The one and only Valerie Val Smith was hoisted shoulder high by the New Zealand and wider world sporting fraternity yesterday to acknowledge 500 marvellous international lawn bowls appearances in the distinctive Blackjacks livery.

And how marvellous that this recognition came just six days after her best friend and long-time on-green partner Jo Edwards was gonged for the same accomplishment?

In fact, the sports three most-capped internationals, Val and Jo with 500 games apiece, along with Australias Karen Murphys 550+, are all still plying their craft with gusto and class during these championships. Now thats one for the trivia buffs.

In 2008, when Christchurch last hosted these same championships that are approaching their crescendo, Val scooped the pool by winning the singles gold medal, then joining forces with Jo to clinch pairs gold as well.

Two years later in Delhi she had to settle for Commonwealth Games silver after a herculean battle with Englands Natalie Melmore, while a further two years on she added more silver following an adrenalin-pumping final against Karen Murphy in Adelaide.

Also in Adelaide, Val and Jo featured in yet another big international final, but fell marginally short against Aussies Rebecca Van Asch and Kelsey Cottrell, who won fours gold last Saturday and will be well in the mix over this coming weekend.

Val Smith, the bowls community around the world salutes you.

Yesterday will be long remembered for some of the most curious outcomes ever! But fair to suggest, in this environment it would be a shock, if there were no shocks!

Take for instance the USA mens fours team of Aaron Zangl, Scott Roberts, James Flower and Charlie Herbert, who were on the receiving end of a serious 41-shot spanking from Ali Forsyths Blackjacks in Round 5, yet came out in the next round and claimed the points against Scotlands Commonwealth Games gold-medal-winning four under the astute skippership of Alex Marshall.

Go figure. And while youre at it, explain this one from Section 2 of the mens singles. Round 2 saw South African great Gerry Baker record a solid 21-18 win over Norfolk Islands Ryan Dixon, then twenty-four hours later Dixon handed in a 21-14 winning Round 5 card over NZs Shannon McIlroy - who then proceeds to dish out an astounding 21-1 drubbing to Baker, the legendary Proteas southpaw in yesterdays sixth round.

Another hearty plug for the health of our great game in the Asian theatre. How the visionaries of the game would be thrilled to read of Japans Kenta Hasebe beating Scotlands Darren Burnett, the reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist; or overnight leader Ryan Besters loss to Sunil Bahadur from India, where there is only one fully operational bowling green; or Johnny Ng from Macao, the first bowler from his country to ever qualify for this event, who scored a great win over Jerseys richly talented Malcolm De Sousa yesterday.

How the sections stand after Day 2 (of week 2):

Womens pairs: Current standings: Sec.1: New Zealand 18 points +61 shots, Australia 15 +71, Philippines 12 +55, England 12 +47, Cyprus 9 -10, Israel 9 -18, Canada 6 -3, Netherlands 3 -47, Singapore 3 -60, Namibia 3 -96.

Sec.2: Wales 18 points +91 shots, Scotland 18 +47, Norfolk Island 12 +42, Malaysia 12 -37, South Africa 12 +27, Ireland 6 -27, Spain 6-53, Hong Kong China 3 -24, China 3 -38, Cook Islands 0 -102.

Womens triples: Current standings: Sec.1: England 18 points +50 shots, Malaysia 15 +44, Philippines 12 +30, South Africa 12 +10, Hong Kong China 12 +9, New Zealand 9 +20, Namibia 6 -4, China 3 -45, Spain 3 -65, Norfolk Island 0 -49.

Sec.2: Australia 18 points +114 shots, Canada 12 +25, USA 12 +1, Wales 12 -10, Fiji 9 +16, Scotland 9 +15, Brunei 6 -5, Zimbabwe 6 -19, Ireland 6 -21, Isle of Man 0 -116.

Mens singles: Current standings: Sec.1: R Bester (CAN) 15 points +50 shots, A Sherriff (AUS) 15 +26, D Burnett (SCO) 12 +23, K Hasebe (JPN) 9 +8, P Bonsor (ESP) 9 -2, S Bahadur (IND) 9 -3, M De Sousa (JER) 6 -14, W Esterhuizen (NAM) 6 -21, T Priaulx (GUE) 6 -23, J Ng (MAC) 3 -44.

Sec.2: J Tomlinson (WAL) 18 points +37 shots, S McIlroy (NZL) 15 +39, F Jabal (MAS) 15 +29, G Baker (RSA) 9 -5, G Kelly (IRE) 6 +10, J Walker (ENG) 6 +1, T Cheung (HKC) 6 -

12, R Dixon (NFI) 6 -26, L Paraskeva (CYP) 6 -

34, R Omar (BRU) 3 -39.

Mens fours: Current standings: Sec.1: New Zealand 18 points +114 shots, Scotland 15 +34, Wales 4 +43, South Africa 4 +16, Hong Kong China 9 -

13, Israel 9 -13, USA 9 -38, Canada 3 -29, Fiji 3 -45, Brunei 0 -81.

Sec.2: England 18 points +115 shots, Australia 18 +57, Ireland 16 +57, Malaysia 9 +23, Jersey 7 -22, Zimbabwe 6 -25, Spain 6 -

37, Norfolk Island 4 -42, Japan 3 -63, Singapore 1 -63.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Bowls New Zealand