There was good news and bad news for New Zealand bowling fans at the Commonwealth Games today.
Shannon McIlroy, the New Zealand men’s singles representative, beat Indian Krishna Xalxo 21-0, his second 21-0 victory of the tournament, to progress to the quarter-finals. However, the high-flying women’s New Zealand pair of Val Smith and Jo Edwards were eliminated.
Bowls aficionados were unable to recall a time when another bowler or team had scored two 21-0 whitewashes in one major tournament.
Games lawn bowls manager Mark Casey, who has been involved with international events for 15 years, said he could not remember anyone winning two games in a section 21-0. “It doesn't even really happen once,” he said.
The result means Shannon progresses to the quarter-finals with four wins and one loss.
“I was a little disappointed with the way I finished the second game yesterday, so I wanted a solid performance before the quarter-finals,” he said. “It is good to finish sectional play with a game like that. It makes you hungrier when you have a game like yesterday.”
Asked about his second 21-0 result he said: “It’s a funny old game and the beauty of this sport is that anyone on their day can beat the best in the world.”
McIlroy’s wife, Amy, a fours bronze medallist in Glasgow in 2014, and their 16-month-old son Iziyah were at the bowls to watch the win.
“He has been around a bowling green more than home. It is extra motivation to do well in front of my family. He inspires me.”
McIlroy’s next game next game is the quarter-finals tomorrow.
But while McIlroy, who was eliminated in the pairs in the quarter-finals, was celebrating his good form, Smith and Edwards were devastated.
They went down 18-16 to Canada and then found themselves eliminated when Norfolk Island beat them 20-11.
“It is just hugely disappointing,” Smith said.
Edwards said she felt she and Smith had begun well in the make-or-break match against Norfolk Island.
“A few things went against us,” she said. “We had a couple of holes here and there, but that's the game. It is a bit bittersweet ending - if we had won the Canada game, we wouldn't have put that pressure on us of having to win the last game. It's just really disappointing."
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Val Smith Shannon McIlroy Jo Edwards Lawn Bowls