Blackjacks on track for Multi Nations semi-finals

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Gary Lawson in action on day two of the Multi Nations tournament at Musgrave Hill.

The New Zealand men’s pair and women’s four have kept their semi-final hopes alive at the Multi Nations tournament with contrasting performances at the Musgrave Hill Bowls Club on the Gold Coast.

Gary Lawson (skip) and Jamie Hill have beaten Ireland 19-17 in a heart-stopping sixth round match to sit third in the men’s pairs with one match to play.

They were in must-win territory after losing 16-14 to Australia Yellow in their second match of the day, having comfortably accounted for Malta 24-6 first up.

“It pretty much came down to post-section really. If we’d lost to Ireland we were pretty much out of the tournament,” Lawson said.

“They’re a really good side. [Ian] McClure was in a world pairs final in Christchurch and Gary Kelly is the World Cup singles winner…so it was going to be a tough game and I’m really happy with the way Hilly and I ground out a great win.”

They will now face unbeaten Australia Green in their final group game, with Lawson to become just the 10th bowler to be capped 300 times for New Zealand.

“It’s a nice milestone but I’d rather win the game,” he said.

“If Ireland win and Canada win and we lose there’s still going to be a three-way tie looking for two spots so we haven’t qualified yet.

“We need to still wake up tomorrow and play a really good game against Australia otherwise we might be sitting on the sideline tomorrow afternoon.”

In contrast, Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Selina Goddard and Tayla Bruce ran away with a much-needed 22-5 win over Ireland in the sixth round of the women’s fours.

It was the four’s only win of day two, having followed up a 13-all draw with Malta with a tense 14-13 defeat to Australia Yellow, but lifts them to fourth ahead of their final round match against the top of the table Australia Green.

New Zealand’s already assured of semi-final berths in the men’s triples and women’s singles.

Ali Forsyth (skip), Andrew Kelly and Chris Le Lievre made sure of a top four finish with a 17-8 win over Australia Yellow in round five, after running away with a 31-3 win over Malta earlier in the day.

They then made it six wins from six with a 15-12 win over Ireland.

Also at Club Helensvale, Jo Edwards secured a place in the semi-finals of the women’s singles, despite suffering her first defeat of the competition.

The two-time defending Commonwealth Games champion beat Ireland 21-11 in her final match of the day after being on both sides of 21-20 scorelines against Malta and Australia Yellow.

The final rounds of the four disciplines will be held tomorrow (Wednesday, November 19), with the semi-finals to follow.

Day two results:

Women’s singles – Jo Edwards beat Malta 21-20, lost 20-21 to Australia Yellow and beat Ireland 21-11.

Men’s pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) & Jamie Hill beat Malta 24-6, lost 14-16 to Australia Yellow and beat Ireland 19-17.

Men’s triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Andrew Kelly & Chris Le Lievre beat Malta 31-3, beat Australia Yellow 17-8 and beat Ireland 15-12.

Women’s fours – Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Selina Goddard & Tayla Bruce drew 13-all with Malta, lost 13-14 to Australia Yellow and beat Ireland 22-5.