The women’s triple of Nicole Toomey, Tayla Bruce and Val Smith had to work hard but ended up winning a bronze medal at the bowls.

For the three women, it is a second medal of the Games, after they were part of the women’s four (along with Selina Goddard) who took bronze earlier in the week.  

The triple, who’d played so well earlier, could not hit top form in their semi-final against Malaysia and went down 16-9.

The New Zealanders were always on the back foot and when they trailed 11-3 after nine ends it was obvious they were in trouble.

But they then turned their attention to the bronze medal play-off against the Cook Islands and were in devastating form, racing to a 16-2 lead after only eight ends and going on to win 28-7.

“I’m very happy we were able to do this against the Cooks, after this morning’s disappointment,” said Smith, who is one of the all-time legends of New Zealand bowls

She said she’d found the tournament incredibly satisfying. “There’s quite a gap in years between me and the other girls and to get the opportunity to play with them has been very rewarding.”

Bruce said that as a youngster she’d once asked Smith for her autograph. “To be in the same team as her here winning two bronzes – it’s pretty cool. It feels awesome that we made the most of our opportunities, so that after we lost in the semis we were still able to win medals.”

Toomey said it was a fantastic experience. “I couldn’t really have envisaged a better outcome, than to win two medals here.” 

Katelyn Inch and Selina Goddard did New Zealand proud in their women’s pair quarter-final against Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland pair dashed to a 7-2 lead before New Zealand levelled at 9-9. The Irish got their noses in front 15-13 and it required huge faith to believe New Zealand could pull out a victory. 

But on the last end they got the three they required and squeaked home 16-15 to book a semi-final against Englishwomen Sophie Tolchard and Amy Pharoah. 

However, things didn’t go well in the semi-final and after nine ends England had charged to a 10-4 lead and held that comfortably to win 19-12.

Inch and Goddard now meet Malaysia to decide the bronze medal.

The medal hopes of the New Zealand’s men’s four – Tony Grantham, Andrew Kelly, Mike Galloway and Ali Forsyth – were extinguished in extraordinary fashion.  

In their quarter-final against Wales, the New Zealanders were level at 7-7, before Wales stormed away to a 14-8 lead. New Zealand then scored a virtually unheard of eight on the 14th and second-last end to suddenly be in the box seat, 16-4 ahead.

However, on the final end Wales scored four to win 18-16. New Zealand held three when Welsh skip Jonathan Tomlinson stepped up for his final delivery. Incredibly, he dragged the jack across to his team’s balls and Wales finished with a four when moments earlier their prospects of victory were minimal.

Bowls is a sport where unusual things happen, but even then, it is extremely rare indeed for a match to swing so wildly over the last two ends. Unfortunately New Zealand came off worse from this madcap event.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
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