Men's bowls team on course at world champs

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2012

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The New Zealand's men's triple remain on course to continue past pool play at the bowls world championships in Adelaide despite being held to a dramatic stalemate by Brunei yesterday.

After spending the bulk of their fourth round encounter at Holdfast Bay being frustrated by skilful Brunei skip Muntol Hajah Ajijah, they eventually had to rely on a rare slip up by their most dangerous opponent before maintaining their unbeaten record in pool two.

Ajijah's counterpart Ali Forsyth was also in fine form, particularly during the final end when New Zealand trailed 15-14 and were two down on the head.

Forsyth coolly rolled his last bowl closest to the jack and then faced an anxious wait as Ajijah was unable to negate the Kiwi's last-gasp effort.

"It was an absolute cracker," enthused Bowls NZ head coach Dave Edwards after witnessing the 15-15 draw.

"The Brunei skip played sensational bowls, absolutely incredible. I reckon he saved them 18 shots. It wasn't flukes, it was just sensational stuff. It wasn't just drives, he was drawing, he just played beautifully."

Edwards was also full of praise for Forsyth who held his nerve down the stretch and delivered "a fantastic bowl" to tie the scores.

Tony Grantham, Matt Gallop and Forsyth had a far easier beginning to day seven when they thrashed China 20-4, allowed their rivals to score on only three of the 15 ends.

Wins on Thursday against Australia and Canada means they are well-placed to claim the top-three position they require to advance to the post-sectionals.The women's four of Lisa White, Jan Khan, Many Boyd and Jo Edwards were also unbeaten after four rounds as they posted big wins over Japan and Brunei but the Val Smith's defence of her singles crown continues to fluctuate.

She beat Welsh national champion Caroline Taylor 21-17 in the morning session but in a repeat of Thursday's opening rounds Smith dropped her second match to impressive Israeli Ruth Gilor 21-17 to have a two-win, two-loss record.

Shannon McIlroy and Richard Girvan mirrored Smith's lack of consistency in the pairs at the Lockleys club - they towelled up Hong Kong's Danny Ho and Andy Chan 24-14 but the Welsh duo of Robert Weale and Jason Greenslade brought them back down to earth by recording a smooth 24-10 triumph.

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