Blackjacks in Asia Pacific medal haul
THE best of bowls was celebrated at Queensland’s Broadbeach club today when New Zealand and Australia struck gold in the Asia Pacific Championships.
With three gold and a silver from the four events finalised, the classy Blackjacks had every reason to be proud.
Today was the climax of the event’s first week – the past five competition days have featured nineteen countries from Asia and Oceania at three host clubs across the Gold Coast – Musgrave Hill, Club Helensvale and Broadbeach. Competing nations arrived in Australia with two aims; to seek medals in the event’s eight disciplines and/or qualification for next year’s world championships at these locations.
The reverse of this week’s program of men’s pairs and triples along with women’s singles and fours gets under way on Monday and is sure to please.
In today’s blue ribbon women’s singles gold medal match it was world No.1 Jo Edwards who reaffirmed her domination with an emphatic 21-6 win over Norfolk Island’s animated little popsy Carmen Anderson.
Edwards jumped out to an 11-0 lead after five ends before the game slipped to a dour shot-for-shot affair with scores at 14-6 after 13. However, the excitement level lifted when the legendary Blackjack moved up a gear to claim seven unanswered shots over the ensuing four ends as she powered to victory.
New Zealand’s Gary Lawson and Shannon McIlroy achieved another great result when they clinched the men’s pairs gold medal, beating Aussie Jackaroos Nathan Rice and Ray Pearse in the 18-end final.
The final end had all the elements of what makes bowls so compelling – teams were peels at 18-18 – with skippers Lawson and Rice claiming the ascendancy with each visit to the mat – until the last delivery of the match – when Lawson trailed the jack just a centimetre or two to clinch the title.
Earlier the much-awaited men’s triples final saw Australia’s Barrie Lester, Aaron Teys and Aron Sherriff score a comprehensive 19-12 victory over NZ stars Mike Kernaghan, Jamie Hill and Ali Forsyth.
Australian lead Barrie Lester, the star of the show, never really allowed Kernaghan, his direct opponent, to settle while middle pin Aaron Teys – on debut – overshadowed Jamie Hill. Accordingly, the duel between Sherriff and Forsyth was a master class.
Sherriff and his men were one in arrears 6-7 at the halfway mark of the 18-end play-off, but took control scoring 13 shots to five (includes an NZ four on the 15th) over the ensuing eight ends to record a fine win.
Further across Broadbeach’s show green Blackjacks fans were cock-a-hoop when their women’s fours combination powered to the gold medal.Experienced skipper Val Smith and her teammates Katelyn Inch, Kirsten Edwards and Wendy Jensen took all before them in a week-long quest – their 17-6 main event victory against the gallant Malaysian quartette of Nor Fidrah Noh, Azalina Arshad, Nurul Alyani and Auni Kamis was the stuff of adventure stories.
Only yesterday Smith & Co were down 12-5 with six ends to play in the semi final against Hong Kong China, before embarking on a grafting last ditch effort, collecting one and three, followed by four consecutive singles to force an extra end, then clinched a win on the tiebreaker.
But these same Blackjack gals were irrepressible today, totting up two five-end blitzes of eight and seven shots to claim gold and a place in NZ bowls history.
2019 Asia Pacific Championships, Gold Coast, Australia
Women’s singles: Jo Edwards (New Zealand) bt Carmen Anderson (Norfolk Island) 21-6.
Men’s pairs: Shannon McIlroy, Gary Lawson (New Zealand) bt Ray Pearse, Nathan Rice (Australia) 19-18.
Men’s triples: Barrie Lester, Aaron Teys, Aron Sherriff (Australia) bt Mike Kernaghan, Jamie Hill, Ali Forsyth (New Zealand) 19-12.
Women’s fours: Wendy Jensen, Kirsten Edwards, Katelyn Inch, Val Smith (New Zealand) bt Auni Kamis, Nurul Alyani, Azlina Arshad, Nur Fidrah Noh (Malaysia) 17-6.