Blackjacks assured of three medals in week one of the Asia Pacific Championships


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The New Zealand women’s four watching on in their game against the Philippines

The Blackjacks are guaranteed to collect three medals at the Asia Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast this week.

The New Zealand men’s pair, men’s triple and women’s four have all topped their sections with perfect records to earn direct passage through to tomorrow’s (Friday’s) semi-finals, when two bronze medals will be handed out in each event.

Jo Edwards will have a chance to join them after the reigning Commonwealth Games champion finished second in her section to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the women’s singles.

Remarkably Edwards’ day one defeat to India’s Tania Choudhary was the Blackjacks’ only blemish in section play.

“Some good performances, but [we] can’t stop, [we’ve] got to keep it going,” women’s four’s skip Val Smith said.

Smith, Katelyn Inch, Kirsten Edwards and Wendy Jensen capped section play with a tense 11-10 win over Norfolk Island.

“We struggled a bit in that game to be fair. I don’t even know how we won it,” Smith said.

The women’s four had earlier beaten Canada 15-12 before downing the Philippines 17-7 and Smith hopes they don’t dwell on their last performance.

“We scraped through and still got the win. We showed a bit of grit there.

“[We] need to take a lot out of what we did in that game against the Philippines and against Canada this morning.

“They were two very good performances and that’s what we need to take into tomorrow.”

Also at Club Helensvale, Ali Forsyth (skip), Jamie Hill and Mike Kernaghan posted contrasting wins over Canada, Norfolk Island and India to complete a perfect eight from eight record in section play of the men’s triples.

“We’ve battled at times to be fair,” Kernaghan said.

“I don’t think we’ve put a full game together yet, but we’re getting closer and all three of us are playing well most of the time.

“The good thing is when we’ve been battling a bit, we’ve hung tough [and] we’ve come through the other side.

“[It] shows the team does have a bit of character when things aren’t going quite as well as we’d hope.”

Kernaghan is looking forward to putting his feet up and waiting to see who they play in the final four.

“Having a bit of a rest up in the morning before playing whomever in the semi-finals is far better than playing the quarter first thing.”

Gary Lawson (skip) and Shannon McIlroy accounted for Norfolk Island, Hong Kong and Fiji on the final day of section play in the men’s pairs, at Broadbeach Bowls Club.

They too have a perfect eight from eight record and await their semi-final opponent.

Also at Broadbeach, Jo Edwards posted resounding wins over the USA, Brunei and Singapore in her final three qualifying matches, but it wasn’t enough to catch India at the top of her section.

As a result, Edwards will face Canada’s Kelly McKerihen in the quarter-finals tomorrow (Friday) morning.

That match and one of New Zealand’s semi-finals will be livestreamed on stuff.co.nz.

Day three results:

Women’s singles – Jo Edwards beat the USA 21-2, beat Brunei 21-7 & beat Singapore 21-3

Men’s pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) and Shannon McIlroy beat Norfolk Island 25-11, beat Hong Kong 18-15 & beat Fiji 21-17

Men’s triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Jamie Hill and Mike Kernaghan beat Canada 19-11, beat Norfolk Island 22-15 & beat India 21-6

Women’s fours – Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Kirsten Edwards and Wendy Jensen beat Canada 15-12, beat the Philippines 17-7 & beat Norfolk Island 11-10