Blackjacks men prevail in first Trans Tasman test


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The New Zealand men’s triple of Chris Le Lievre, Mike Kernaghan and Ali Forsyth (left to right) in action in the first Trans Tasman test at Club Helensvale on the Gold Coast

The Blackjacks men have taken a big step towards winning the Trans Tasman trophy for the first time in 11 years, while the women have suffered another agonising defeat to Australia.

Ali Forsyth, Gary Lawson, Shannon McIlroy, Mike Kernaghan and Chris Le Lievre have won the series opener at Club Helensvale on the Gold Coast to take a one-nil lead in the three test series.

And they did so in style, winning the first four matches to take an unassailable four-nil lead.

“They’re the best in the world on their tracks so to come out on day one and beat them is really satisfying so we’re quite pleased with ourselves,” Kernaghan said.

“Just a good day. More bowls on the head, boys played well, everyone chipped in. There was no one who had a bad day so when all five are going okay you’re likely to get a good result.

“I think we played slightly above average. We can do a lot better but we just did better than the Aussies did and that’s all you have to do.”

And the men aren’t getting ahead of themselves and daring to dream about winning the Trans Tasman test series for the first time since 2009.

“It starts again zero-zero tomorrow.

“ [We] don’t think about the outcome. We just need to go out and try and do what we did today and if we’re more consistent and get more bowls on the head than the Aussies then we’ll have a good day again.”

Australia’s heaped more pain on the Blackjacks women, winning on shot differential for a third straight test, after their contest again finished three matches a piece.

“It really hurt last time,” New Zealand skip Katelyn Inch said.

“So we were coming out here really looking to get on top of things and show what we can do and I think at times we did and it’s just about being more consistent from now on.”

Inch skipped the triple and four to three victories from three in the first test, carrying on her form from the recent Summerset National Singles and Pairs in Christchurch, where she won both titles.

“Getting on a bit of a roll and the girls are playing really well which is exciting so tomorrow we’re just looking for a bit more consistency and when we are up just keep that roll on and keep the momentum going.”

The second Trans Tasman test is at Musgrave Hill, with the third and potentially deciding test at Broadbeach on Thursday (February 6).

First Trans Tasman test results:

Open women: pairs Jo Edwards (skip) & Selina Smith lost 12-22 to Rebecca Van Asch (skip) & Lynsey Clark, triples – Katelyn Inch (skip), Val Smith & Wendy Jensen beat Natasha Scott (skip), Kelsey Cottrell & Ellen Ryan 24-9, singles –  Jo Edwards lost 19-21 to Kelsey Cottrell, fours – Katelyn Inch (skip), Val Smith, Selina Goddard & Wendy Jensen beat Natasha Scott (skip), Bec Van Asch, Lynsey Clarke & Ellen Ryan 15-13, pairs – Jo Edwards (skip) & Selina Smith lost 8-19 to Rebecca Van Asch (skip) & Lynsey Clarke and triples –  Katelyn Inch (skip), Val Smith & Wendy Jensen beat Natasha Scott (skip), Kelsey Cottrell & Ellen Ryan 15-12. 3-3 draw (Australia won 96-93 on shot differential)

Open men: pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) & Shannon McIlroy beat Aaron Wilson (skip) & Corey Wedlock 18-15, triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Mike Kernaghan & Chris Le Lievre beat Aron Sherriff (skip) Aaron Teys, & Wayne Ruediger 16-9, singles – Shannon McIlroy beat Aaron Wilson 21-9, fours – Ali Forsyth (skip), Gary Lawson, Mike Kernaghan & Chris Le Lievre beat Aron Sherriff (skip), Aaron Teys, Corey Wedlock & Wayne Ruediger 14-13, pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) & Shannon McIlroy lost 12-22 to Aaron Wilson (skip) & Corey Wedlock and triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Mike Kernaghan and Chris Le Lievre lost 11-15 to Aron Sherriff (skip), Aaron Teys & Wayne Ruediger. New Zealand won 4-2