Bowls New Zealand today announced the teams that will participate in June's Trans-Tasman and 8 Nations events.
Both events are being held on Australia's Gold Coast at the same venues that will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games Bowls competitions.
With this in mind the selectors, Sharon Sims and Peter Belliss, have named a Blackjacks team that includes the complete team from the 2016 World Championships plus an additional five players.
Combinations and places will be tested over both events to ensure everyone has the chance to potentially force their way into 2018 Games selection. Tony Grantham and Paul Girdler join the men while new Heartland Bank National Open Singles Champion Selina
Goddard, Tayla Bruce and Mandy Boyd join the women. Boyd returns to the squad after originally being named in November's World Championship team but then withdrawing for personal reasons.
The annual Trans-Tasman event is this year followed by an invitational Eight Nations Event hosted by Bowls Australia. The competition will be of the highest quality with teams competing from; Australia (2), Canada, Hong Kong, Wales Scotland, Malaysia
and New Zealand.
Also, playing these two events will be a Para-Sport team. The players selected are;
Triple: Carolyn Crawford (B8) Mark Noble (B6) Graeme Skellern (B7) Mixed Pair: Sue Curran (B3) Director Ann Muir David Stallard (B3) Director Peter Blick
The mixed pairs team has just returned from winning a silver medal at the recently completed Blind Bowls World Championships in South Africa.
A Development team will also compete in the Trans-Tasman. Outlining how strong the game is at the youth level the women will be led by Under 18 Ashleigh Jeffcoat (Waikato) who will play singles and lead the pairs while two under 18 boys; Seamus Curtin and Finbar McGuigan, both from Wellington, have also made the team.
In naming the teams Sharon Sims said that "in taking the full Blackjacks squad everyone has a chance to stake their claim for Commonwealth Games selection. It really is a great opportunity to see if the excellent foundations laid in Christchurch at the World Champs have continued to be built on. Like in all sport to have competition for team spots is the ideal scenario. We have to get down to 5 men and 5 women for the games and already we know as selectors it won't be easy. Likewise, the Para-sport team also have the chance to cement their selections. As the games in 2018 are in April we have already planned a second Trans-Tasman series for November. If all goes to plan we won't see many changes in the Blackjacks or Para teams for that event though we will potentially make some changes to the development team, just to give us a wider base of young players with international experience."
• Angela Boyd (Canterbury)
• Mandy Boyd (Canterbury)
• Tayla Bruce (Canterbury)
• Selina Goddard (Auckland)
• Katlin Inch (Canterbury)
• Jo Edwards MNZM (Nelson)
• Kirstin Edwards (Nelson)
• Val Smith (Nelson)
• Ali Forsyth (Nelson)
• Shannon McIlroy (Nelson)
• Mike Kernaghan (Dunedin)
• Mike Nagy (Auckland)
• Paul Girdler (Dunedin)
• Tony Grantham (North Harbour)
• Blake Signal (Wellington)
• Ashleigh Jeffcoat (Waikato)
• Kimberley Hemingway (Wellington)
• Natasha Russell (Wellington)
• Nicole Toomey (Wellington)
• Sarah Scott (Dunedin)
• Richard Hocking (Canterbury)
• Seamus Curtin (Wellington)
• Finbar McGuigan (Wellington)
• Aiden Takarua (Auckland)
• Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Southland)