A fresh international chapter awaits the New Zealand Blackjacks, as selectors Peter Belliss and Sharon Sims opt for a changing of the guard for the upcoming World Bowls Championships in August.
Following a largely successful Multi-Nations campaign on the Gold Coast, Belliss and Sims have rewarded good performances and made some tough decisions in arriving at their five men and five women to contest the sports’ pinnacle.
Notable omissions in the men’s line-up include reigning world singles champion Shannon McIlroy and 2016 World Fours Champion skip Ali Forsyth -both narrowly missing the cut in favour of two standout performers from recent seasons, Andrew Kelly and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley.
Off the back of what was a promising international performance on the Gold Coast last month, Kelly has been called on to take the singles spot and skip the pair – combining with Tony Grantham, who was in stellar form throughout the 7-day event. Joining Kelly and Grantham will be Bagrie-Howley, Lance Pascoe and Chris Le Lievre – all impressing in various combinations during their time in the triples and fours disciplines.
Those to also miss the team naming on this occasion include Kelvin Scott and Ray Martin – both also playing their part in the Gold Coast, but falling victim to the fact only five names could be included for August.
Meanwhile, the women’s line-up remains consistent with recent campaigns, albeit a few discipline changes and Wellington’s Nicole Toomey desperately unfortunate to miss selection in the women’s triples and fours.
Unsurprisingly, Belliss and Sims have set their combination as Katelyn Inch and Selina Goddard in the pairs – both securing bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games and convincingly taking gold in last month’s Multi-Nations. Burnside’s Tayla Bruce has been given the nod in the women’s singles berth, reflecting a strong win in the World Champion of Champion Singles earlier this season and rewarded for a string of promising solo performances among international company.
Joining Bruce, Inch and Goddard will be perennial campaigner Val Smith, back for a remarkable fifth world championships and charged with skipping the triple and playing three in the four – while recent debutant Leeane Poulson will round out the fifth, playing lead in both the triples and fours.
Along with Toomey, fellow Wellingtonian Clare Hendra also painstakingly misses the team sheet, again falling victim to the…
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