The Blackjacks are assured of taking home another two medals from the Asia Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast, with the possibility of more.
After claiming three golds and one silver from four events in week one, the New Zealand team has progressed to post-section play in all four week two disciplines, headed by Shannon McIlroy in the men’s singles and Ali Forsyth (skip), Gary Lawson, Jamie Hill and Mike Kernaghan in the men’s four.
They have topped both of their sections, despite wet and slow conditions, to secure direct progress through to tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon’s semi-finals and to guarantee a bronze medal each, at least.
The men’s four produced an incredible turnaround, after a lacklustre first day of section play.
They beat Canada (20-10), Singapore (22-6) and China (20-3) in the final three rounds to top their group.
“The standard of play that we’ve put up the last two days has been a vast improvement, in some very tough conditions on some very slow greens,” Forsyth said.
“There’s still room for improvement, but overall a lot, lot better,”
“If we can improve again tomorrow we’ll be dangerous.”
McIlroy won all eight of his round-robin games in the men’s singles to now be a perfect 18 from 18 at the Asia Pacific Championships.
The world champion rounded out section play with quickfire wins over Brunei (21-5), Macau (21-9) and the USA (21-10) and, like the men’s four, will have the morning off before playing his semi-final.
The New Zealand women’s pair and women’s triple will both play quarter-finals tomorrow (Thursday) morning after each finished second in their sections.
Jo Edwards (skip) and Kirsten Edwards beat Canada 17-14 in their final round-robin game to secure their place in post-section play, after earlier losing 16-14 to the Philippines.
“Going out against Canada, knowing that if you won you’ve qualified, that’s a little bit of a pressure moment,” Jo Edwards said.
“We played really well as a pair. If Kirsten missed, I kind of came in and did the business and then she came right and we got the win.
“We’ve lost two games in section play so we probably don’t deserve to win our section, but to get another bite, there’s a one off game, I’m looking forward to it.”
The two Edwards will square-off against Hong Kong in the quarters, with a semi-final meeting with Australia up for grabs.
Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch and Wendy Jensen also had to win their final round-robin game to progress, having started the day with a 16-all draw with the USA.
They then beat Hong Kong 27-8 before downing Norfolk Island 17-13 in a virtual elimination game.
Smith, Inch and Jensen will now face Canada in their quarter-final, with the winner to play Australia for a place in the gold medal match.
As well as qualifying for the quarters, the women’s pair and women’s triple has ensured New Zealand’s now qualified in all eight disciplines for next year’s world championships.
The quarter-finals of the Asia Pacific Championships get underway at 11am (NZT) tomorrow (Thursday), with the semis to follow from 3pm.
One of New Zealand’s quarters and one of New Zealand’s semi-finals will be livestreamed on stuff.co.nz
Day eight results:
Men’s singles – Shannon McIlroy beat Brunei 21-5, beat Macau 21-9 & beat the USA 21-10
Women’s pairs – Jo Edwards (skip) & Kirsten Edwards lost to the Philippines 14-16 & beat Canada 17-14
Women’s triples – Val Smith (skip), Katelyn Inch & Wendy Jensen drew with the USA 16-16, beat Hong Kong 27-8 & beat Norfolk Island 17-13
Men’s fours – Ali Forsyth (skip), Gary Lawson, Jamie Hill & Mike Kernaghan beat Canada 20-10, beat Singapore 22-6 & beat China 20-3
Published with permission from Bowls New Zealand