Kiwis in good form at world bowls champs

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 12:30 01/12/2012

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The unbeaten men's triple and women's four continue to fly the flag for New Zealand at the bowls world championships as pool play reaches the midway point in Adelaide today.

Both Black Jacks' combinations have a draw on their record but have otherwise been in commanding form after five of the 11 round robin matches.

Defending singles champion Val Smith is also fourth in her group - the top three qualify for the next stage of the tournament - but the men's pair of Shannon McIlroy and Richard Girvan are flirting with elimination after suffering back to back losses yesterday.

They started promisingly with a 24-14 win over Hong Kong but then went down 24-10 to Wales and under lights at Holdfast Bay they lost a cliff hanger to Jersey 21-18.

Girvan, who has already missed out on a medal when the four failed to qualify for post-section play, and McIlroy - who cleared the first obstacle in the singles format - are ninth and can barely afford to drop another game, starting with the United States and Japan today.

"It's going to be pretty hard yakka from here on for them," admitted Bowls NZ head coach Dave Edwards given they are two wins adrift third and have a negative points differential.

Smith had another contrasting day on the Lockleys club greens, banking wins over Welsh national champion Caroline Taylor (21-17) and Thailand's Tsao Songsin (21-4) either side of a 21-17 loss to experienced Israeli Ruth Gilor.

She is handily placed in fourth, a win shy of third and will be striving to complete her first unbeaten day of the competition against the Norfolk Island and Botswana.

The men's triple of Tony Grantham, Matt Gallop and Ali Forsyth lead their pool by adding emphatic victories over China (20-4) and Brazil (25-6) to Thursday's wins over Australia and Canada.

They rode their luck in their second tie yesterday as Ali Forsyth delivered the shot bowl to square the contest with Brunei at 15-15 before waiting to see if rival skip Muntol Hajah Ajijah could negate it with the final roll of an absorbing encounter.

Fortunately Ajijah was wide of the mark, unusual considering his form throughout the match.

"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," said Edwards.

The quartet of Lisa White, Jan Khan, Mandy Boyd and Jo Edwards are second on points differential to the Scottish combo they drew with in round one.

Since then they have racked up wins over Australia - on Thursday - before completing a clean sweep yesterday against Japan (30-13), Brunei (25-13) and Israel (19-12).

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