New Zealand bowlers lament lack of fortune

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 00:24 03/08/2014
Kelvingrove lawn bowls
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

RUB OF THE GREEN: Kiwis Val Smith and Jo Edwards compete during women's pairs section play at the Kelvingrove club in Glasgow, where New Zealand combinations secured three medals.

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New Zealand lawn bowls coach Dave Edwards was left to bemoan "the rub of the green" not going his side's way in Glasgow.

Shannon McIlroy's defeat in the men's singles bronze-medal match meant the Kiwis collected three medals from their efforts at the Commonwealth Games - good reward for a difficult task on the unfamiliar Kelvingrove greens and a product of excellent preparation.

Edwards had set the team a tough target of four medals - after NZ had managed just one apiece at the two previous Games - and said with a little better fortune they could have even surpassed that total after wife Jo Edwards won women's singles gold, the para-bowls open triples team gained silver and the women's four took bronze.

"The para-bowlers getting a silver was tremendous for the team, and obviously the highlight was Jo's gold," Edwards said.

"The girls four, they were the surprise package in getting their bronze medal.

"The key thing for us that we're very happy about is the fact that of the able-bodied bowlers, in the eight disciplines, seven out of the eight qualified for post-section."

Edwards felt a couple of the Kiwi teams were desperately unlucky not to reach the medal rounds.

The young women's triples side led Wales 11-5 in their quarterfinal before losing 14-13 on an extra end, the men's triples team were unbeaten in section play then lost their last-eight match 19-17 to South Africa, while the women's pair of Edwards and Val Smith stalled in their quarterfinal against Northern Ireland; losing 14-10 after leading 10-6 with six ends to play.

"We didn't have the rub of the green in the women's triples - all square going to an extra end, but an unbelievable shot from their opposition skip on the last end of normal play," the coach said.

"She'd play that 5000 times and only get it once.

"The men's triples were the same - the South African skip played an absolute bomb with his last bowl to get the victory.

"Earlier in the game, we were holding a lot of shots and their skip admitted he saved six shots with sheer luck, which is part of the game we play.

"In the women's pairs, the Northern Ireland girls admitted they were outplayed despite winning the game.

"You just have to take it on the chin and move on.

"So three medals when we were targeting four - we would have liked another one or two, but we have to pretty happy with our performances over the two weeks."

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