There was more than a sense of déjà vu for Barry Wynks and Mark Noble when they lost the Para triples final, with Bruce Wakefield, to Australia 14-13 at the 21st Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast on Thursday afternoon.
The gutsy trio were beaten on Ken Hanson’s last bowl in the decider, which was exactly the same fate that Wynks and Noble had to encounter in the B6/B7/B8 class in the 2014 Games.
The news was all bad elsewhere as both Shannon McIlroy, in the men’s singles, and the men’s four of Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler and Ali Forsyth, both exited to England at the quarterfinals, with scores of 21-16 and a 20-2 massacre.
Opening with two singles, the triple could feel some confidence, but Hanson played with weight and kept coming up with results – a trend that included the final head.
The Australians took over, leading 10-3 before Noble’s side drew a five to make for an interesting closing. A two on the penultimate head gave the Kiwis a one shot lead on the last end and Wakefield drew a beauty to ensure the side held the advantage on the change-over. But Hanson, running, hit Wynks’ bowl, sitting at third shot, which in turn dislodged Wakefield’s bowl. Noble found himself three down, and while he narrowly missed getting the shot, it appeared as if he got second – effectively locking the match up. But Hanson added the bonus with his last delivery to take the honours.
McIlroy held the edge over England’s Robert Paxton in the early part of his quarterfinal, leading 9-6. But there were indicators even then that Paxton was drawing with greater consistency. This was borne out over the coming ends, with Paxton grabbing a 17-10 lead. But then McIlroy found a new gear, started to draw better and it was Paxton who looked more concerned. McIlroy closed to 17-16 behind and held a good shot. However, Paxton turned it off the head for two and found his draw on the following end to close out the game.
The size of the defeat the four had to endure was dark indeed, especially after they had edged Wales in the final round-robin match earlier in the day. Forsyth’s side were never in the hunt, managing to score just two singles from the 14 completed ends.
That meant the high hopes of a big Blackjacks medal haul concluded. Jo Edwards’s singles gold was the obvious highlight, while the Para triple again performed with credit. But, in the overall wash-up, six of the eight able-body disciplines stumbled at the quarterfinals. The eighth combination didn’t qualify. Those six losses were gut-wrenching, especially on the men’s side where no medal has been won since 2002.
BLACKJACKS IN ACTION
Results day eight – Thursday, April 12.
Men’s singles (Shannon McIlroy): quarterfinal, lost to England 21-16.
Men’s fours (Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Ali Forsyth): beat Wales 11-10; quarterfinal, lost to England 20-2.
B6/B7/B8 triples (Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks, Mark Noble): final, lost to Australia 14-13.