same event on the last bowl to South Africa. At the mid-point of the semifinal against England, their chances of making another final looked dicey, with the English leading 8-6. But two fours and a three over the next three ends turned the tide back towards the Kiwis.
Shannon McIlroy made no race of his match against Krishna Xalxo (India), winning 21-0 in just nine ends to ensure his qualification. His scoring included three successive fours. In Thursday morning’s quarterfinals, he will again tangle with England’s Robert Paxton, the only player McIlroy lost to during section play.
The high hopes Jo Edwards had of collecting double-gold on the Gold Coast were dashed after her and Val Smith lost both pool games on Wednesday to bow out. They fell 18-16 to Canada and 20-11 to Norfolk Island. The Canada match was close throughout, with the scores level playing the last end. On that head, Edwards drew well with her first two deliveries to hold shot. But the Canadian skip, Kelly McKerihen, pushed through her own bowls to take the shot back. Attacking with her last bowl, Edwards went through a narrow gap between the shot bowl and the jack, but frustratingly touched nothing. Then young Norfolk Island lead Shae Wilson, and her experienced skip Carmen Anderson, dominated the second half of the clash against the Kiwis.
After beating Wales 19-15 in the last section play game, the women’s triple of Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch and Mandy Boyd ended their campaign with an 18-16 loss to Canada in the quarterfinals. They were left to rue dropping two fours – on the fifth and seventh ends – plus a three on the 11th head. What made matters worse, was that all three counts were conceded after the Kiwis had scored, reducing their deficit. The young side did however show a bit of ticker. With five ends remaining they were 17-10 down. That was reduced to 17-15, but a single to Canada on the penultimate head created a three shot difference, which Boyd’s side couldn’t rein in.
The men’s four of Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler and Ali Forsyth posted two good wins. Papua New Guinea was their first victim of the day, 20-12, the margin only being reduced with PNG taking the last four ends. Then two fives set the four free in the late game, beating Canada 21-11. The Canadians had led 6-3 (through four ends) and 9-8 (after seven), but the greater consistency of the New Zealanders was rewarded. They meet Wales on Thursday morning with both sides already assured of making the quarterfinals.
* The B2/B3 mixed pairs were finalised on Wednesday evening. Australia took the gold 12-9 from South Africa, with Wales pipping Scotland 13-12 for bronze.
BLACKJACKS IN ACTION
Results day seven – Wednesday, April 11.
Men’s singles (Shannon McIlroy): beat India 21-0.
Women’s pairs (Val Smith, Jo Edwards): lost to Canada 18-16; lost to Norfolk Island 20-11.
Women’s triples (Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch, Mandy Boyd): beat Wales 19-15; quarterfinal, lost to Canada 18-16.
Men’s fours (Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Ali Forsyth): beat Papua New Guinea 20-12; beat Canada 21-11.
B6/B7/B8 triples (Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks, Mark Noble): semifinal, beat England 18-11.
Draw day eight – Thursday, April 12. NB: all times are NZT.
Men’s singles (Shannon McIlroy): 11.01am quarterfinal v England.
Women’s pairs (Val Smith, Jo Edwards): eliminated.
Women’s triples (Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch, Mandy Boyd): eliminated.
Men’s fours (Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Ali Forsyth): 11.01am v Wales; 2.30pm quarterfinal; 7.31pm semifinal.
B6/B7/B8 triples (Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks, Mark Noble): 2.30pm final v Australia.