Shannon McIlroy has fired a warning shot to the top Australian players ahead of this month’s Asia Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast.
The veteran Blackjack representative has returned home after finishing runner-up to Canada’s Ryan Bester in the final of the lucrative Blue Opal Singles, which was played at the upcoming championship’s base, the Broadbeach Bowls Club.
“I had to go through five of the Australian squad to get to the final so it’s a pretty good achievement,” McIlroy said.
“It’s really good signs for me because in theory those guys should have a little bit of an edge on me because they’ve had state championships leading into that event.
“I probably didn’t play my best game in the final but that’s more due to the fact that I was a little bit out of match mental toughness.
“The previous matches probably took it out of me a wee bit, because at the end of the day we are out of season.”
They were McIlroy’s first competitive matches in almost two months and a major yardstick ahead of the Asia Pacific Championships, which will be staged at the Broadbeach, Musgrave Hill and Helensvale clubs from June 18-28.
The reigning world singles champion surprised himself with how well he played, considering his lack of match practice.
“There were some good signs there.”
“I know I’m only going to get better and…the next couple of weeks I get the opportunity to fine tune a few things.”
McIlroy relished his time on the greens at Broadbeach.
“They played completely different compared to this time last year when we had the Commonwealth Games.
“The greens were very nice. They were a lot quicker and more conducive to my style of play.
“Now that I’ve had a look at the greens I can visually and mentally prepare over the next couple of weeks and get myself ready.”
Work commitments and family have brought Shannon McIlroy home for a couple of weeks, while his Blackjack team-mates Gary Lawson, Ali Forsyth, Katelyn Inch and Wendy Jensen are playing in the prestigious Australian Open on the Gold Coast.
McIlroy is looking forward to reuniting with Lawson, who is back in the national squad after a decade-long absence.
They will play together in the men’s pairs at the Asia Pacific Championships, a tournament they have enjoyed success at in the past.
“He’s the master conductor of skips, he’s incredible,” McIlroy said.
“He knows how to win big games and big events.”
They will join Forsyth, Mike Kernaghan and Jamie Hill in the New Zealand men’s quintet, which is being labelled one of the Blackjacks’ strongest ever.
And Shannon McIlroy wants to make a statement on Australia’s greens with the World Bowls Championships also on the Gold Coast this time next year.
“They are the number one side…so if we can go over there, send them a message and bring home all the silverware they’ll be left scratching their heads.”
For more information: contact Brenton Vannisselroy on 021 039 0471