Silver for New Zealand women’s triples

The New Zealand Blackjacks’ campaign at the 2023 World Bowls Championship on the Gold Coast concluded with a well-earned silver medal for the women’s triples yesterday.

The trio of Val Smith (skip), Tayla Bruce and Leeane Poulson were beaten 14-9 by a strong Australian combination in front of a packed and partisan crowd at Broadbeach.

It marked a superb campaign for Christchurch bowler Bruce, who added the silver in the triples to her gold medal in the singles earned in the opening week.

"Overall I am really proud. If I had known before coming here that I would lose one game in the whole tournament I would be over the moon," Bruce said.

In a thrilling showdown, Australia's trio of Kelsey Cottrell, Lynsey Clarke and Dawn Hayman asserted their dominance early on. With impeccable draw shots, they secured four out of the first five ends, racing to a 6-1 lead.

The New Zealanders managed to eke out singles on ends four and six, but a three and a two later extended their deficit to nine shots, down 2-11 after eight ends.

With time running out, Smith stepped up, executing two flawless draw shots to secure another single.

On a pivotal 10th end, Poulson and Bruce made a strong move, holding three shots. However, Cottrell's precise drive reduced the count to one, marking New Zealand's first consecutive scores and reducing the gap to seven with eight ends remaining.

New Zealand managed a single on the 13th end and a two on the 14th end, reducing Australia's lead to four with four ends left. A spirited last bowl from Cottrell on the 15th and 16th ends secured two singles for Australia, all but sealing the gold medal.

New Zealand settled for a single shot on the penultimate end, leaving them in need of a near-impossible five on the final end.

Despite their efforts, New Zealand could not muster the substantial score required to force extra time, with Australia defending their World Championship title.

— Staff reporter