August 30, 2023
The Blackjacks have continued their good form on Day Two of the World Bowls Championships being held on the Gold Coast.
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) are contested over week one, and day two has seen more wins on the board for New Zealand with the Blackjacks losing just six out of the 17 games played today.
This event is the biggest World Bowls Championships in history, with 44 Countries competing at 13 greens spread over five different venues. After tomorrow’s play the teams in contention for medals will be known, with the vast majority requiring a ‘top two’ finish in their sections to progress onto post section play.
The two exceptions to this are the Women’s Para Pairs team, and the Vision Impaired Mixed team- who need to finish in the top four of their sections to progress directly to the semi-final.
With a loss this morning against Australia, but a strong win this afternoon against Scotland, the Women’s Para pairs team of Teri Blackbourn and Julie O’Connell have guaranteed themselves a top four finish, and therefore a semi-final berth. All that is left to be decided is who they will play which will be known after the final game of section played tomorrow.
The Men’s Para team of Mark Noble and Darron Wolland have been battling hard and are still in with a chance of qualifying for post section tomorrow if they win their final game and other results fall their way.
Mark Noble summed up their feelings going into tomorrow saying “Tomorrow we play Scotland, the current Commonwealth Games champions. Clearly, we have to win that one and we require South Africa to beat Singapore which could potentially happen. All we can do is win our game and see what happens. That’s the main thing – sort your life out before you worry about the others.’”
The Women’s Fours team of Katelyn Inch, Val Smith, Selina Goddard and Leeane Poulson has been in scintillating form so far- having won all their games. This has guaranteed them a top two finish in their section, and thus a place in the quarter finals to be played later on this week. Val Smith, who has over 600 caps for New Zealand, said “In the game this afternoon we went through a patch where we drifted off and probably were a bit hard on ourselves which doesn’t help. Katelyn picked that up and had a word with us and we looked more positively and managed to get it together again.” When asked about the conditions, Val went on to say “The greens are running very different to what we trained on. They had a lot of dry weather and now we have had a couple of day with showers which slows the greens quite dramatically.” Who they play in the quarter finals will be decided by the outcome of the final game of ‘section play’ tomorrow.
The Women’s Singles player, Tayla Bruce, still has three games to play tomorrow, and is well and truly in contention for a top two finish having won all of her games yesterday, and then backing that up today with a win against Switzerland, the USA and Malaysia respectively. She is now the leader of her section, and with games against Singapore and Samoa tomorrow is favoured to qualify for the quarterfinals.
The Men’s Pairs team of Andrew Kelly and Tony Grantham have had a hard road to travel so far in the event; losing one game yesterday. They bounced back off the canvas though defeating Turkiye in convincing fashion first up, and then ground out a 16-16 draw against Canada. In their third game, they had a resounding win against a powerhouse English pair and will enter tomorrow with a good chance of qualifying if they win their three games against Namibia, Fiji, and Japan.
The Men’s Triples team of Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe and Chris LeLievre picked up where they left off this morning, crushing the team from Papua New Guinea. Their round two matchup against a very strong Irish team was arguably the game of the round, with the New Zealand combination unfortunately finishing on the wrong side of the ledger losing 15-17. The final game of the round resulted in another loss for the New Zealand side. If they win their game against Hong Kong China tomorrow the dice may fall the right way for them to qualify.
The Vision Impaired Mixed Pairs team of Kerrin Wheeler/ Colin Wheeler (Director) and Jayne Parsons/Brent Parsons (Director) need a top four finish in their section and are currently sitting in sixth position with one game to be played tomorrow. If they win this game they have a chance to leapfrog into fourth position and qualify for the semi-finals.
With all section play concluding tomorrow, the Blackjacks squad are sitting in a prime position to contest a number of medal matches over the coming days.
Results at glance:
Women’s Singles - Tayla Bruce
Won 21-18 Vs Switzerland
Won 21-15 Vs USA
Won 21-15 Vs Malaysia
Women’s Fours - Katelyn Inch, Val Smith, Selina Goddard, Leeane Poulson
Won 21-7 Vs Niue
Won 17-10 Vs Wales
Men’s Pairs - Andrew Kelly, Tony Grantham
Won 32-5 Vs Turkiye
Drew 16-16 Vs Canada
Won 17-9 Vs England
Men’s Triples- Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe, Chris LeLievre
Won 28-11 Vs Papua New Guinea
Loss 15-17 Vs Ireland
Loss 14-21 Vs South Africa
Para Men’s Pairs- Mark Noble (s), Darron Wolland
Loss 15-19 Vs South Africa
Won 19-12 Vs Singapore
Para Women’s Pairs- Teri Blackbourn (s), Julie O’Connell
Loss 13-19 Vs Australia
Win 22-10 Vs Scotland
Para Mixed Pairs - Kerrin Wheeler (s) and Colin Wheeler (Director), Jayne Parsons and Brent Parsons (Director)
Loss 10-16 Vs England
Loss 5-17 Vs China