The first squad named by the new Bowls New Zealand selection panel of Sharon Sims (convenor) and Peter Belliss has today been announced.
With the departure of long term coach Dave Edwards post the very successful recent World Championships in Christchurch a new 15-person squad has been announced that will remain in place till the end of June 2018. Included in this period will be several events including two Trans-Tasman test series and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
In naming her first squad Sharon Sims said that “given that every one of the team medalled at World Bowls 2016 and we have 5 current World Champions the selectors felt it appropriate to largely retain the existing squad”.
Tony Grantham (North Harbour) and Paul Girdler (Dunedin) have been added to the men’s team while Selina Goddard (Auckland), Tayla Bruce (Canterbury) and Mandy Boyd (Canterbury) join the women.
Grantham and Girdler are both experienced international players and if needed can between them fill any position within the combinations selected to play.
Goddard, Bruce and Mandy Boyd are also all capped Blackjacks. Goddard is fresh from winning the singles title at the recent Heartland Bank National Open Championships while Bruce was a member and lead of the champion fours team at the same event. Having missed the World Championships for personal reasons Boyd re-joins her sister Angela in the squad. She brings with her vast experience at skip in both the fours and triples and form that has led to numerous National titles and a bronze medal (with Goddard, Amy McIlroy and Smith) at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Sims added that “while this is our current squad for the upcoming camps and events the door is far from shut. We saw some performances at the recent Heartland Bank Open in New Plymouth that shows there are several players knocking at that door and if their form continues to demand selection then changes will be made. As a team, we had a great World Championships but there is still room for improvement. Beating the Australians on their own greens will be tough. We did it here so we know it can be done, now with some slight changes and improvements we can do it there too” she added.
The full Blackjacks squad named today is;
- Jo Edwards
- Val Smith
- Kirsten Edwards
- Katelyn Inch
- Angela Boyd
- Selina Goddard
- Tayla Bruce
- Mandy Boyd
- Shannon McIlroy
- Ali Forsyth
- Blake Signal
- Mike Kernaghan
- Mike Nagy
- Tony Grantham
- Paul Girdler