Blackjacks off to a fast start on the Gold Coast

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Andrew Kelly and Chris Le Lievre watch on during the New Zealand men’s triple’s round-robin game against Norfolk Island at the Broadbeach Bowling Club.

Jo Edwards has headlined a strong showing from the Blackjacks on day one of the Multi Nations tournament on the Gold Coast.

The two-time defending Commonwealth Games champion has won her opening three matches in the women’s singles to sit alongside Australia’s Kristina Krstic as the only unbeaten bowlers in the discipline.

Edwards easily accounted for Canada’s Kelly McKerihen and Welshwoman Melanie Thomas, winning both 21-6, after a “cracking” 21-20 win over Colleen Piketh of South Africa.

“It was honestly one of the best singles matches I’ve been involved in in a long time,” Edwards said.

“I kicked out to a good start and she fought back. She got to 20 and then [it was] 20-all and she had a side toucher and [I] managed to get the shot somehow.

“I think that just set me up for the rest of the day’s play.”

The new-look New Zealand men’s triple of Ali Forsyth (skip), Andrew Kelly and Chris Le Lievre also won its opening three matches at the Broadbeach Bowling Club.

They opened with an impressive 19-16 win over South Africa, before grounding out victories against Canada (23-15) and Norfolk Island (19-15).

“Pretty good performance against South Africa this morning. Certainly the green was conducive for what they’re used to,” Forsyth said.

The result was more meritorious given it was the first international appearance for Le Lievre, who became the 112th men’s Blackjack.

“He would have been a bit nervy, but he did a good job,” Forsyth said.

“He put a lot of handy bowls and he didn’t play too many short ones…laid a decent platform.”

The New Zealand men’s pair and women’s four have both bounced back from opening defeats at Club Helensvale.

Gary Lawson (skip) and Jamie Hill overcame Canada 16-13 and Norfolk Island 16-11 after losing 18-15 to South Africa in the opening round of the men’s pairs.

Despite the defeat they sit second equal in the standings, behind only Australia Green.

Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Selina Goddard and Tayla Bruce were outclassed 16-6 by South Africa in round one of the women’s fours.

They responded with a tight-fought 19-16 win over Canada before downing Wales 18-10.

The four also sit second equal, with South Africa the only unbeaten quartet.

There are a further three rounds in each of the four disciplines tomorrow (Tuesday, November 18), with New Zealand to square-off against Malta in the morning, Australia Yellow in the early afternoon and Ireland in the evening.

Day one results:

Women’s singles – Jo Edwards beat Colleen Piketh (South Africa) 21-20, beat Kelly McKerihen (Canada) 21-6 and beat Melanie Thomas (Wales) 21-6.

Men’s pairs – Gary Lawson (skip) & Jamie Hill lost 15-18 to South Africa, beat Canada 16-13 and beat Norfolk Island 19-15.

Men’s triples – Ali Forsyth (skip), Andrew Kelly & Chris Le Lievre beat South Africa 19-16, beat Canada 23-15 and beat Norfolk Island 19-15.

Women’s fours – Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch, Selina Goddard & Tayla Bruce lost 6-16 to South Africa, beat Canada 19-16 and beat Wales 18-10.