New Zealand prevents Jackaroos clean sweep

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 19:38 20/03/2014

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Bowls New Zealand will rethink the composition of their Commonwealth Games squad for Glasgow following Australia's commanding performance in the key Trans-Tasman series build-up event in Victoria.

Changes were considered extremely unlikely to the Blackjacks squad before play got underway at the Traralgon Bowls Club on Tuesday, but Bowls NZ coach and selector Dave Edwards admitted the three-member panel would review their options after New Zealand at least prevented a clean sweep by winning the dead rubber on points differential.

The Jackaroos claimed their third straight senior title before today's third test and although New Zealand produced their best effort - albeit in a losing cause - in the finale, they were still worryingly outplayed.

New Zealand's team should be revealed within a fortnight following consultation with the Commonwealth Games Federation; Edwards told Fairfax Media the inter-centre championships in Wellington next weekend would now have a bearing on the final make-up.

"We need to draw breath after this as a selection panel," said Edwards, who was obviously disappointed at his squad's overall effort.

Fellow selectors Terry Scott and Raelene Peters also witnessed Australia's control on a green tailor-made to replicate the slow pace expected at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre in July-August.

The men's triple of Tony Grantham, Shannon McIlroy and Ali Forsyth were the only combination to end the series unbeaten.

Their female counterparts gained thankfully finished strongly after four straight losses while the four managed a consolation victory last night to prevent a second test whitewash.

Veteran Val Smith was New Zealand's most reliable female bowler and, after being replaced as the singles representative by pairs partner Jo Edwards, the 2010 singles silver medallist in New Delhi could be reinstated to take on Kelsey Cottrell in the blue riband event.

Edwards admitted his wife had struggled until finding some form on the final day.

"Jo was just really struggling early on. She's been playing on fast greens in Sydney (premier league competition). She didn't adjust quick enough to the slower speeds.

Edwards and Smith finally had cause for celebration at the crack Australian duo's expense when they bounced back from a heavy 26-8 defeat yesterday  by limiting Carla Odgers and Kelsey Cottrell to single digits for the first time.

Edwards then pushed on from that morale-boosting 13-8 triumph in the singles to finally overcome Cottrell in a head-to-to-head match-up, winning their final encounter 21-17.

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Meanwhile, the para-sport pairs (visually impaired) and triples (disabled) competed alongside the able-bodied team for the first time since the Trans-Tasman series was held in 1979 and also made encouraging progress towards Glasgow.

Barry Wynks and Mark Noble combined with Lynda Bennett for the first time and claimed their series against Australia two tests to one.

David Stallard (Auckland) and Waikato's Sue Curran dropped their first six matches but secured a breakthrough 13-12 victory today though it was not enough to prevent a 3-0 series loss.

Although the senior squad struggled the women's development team of Kirsten Griffin, Selina Goddard, Sheryl Pearce, Tayla Bruce and Angela Boyd provided some pride as New Zealand's only successful able-bodied unit.

Australia won the under-18 men's and women's crowns with ease.

Third test Open results:

Men:-

Pairs: Australia 20 (Brett Wilkie/Nathan Rice) NZ (Dan Delany/Richard Girvan) 12; Triples: NZ 14 (Tony Grantham/Shannon McIlroy/Ali Forsyth) Australia (Wayne Ruediger/Aron Sherriff/Matthew Flapper) 9;

Singles: Australia 21 (Aron Sherriff) NZ (Shannon McIlroy) 13; Fours: NZ (Tony Grantham/Dan Delany/Richard Girvan/Ali Forsyth) 19 Australia (Wayne Ruediger/Brett Wilkie/Nathan Rice/Matthew Flapper) 11; Pairs: Australia 14 (Brett Wilkie/Nathan Rice) NZ (Dan Delany/Richard Girvan) 10; Triples: NZ 20 (Tony Grantham/Shannon McIlroy/Ali Forsyth) Australia (Wayne Ruediger/Aron Sherriff/Matthew Flapper) 12.

Women:-

Pairs: NZ (Val Smith/Jo Edwards) 13 Australia (Carla Odgers/Kelsey Cottrell) 9; Triples: Australia 21 (Lynsey Clarke/Karen Murphy/Natasha Scott) NZ (Lisa White/Amy McIlroy/Mandy Boyd) 13;

Singles: NZ 21 (Jo Edwards) Australia (Kelsey Cottrell) 17; Fours: Australia 14 (Carla Odgers/Natasha Scott/Lynsey Clarke/Karen Murphy) NZ (Amy McIlroy/Lisa White/Val Smith/Mandy Boyd) 9; Pairs: Australia 16 (Carla Odgers/Kelsey Cottrell) NZ (Val Smith/Jo Edwards) 11; Triples: NZ 24 (Lisa White/Amy McIlroy/Mandy Boyd) Australia (Lynsey Clarke/Karen Murphy/Natasha Scott) 13.

Points:

Australia: 18

New Zealand: 18, NZ win on points differential

Australia win three test series 2-1 and retain Trans-Tasman crowns.

- Fairfax Media

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