Blackjacks to play for four golds at Asia Pacific Championships


Event News, High Performance, News

The Blackjacks are through to the finals of all four week one disciplines at the Asia Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast, with the New Zealand women’s four progressing in the most dramatic fashion.

Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Kirsten Edwards and Wendy Jensen have come from more than half a dozen shots down to beat Hong Kong 13-12 on a sudden-death extra end and set-up a gold medal match against Malaysia tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

“It’s a crazy old game,” Smith said.

“I don’t know how we did it, but we managed to just chip away, get back and force the extra end and win the extra end.”

The New Zealand four made a slow start and Smith says it looked like “the sort of game that could have easily slipped away”.

That was when she got the team together for a chat and got them to focus on what had been working for them the first three days of the tournament.

“One of the things that has got us through this far…was the fact that we’ve been enjoying ourselves,” Smith said.

“So I just said let’s just take the pressure off ourselves…let’s get back to relaxing and enjoying it.”

Jo Edwards had a far less stressful afternoon, toppling the previously unbeaten Tania Choudhury of India 21-6 in the semi-finals of the women’s singles, after earlier overcoming Canada’s Kelly McKerihen 22-16 in the quarters.

Edwards will face Norfolk Island’s Carmen Anderson in the final tomorrow afternoon, with a chance to claim another gold, 14 months on from her triumph at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The New Zealand men’s pair and triple have set-up trans-Tasman finals by beating Malaysian opposition.

Gary Lawson (skip) and Shannon McIlroy have won their semi-final 15-8, moments after Ali Forsyth (skip), Jamie Hill and Mike Kernaghan had prevailed 19-12 in theirs.

“We really wanted to play the Aussies and to play them in the final on their home patch is awesome,” Lawson said.

“They set the standard. At the end of the day, win or lose tomorrow we’ll know where we’re at.”

With the world championships on the Gold Coast next year, Forsyth believes the Blackjacks have a chance to make a major statement.

“Everyone is trying to strive to make the World Bowls team so on a personal level as well as a national level, putting that silver fern out there in front of everyone and saying ‘we’re here and ready to go’,” Forsyth said.

Two of New Zealand’s finals will be livestreamed on stuff.co.nz.

The women’s fours and men’s triples deciders will get underway at 11am New Zealand time, with the women’s singles and men’s pairs gold medal matches to follow from 3pm.

Day four results:

Women’s singles – Jo Edwards beat Canada 22-16 in the quarter-finals and beat India 21-6 in the semi-finals

Men’s pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) and Shannon McIlroy beat Malaysia 15-8 in the semi-finals

Men’s triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Jamie Hill and Mike Kernaghan beat Malaysia 19-12 in the semi-finals

Women’s fours – Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Kirsten Edwards and Wendy Jensen beat Hong Kong 13-12 (after an extra end) in the semi-finals