A team of fifteen bowlers has been named to represent New Zealand at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games today in Auckland.
Commonwealth Games veterans including Val Smith and Ali Forsyth will anchor the team but will be joined in Glasgow by some exciting young players including 19 year-old Selina Goddard and 22 year-olds Amy McIlroy and Mandy Boyd.
The team includes five bowlers competing in the para-sport events as well as ten competing in the able-bodied disciplines.
CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith congratulated the players. “We are pleased with the very high standard of the bowlers selected today and delighted to see a fantastic mix of youth and experience,” she said. “We have every expectation that they will make a strong contribution to the overall team’s success.”
In the women’s side Smith (Nelson) has been selected to compete in her third consecutive Commonwealth Games where she will compete in the pairs with Jo Edwards (Nelson) as well as in the fours.
Goddard (Auckland), the surprise pick in the team, McIlroy (Nelson) and Boyd (Canterbury) make up the triples and the join Smith in the fours. Their combined ages bring the average age in the women’s side to 31, 10 years younger than the average age of the side four years ago in India.
The new face in the men’s side is Blake Signal (Wellington) who has had a very strong run of performances over the last eighteen months to secure a spot in both the pairs with Richard Girvan (Auckland) and in the fours.
As expected Shannon McIlroy (Nelson, Singles), Tony Grantham (Auckland, Triples and Fours) and Ali Forsyth (Havelock, Triples and Fours) round out a very consistent and experienced men’s side. The men’s team is also young with an average age of 35.
Of the five para-sport bowlers named today, only triples player Barry Wynks (Manawatu) has previously competed at a Commonwealth Games. Lynda Bennett (Waikato) and Mark Noble (Manawatu) join him in the triples.
Head Coach Dave Edwards said his side would look to improve on the nation’s performance in Delhi where they won a silver medal.
“New Zealand has had mixed results over the last 18 months in international competitions and we know competition in Glasgow will be intense. However, we believe the side that will represent us in July now has the mix of both experience and skill to achieve our goals.”
“It has been a lengthy process to get to this stage through trials and training camps and those selected should be commended on how they have prepared themselves to this point. However the hard-work continues now as the games are just a matter of months away.”
Bowls is a core sport of the Commonwealth Games, having been included in the sporting programme since 1930, with the exception of 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica.
New Zealand has won 35 medals at Commonwealth Games, including 11 gold medals.
The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bowls event will be held over nine of the eleven days of competition, from July 24 to August 1.
New Zealand Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Men’s Team
• Singles – Shannon McIlroy
• Pairs – Richard Girvan and Blake Signal*
• Triples – Ali Forsyth, Shannon McIlroy, and Tony Grantham*
• Fours – Ali Forsyth, , Richard Girvan, Blake Signal,* Tony Grantham*
New Zealand Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Women’s Team
• Singles – Jo Edwards
• Pairs – Jo Edwards and Val Smith
• Triples – Mandy Boyd* Amy McIlroy*, and Selina Goddard*
• Fours – Mandy Boyd*, Val Smith, Amy McIlroy* and Selina Goddard*
New Zealand Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Para-Sport Team
• Partially Sighted Pairs (B2 or B3 classification) – David Stallard*, Peter Blick Director and Sue Curran*, Christine Foster Director
• Disabled Triples (B6, B7 or B8 classification) – Lynda Bennett*, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble*
*Commonwealth Games Debut
• Dave Edwards – Bowls New Zealand National Coach
• Terry Scott – Assistant Coach – Selector
• Raelene Peters - Assistant Coach – Selector
• Peter Belliss – Assistant Coach
• John Quinn – Mental Skills Coach