The New Zealand women’s bowls team capped an excellent campaign at the 2023 World Bowls Championships, awarded the prestigious Taylor Trophy at the conclusion of the event.
New Zealand has only previously won the Taylor Trophy, awarded to the best overall women’s team, on one occasion, at the 1973 world championships 50 years ago.
The Blackjacks women won three medals with Tayla Bruce winning a gold medal in the singles and joining Leeane Poulson and Val Smith with a silver in the Triples. Poulson and Smith added their second medal with a bronze in the Fours with Selina Goddard and Katelyn Inch.
Bruce said she was thrilled with the honour.
“That is a special award, especially given how hard we have worked as a group of five women. It is cool to be awarded something for our consistency, our perseverance and our form,” she said.
Head Coach, Mike Kernaghan was delighted with the women’s performance.
“Given the number of great women players that we have had over those last 50 years, this is a very special effort from our women over the last couple of weeks, and to do so on Aussie soil, makes it even better.”
The five women, who combined over the four disciplines, dropped only one section game. They lost the women’s pairs quarterfinal but the other three all won medals.
“It was a really good effort and Tayla’s gold was the icing on the cake,” said Kernaghan.
The men were a new group, with a bronze medal earned by the Fours, while the singles and pairs reached the quarterfinals.
“The men will be disappointed with how they went but when you consider it was a completely new team, new combinations then they have done okay and there has been some really good learnings for them.”
Kernaghan said it was an excellent opportunity to involve the Para bowls team into the championship.
“Of course, it was spearheaded by the outstanding gold medal in the pairs and we were one shot out of another medal, while the Vision Impaired only just missed the medal round.
“Overall to win five medals plus the women’s overall is a very satisfactory return. When we look at the men, we have a benchmark now for them to get better.
“For the women we had three bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games last year and this year we have a gold, silver and bronze, so they are on the upward trajectory.
“Overall it is very promising. The sport is in good heart. Australia did a great job of hosting and to have 44 countries competing was just fantastic.”