Bowls: Incoming selectors name new Blackjacks squad

By Dale Budge

The incoming Bowls New Zealand selection panel have named their first Blackjacks squad with recalls and a debut being the talking points.

Sharon Sims and Peter Belliss, who took over from long-time selector Dave Edwards after the recent Bowls World Championships, have named a 15-strong national squad that will remain in-tact through to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

All of the squad members that represented New Zealand at the World Championships remain in the team but are joined by five additional players.

North Harbour's Tony Grantham and Dunedin's Paul Girdler come into the men's squad along with world champion singles player Shannon McIlroy, Ali Forsyth, Mike Nagy, Mike Kernaghan and Blake Signal.

Mandy Boyd, who missed the World Champs due to personal reasons, returns as does recently crowned national champion singles player Selina Goddard while promising youngster Tayla Bruce has been named in the Blackjacks for the first time.

They join exiting Blackjacks, Angela Boyd, Kirsten Edwards, Jo Edwards, Val Smith and Katelyn Inch.

"While this is our current squad for the upcoming camps and events the door is far from shut," Sims said in a statement.

"We saw some performances at the recent Heartland Bank Open in New Plymouth that shows there are several players knocking at that door and if their form continues to demand selection then changes will be made.

"As a team, we had a great World Championships but there is still room for improvement.

"Beating the Australians on their own greens will be tough. We did it here so we know it can be done, now with some slight changes and improvements we can do it there too."

Blackjacks squad: Jo Edwards, Val Smith, Kirsten Edwards, Katelyn Inch, Angela Boyd, Mandy Boyd, Tayla Bruce, Selina Goddard, Shannon McIlroy, Mike Kernaghan, Mike Nagy, Ali Forsyth, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Tony Grantham.

- NZ Herald

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