Blackjacks unable to mark Edwards’ 50th with a win


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Jo Edwards in action against Kelsey Cottrell in the second Trans Tasman test at Musgrave Hill Bowls Club on the Gold Coast, as rink coach Gayle Melrose watches on.

Jo Edwards has celebrated her 50th birthday with a couple of bounce back wins, but it hasn’t been enough for the Blackjacks women to level the Trans Tasman test series.

The world number one ranked female bowler has recovered from an unaccustomed four successive defeats to record back-to-back victories in the second test at Musgrave Hill Bowls Club on the Gold Coast.

Belying her age, Edwards recorded a 20-10 win with Selina Smith in the pairs before rounding out the day with a 21-13 singles victory over Australia’s Kelsey Cottrell, who had won their last three meetings.

“I just don’t feel 50,” Edwards said. “It just sounds like it’s coming out of someone else’s mouth really.

“When I first made the New Zealand team nearly 20 years ago…you think that’s going to be the only tournament you play in.

“Never would have thought in a million years that I’d have a career like I have and for as long as I have. It’s been a ball. It’s been a hell of a ride and who knows how long it’ll last.”

The two-time defending Commonwealth Games singles champion was relieved to get another couple of wins for New Zealand.

“The last two games I’m really happy with. I pulled myself through a little bit of a form slump.

“Kelsey is such a good player and you’ve got to be playing good to compete with her.

“Yesterday I just wasn’t and this morning I wasn’t, so you know I was a little bit frustrated because my prep’s been really good.”

Katelyn Inch also skipped the four to a 14-11 victory in the final session but it was only enough to level the second test at three-all, with Australia prevailing on shot differential after commanding wins in the first round.

“Differential is a cruel thing but it proves to us that every shot is important and if we are losing we really need to get that margin a lot closer,” Edwards said.

“You just can’t afford to be spanked.

“The good thing about it is while we did lose the first two games we regrouped as a five and came back and got the three wins to tie the test match.”

Australia now holds an unassailable two-nil lead in the three match women’s test series, while the men’s is heading to a decider at Broadbeach Bowls Club tomorrow (Thursday, February 6).

The Aussies have won the final two matches at Musgrave Hill to win the second test 4-2, after the first two sessions had been split.

The Blackjacks men, who won the first test 4-2, are endeavouring to lift the Trans Tasman trophy for the first time since 2009.

Second Trans Tasman test results:

Open women: singles – Jo Edwards lost 9-21 to Kelsey Cottrell, fours – Katelyn Inch (skip), Val Smith, Selina Smith & Wendy Jensen lost 10-25 to Natasha Scott (skip), Rebecca Van Asch, Lynsey Clarke & Ellen Ryan, pairs – Jo Edwards (skip) & Selina Smith beat Kelsey Cottrell (skip) & Lynsey Clarke 20-10, triples – Katelyn Inch (skip), Val Smith & Wendy Jensen lost 12-15 to Rebecca Van Asch (skip), Natasha Scott & Ellen Ryan, singles – Jo Edwards beat Kelsey Cottrell 21-13 and fours – Katelyn Inch (skip), Val Smith, Selina Smith & Wendy Jensen beat Natasha Scott (skip), Rebecca Van Asch, Lynsey Clarke & Ellen Ryan 14-11.
3-3 (Australia won 95-86 on shot differential)

Open men: singles – Shannon McIlroy beat Aaron Wilson 21-17, fours – Ali Forsyth (skip), Gary Lawson, Mike Kernaghan & Chris Le Lievre lost 8-19 to Aron Sherriff (skip) , Corey Wedlock, Aaron Teys & Wayne Ruediger, pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) & Shannon McIlroy beat Aaron Wilson (skip) & Corey Wedlock 18-17, triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Mike Kernaghan & Chris Le Lievre lost 15-19 to Aron Sherriff (skip), Aaron Teys & Wayne Ruediger, singles – Shannon McIlroy lost 11-21 to Aaron Wilson and fours – Ali Forsyth (skip), Gary Lawson, Mike Kernaghan & Chris Le Lievre lost 11-17 to Aron Sherriff (skip), Corey Wedlock, Aaron Teys & Wayne Ruediger. Australia won 4-2