Positive spin for gold-less NZ bowls team

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 08:54 10/12/2012

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Bowls New Zealand accentuated the positives after their world championships squad failed to strike gold after 16 days labour in Adelaide, believing the experience would stand their young Black Jacks in good stead.

A New Zealander failed to top the podium for the first time since 1996 when the women's titles were held at Leamington Spa in England and the men rolled up in Adelaide.

South Australia continued to be an unhappy hunting ground for the men's contingent after the four and pair failed to advance to the post sectionals.

Tony Grantham, Matt Gallop and Ali Forsyth were the only unbeaten triple of 24 nations after pool play but lost their semifinal to Australia and had to settle for bronze.

Shannon McIlroy secured New Zealand's other bronze when exiting a game short of the decider yesterday when he was beaten 21-19 by eventual champion Leif Selby, another Australian.

The women fared better by collecting three silvers but they were tarnished by the realisation Val Smith lost her singles crown and the pairs title she won with Jo Edwards in Christchurch in 2008.

Smith made yesterday's final but never led Karen Murphy before the Australian triumphed 21-17 while Kelsey Cottrell and Rebecca Quail had her and Edwards' measure in the pairs gold medal match-up.

Lisa White, Jan Khan and Mandy Boyd were also runners-up in the triple, an outcome that impressed Bowls NZ head coach Dave Edwards.

While Khan is a household name in the bowls fraternity her lead White and skip Boyd were making their world championships debuts.

"They've both only been in the squad for 12 months. It's been a huge learning curve for them and they'll gain a heap of experience from it. It's definitely no disgrace in getting the silver," Edwards said.

"The good thing about Mandy is she's come through our system. She started at secondary school level, we've had in in under-18 teams and then she progressed into our development squads.

"Our system has worked exceptionally well as far as Mandy's concerned. Now she's in the big time."

White followed a similar pathway from the talent development and once promoted to the elite squad she also acquitted herself well.

New Zealand won four golds when hosting the tournament and four years later the Jackaroos made the most of home advantage at Holdfast Bay and then Lockleys.

"We are disappointed we haven't got at least one gold but we're very pleased with the campaign on Australian territory. We're very, very happy with five medals."

The Black Jacks competed at the championship greens during last year's Asia Pacific tournament, the team also played in the South Australian competition and set up camp a week before the world's got underway on November 24 but they were still no match for the hosts.

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Australia won five of the eight disciplines while traditional powerhouse Scotland claimed the other three titles.

New Zealand will not have to wait long before seeking to avenge losses to their closest rivals with the Trans-Tasman series scheduled for Auckland in March.

The Black Jacks are also planning to get acquainted with the rinks they will encounter at the 2014 Commonwealth Games when an eight-nation test event is hosted by Glasgow in March.

- Fairfax Media

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