Blackjacks on-course for medal rounds at World Championships

The New Zealand Blackjacks are on course to qualify for all disciplines the second week of competition at the World Bowls Championships on the Gold Coast.

They won nine of the 11 games played in what is the largest World Bowls Championship in history, with teams are divided into sections where a top-two finish is required to progress to the medal rounds.

It proved a special day for North Canterbury’s Katelyn Inch, who played her 200th game for the Blackjacks today in the pair with close friend Selina Goddard.

“This means a lot. I have played with a lot of players as I have come through the ranks as I have been in the team for seven years now,” said Inch.

“I am very, very honoured to have played that many games, and wear the fern that many times. It is always a pleasure to stepping  out on the greens, so to do it 200 times is amazing.

“We have got a huge contingent of supporters here which has been absolutely incredible. It got us over the line in a couple of close ones today.

“I am honoured to do it in front of my friends and family who have arrived this weekend, and lots of great friends here, and even the Blackjacks team – we are such a tight and close-knit group so it was an absolute pleasure to play my 200th today.”

The pair, bronze medallists at the Commonwealth Games and gold medallists at the recently completed Multi Nations event, are looking to add to their already impressive pairs record.

They have won five out of six games, dropping their second game today against an inspired Philippines team but bouncing back to hold off a tough Namibian pair.

Their final game in section play is a must-win against Guernsey, if they are to qualify for the medal rounds.

The New Zealand men’s singles player, Andrew Kelly continued his good form to record wins against Malta and India before dropping his first match to newly-crowned World Pairs Champion skip, Gary Kelly from Ireland 14-21.

With only one loss, Kelly goes into tomorrow's three games, with a further two on Friday,  with a golden opportunity to qualify for the medal rounds to be played on the weekend.

The men’s fours team of Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe, Chris LeLievre and Tony Grantham produced good form, having recorded four wins from four games, with three tomorrow against Singapore, Fiji and India.

There's still everything to play for as they look to finish in the top two of their section and qualify for the medal rounds.

The Women’s triples of Val Smith, Tayla Bruce and Leeane Poulson, who survived a scare against a determined Japanese team yesterday, faced no such resistance today, beating Switzerland, Wales and Canada to book their place in the medal rounds.

New Zealand has a proud history at the World Bowls Championships, having won 18 gold medals over the years, and with all four Blackjacks teams on track to qualify for the medal rounds, there is a opportunity to add to that tally.Bite Sized Information Below:

Men’s Singles- Andrew Kelly

Won 21-8 Vs Malta

Won 21-4 Vs India

Loss 14-21 Vs Ireland

Men’s Fours- Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe, Chris LeLievre, Tony Grantham

Default Win Vs Kenya

Won 25-9 Vs Zimbabwe

Won 13-12 Vs South Africa

Women’s Pairs- Katelyn Inch, Selina Goddard

Won 39-7 Vs Argentina

Lost 11-16 Vs Philippines

Won 16-10 Vs Namibia

Women’s Triples- Val Smith, Tayla Bruce, Leeane Poulson

Won 28-6 Vs Switzerland

Won 22-12 Vs Wales

Won 21-10 Vs Canada

For further information, please contact:

Julie Blake

Blackjacks Team Manager