Day one begins in earnest

29 August 2023 

For immediate publication 

The New Zealand lawn bowls team, the ‘Blackjacks’ have begun their campaign for success with a bang at the World Bowls Championships being held in the Gold Coast from today until the 10th of September, winning 16 of the 18 games played on day one.  

It’s the biggest World Bowls Championships in history, with 44 Countries competing at 13 greens spread over five different venues; all in the space of just twelve days.  

The competition commenced today with seven disciplines (women’s singles, men’s pairs, men’s triples, women’s fours, para women’s pairs, para men’s pairs and para mixed pairs) taking to the greens to play the first three rounds of competition.  

The Men’s Pairs team of Andrew Kelly/Tony Grantham as well as the Women’s Fours team of Katelyn Inch, Val Smith, Selina Goddard and Leeane Poulson notched the first wins on the board for the Blackjacks team without playing a bowl- courtesy of their Kenyan opponents not being in the Country, and thus forfeiting their matches.  

The Men’s Triples team of Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe and Chris LeLievre and the Men’s Para and Women’s Para pairs teams of Mark Noble/Darron Wolland and Teri Blackbourn/Julie O’Connell, all had successful World Championship debuts with wins against Botswana, Korea and Thailand respectively.  

The Women’s Singles player, Tayla Bruce won her first-round match 19-17 against a spirited Chinese opponent. The Vision Impaired Mixed Pairs team of Kerrin Wheeler/ Colin Wheeler (Director) and Jayne Parsons/Brent Parsons (Director) started well but were unable to keep up the momentum, losing to South Africa 11-21. 

The rest of 'Day One’ continued to be largely positive for the Blackjacks team, with the second round seeing only one casualty-the Para men’s pairs team losing to Japan by an agonising one point.  

Round three was a similar story with only the Men’s Pairs dropping a game. A feature of this round was the the Vision Impaired Mixed Pairs team of Kerrin Wheeler/ Colin Wheeler (Director) and Jayne Parsons/Brent Parsons (Director) bouncing back from defeat in the first game to beat the reigning Commonwealth Games Gold Medallists, Scotland.  

Jayne is a Paralympian and has previously represented New Zealand in Para-Cycling so the pressures at this level of competition will be no stranger to her.  

The head coach of Bowls New Zealand, Mike Kernaghan said 'we’re really pleased with our first day at this World Championships; the Blackjacks have been training hard in the leadup to this event and have put it all together on the green today. The goal now is to continue this momentum into tomorrow and beyond.’ 

Tomorrow will see the the seven disciplines again do battle on the Gold Coast Greens, with likely qualifiers for post section to emerge by the end of play. 

With the way the Blackjacks have started their campaign, they’re sure to be there.  




Full results available here. 

 Results at glance: 


Women’s Singles-Tayla Bruce 

Win 19-17 Vs China 

Win 21-7 Vs Niue 

Win 21-11 Vs Japan 


Women’s Fours-Katelyn Inch, Val Smith, Selina Goddard, Leeane Poulson 

Win by default Vs Kenya 

Win 19-9 Vs Japan 

Win 16-10 Vs Malta 


Men’s Pairs-Andrew Kelly, Tony Grantham 

Win by default Vs Kenya 

Win 18-14 Vs Netherlands 

Loss 12-18 Vs Thailand 


Men’s Triples- Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe, Chris LeLievre 

Win 24-7 Vs Botswana 

Win 17-11 Vs USA 

Win 39-6 Vs Switzerland 


Para Men’s Pairs- Mark Noble (s), Darron Wolland 

Win 20-7 Vs Korea 

Loss 9-10 Vs Japan 


Para Women’s Pairs- Teri Blackbourn (s), Julie O’Connell 

Win 24-6 Vs Thailand 

Win 14-11 Vs China 


Para Mixed Pairs- Kerrin Wheeler (s) and Colin Wheeler (Director), Jayne Parsons and Brent Parsons (Director) 

Loss 11-21 Vs South Africa 

Win 12-8 Vs Scotland 


For further information, please contact: 

Julie Blake 

Blackjacks Team Manager