The Blackjacks have made
an ultimately unsuccessful start to the ninth edition of the Bowls Premier
League, on a dramatic opening night of action at Naenae Bowling Club in Lower
The New Zealand trio of Seamus Curtin, Jo Edwards and Shannon McIlroy (skip) has been beaten 1-0 by the Illawarra Gorillas on a tie-breaker end after the contest had finished one set a piece.
The Gorillas won the first set 4-3, before the Blackjacks, who were buoyed by a raucous crowd, took the second 6-1.
But young skip Aaron Teys then got the better of McIlroy on the extra end to secure Illawarra an opening win at the hosts’ expense.
It was the second match decided by a tie-breaker end, after the three-time champion Sydney Lions had overcome the Melbourne Roys 2-0 in sudden death in the tournament opener.
The Lions had dominated the first set, winning 10-4, but the Roys forced a tie-breaker end by edging the second 4-3.
Defending Naenae champions the Gold Coast Hawks prevented another match from going to extra time, with Hawks skip Aron Sherriff producing a scintillating final bowl to secure Gold Coast a 8-3, 6-5 win over the Murray Steamers.
In the final match of the opening night, BPL08 winners the Brisbane Pirates overcame the Perth Suns 7-5, 9-6, despite a senior moment from Pirates skip Alex Marshall.
The decorated Scottish bowler thought the Pirates had lost the opening set and only realised they had in fact won it after talking to the television commentators early in the second set.
“Normally I’m pretty well switched on in these things, but for some reason I lost my focus,” Marshall said.
“There is so much going on and at the time I thought the fourth end was the final end.
“These things happen. There are a lot of things going on, but…in the end it worked out.”
The five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist relieved to have come away with a straight sets victory on the opening night.
“I think it’s essential you get off to a good start in these events because if you lose your first three or first four games you’re playing catch-up, so very pleased to have a 2-0 victory.”
There are five rounds scheduled today (February 26), culminating in the night session which will be broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport.
Day two action starts at 11am, with livestreaming on the Bowls NZ Facebook page.
#BPL09 runs through to
Thursday (February 28) night and entry to the event is free.
Day 1 results
Sydney Lions bt Melbourne Roys 10-4 3-4 2-0
Gold Coast Hawks bt Murray Steamers 8-3 6-5
Illawarra Gorillas bt NZ Blackjacks 4-3 1-6 1-0
Brisbane Pirates bt Perth Suns 7-5 9-6
What is the Bowls Premier League (BPL) and what are the rules?
The BPL is a competition created and run by Bowls Australia (BA) that is now in its seventh year and ninth instalment.
The event is a modified version of traditional bowls, with lightning fast matches making for a ’Twenty20′ type format of the sport.
Each match consists of two five-end sets, with a one-end tie-break played if required. The game format pairs, with three bowls for each player per end. If a tie-break is required to decide the winner, all players on both teams will join the fray, with the format changing to two-bowl-triples for that end.
BPL teams will be able to nominate one Power Play end per set, enabling teams to earn double the shots scored in that end.
A team coach can replace a player with a substitute during the game, but only immediately preceding the delivery of a bowl by their team player.
For more information: contact Brenton Vannisselroy on 021 039 0471