Blackjacks in hunt

Selina Goddard, from the top-ranking New Zealand women’s pair, applauds a winning shot at the...
Selina Goddard, from the top-ranking New Zealand women’s pair, applauds a winning shot at the World Bowls Championships on the Gold Coast yesterday. PHOTO: JULIE BLAKE
The New Zealand Blackjacks made every post a winner yesterday, winning all but one game, and booking a place in the medal rounds for three of the four disciplines at the World Bowls Championships on the Gold Coast.

Meanwhile, singles star Andrew Kelly, of Christchurch, currently with a seven-wins, one-loss record, has two further rounds to play today.

However the men’s fours, women’s pair and triples all finished top of their respective sections and are through to sudden-death medal rounds today.

This event is the largest World Bowls Championship in history, with 44 countries competing.

Participants and teams were divided into sections, and a ‘‘top two’’ finish was required to progress to the medal rounds — for all four disciplines in play this week for New Zealand to do so is a magnificent achievement.

Kelly won all three of his games yesterday, and has matches today against Samoa and Brazil — and, on form, should qualify for the medal rounds.

The men’s fours of Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe, Chris LeLievre and Tony Grantham have been in sensational form, dropping just one game in the event so far.

They beat a strong South African team on Wednesday and recorded wins against Singapore and Fiji before losing to India by one point yesterday after dropping three shots on the final end.

They qualified top of the table and will take on Hong Kong China in the quarterfinal today.

The women’s pair, Katelyn Inch and Selina Goddard, managed an exciting 16-15 victory over a spirited Guernsey combination in their final-round clash, with the must-win match ensuring they will have an opportunity to chase medals over the weekend. They will meet Scotland in their quarterfinal today.

The women’s triples team of Val Smith, Tayla Bruce and Leeane Poulson have stormed through their section without dropping a game to qualify top of their section, after their 25-14 win over Jersey.

They will begin their own medal playoffs today against Malaysia with a special incentive, with skipper Val Smith set to become the most capped New Zealand bowler.

The win over Jersey today saw Smith equal the record of 646 games for the Blackjacks, set by former team-mate and good friend Jo Edwards.

With everything to play for, the Blackjacks remain a real chance of adding four further medals to their tally.