After the lows of three quarterfinal exits on Saturday and the high of Jo Edwards’ gold on Sunday, it was a new start for the second-half of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast for the Blackjacks on Monday.
And despite a few nervous moments, it was a successful start for all the new disciplines as they seek places in the quarterfinals.
Shannon McIlroy, in the men’s singles, opened with a resounding 21-0 win over Jamaica but had to work much harder to head off Fiji 21-15 in the late game. The scores had been locked at 14-all.
The women’s pair of Val Smith and Edwards beat Fiji 17-16, after leading by two shots playing the last end. Things had looked comfortable for the Kiwis when they held a seven-shot buffer with four ends remaining. But the Fijians roared back with a four and a two to set up the tense final two ends.
Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch and Mandy Boyd, the Blackjacks women’s triple, posted two wins. After leading 16-4 in the first game, their opponents, Zambia, pulled it back to 17-12. But The Kiwis won the last three ends to get home 24-12. Against Namibia they won 22-15, having led 20-9 with four ends remaining.
The men’s fours of Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler and Ali Forsyth romped home in their only match – 21-4 over the Cook Islands. They have a rest day on Tuesday.
In their final pool game, the B6/B7/B8 triple of Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble lost 16-11 to Australia. They finished third in section play and meet England on Wednesday evening in the semifinals.
David Stallard [with Peter Blick] and Sue Curran [with Ann Muir], in the B2/B3 mixed pairs, staged a remarkable recovery to beat England 16-13 in their final pool match. They had earlier trailed 12-2. However, it wasn’t enough, with the combination finishing fifth in the six-team event and therefore missing out on the semifinals.
* In Monday’s medal matches, Wales upset defending champions Scotland to take the men’s pairs gold 12-10. While the Cook Islands won their first ever medal in any sport at the Games when they beat Malta 17-11 in the bronze medal game.
However, Malta did secure bronze in the women’s fours, beating Canada 17-8. Australia took gold 18-16 from South Africa.
* There was a strong New Zealand connection to the Cook Islands bronze medal, with the lead in the pair, Aidan Zittersteijn, coming from New Plymouth. Zittersteijn has in fact lived his whole life in Taranaki and qualifies for the Cook Islands through his maternal grandfather. The 18-year-old is in his sixth season of lawn bowls, having started at Vogeltown. The former Taranaki junior rep now plays for the Paritutu club. He has also excelled in indoor bowls, winning the New Zealand provincial teams title. Zittersteijn’s paternal grandparents were from the Netherlands. His father, John, is a Wellington gold star holder in lawn bowls and has won distinctions galore at the indoor game.
BLACKJACKS IN ACTION
Results day five – Monday, April 9.
Men’s singles (Shannon McIlroy): beat Jamaica 21-0; beat Fiji 21-15.
Women’s pairs (Val Smith, Jo Edwards): beat Fiji 17-16.
Women’s triples (Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch, Mandy Boyd): beat Zambia 24-12; beat Namibia 22-15.
Men’s fours (Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Ali Forsyth): beat Cook Islands 21-4.
B2/B3 mixed pairs (David Stallard [with Peter Blick], Sue Curran [with Ann Muir]): beat England 16-13.
B6/B7/B8 triples (Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks, Mark Noble): lost to Australia 16-11.
Draw day six – Tuesday, April 10. NB: all times are NZT.
Men’s singles (Shannon McIlroy): 11.01am v Kenya; 2pm v England.
Women’s pairs (Val Smith, Jo Edwards): 2pm v Tonga.
Women’s triples (Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch, Mandy Boyd): 9pm v Jersey.
Men’s fours (Michael Nagy, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Ali Forsyth): no games.
B2/B3 mixed pairs (David Stallard [with Peter Blick], Sue Curran [with Ann Muir]): eliminated.
B6/B7/B8 triples (Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks, Mark Noble): no games.