National coach Steve Glasson says the Australian Jackaroos will have “a bigger target on our backs now” after three World Bowls gold medals but he warned they will not “rest on our laurels”, The Press reports.
“I don’t think it’s sunk it yet; it’s just been phenomenal,” he said.
Glasson said the Jackaroos celebrated the women’s singles, men’s pairs and women’s fours titles and the men’s triple’s silver medal at a team dinner on Saturday night.
But they would regroup after Monday’s rest day and focus on more success in the final four disciplines – men’s singles and fours and women’s pairs and triples.
He said Australia had put a lot of work into their international programme and the successful bowlers deserved all the accolades.
Women’s singles champion Karen Murphy collected her fourth world title, but at the other end of the experience spectrum, pairs skip Aaron Wilson won gold at his first World Bowls tournament.
Wilson, 25, and Brett Wilkie, 42, scored a comfortable men’s pairs win over Ireland’s Ian McClure and Gary Kelly 18-7 with an end to spare in Christchurch on Sunday.
Lead Wilkie and skip Wilson started strongly with two shots on the first end and were relentlessly consistent on their march to the title.
They stole a vital march on the Irish duo with three shots in the fifth end and picked up another three on the night to build an unassailable 9-2 lead at the halfway mark.
It was Australia’s third world men’s pairs title – and first since 1980 – and followed the Australian women’s fours’ victory in Christchurch on Saturday.
Ballarat-born Wilkie is no stranger to gold medal success at World Bowls – he won with the Australian fours at Adelaide in 2012.
But rookie Wilson, the 2016 world under-25 singles champion, was savouring success on the big stage.
Wilson, wearing his trademark facial zinc despite the overcast Christchurch conditions, told Sky Sport it was “an unbelievable feeling”.
Wilkie said the pair “got the start we wanted and ground it out”.
They topped their section in the round-robin phase despite a loss to Singapore and a draw with Jersey, but scored a confidence-boosting 17-11 semifinals win over Scotland’s world and Commonwealth Games champions Alex Marshall and Paul Foster.
Wilkie felt their combination clicked. “If I failed, Aaron always stepped up”
Glasson hailed the gold medal winning women’s four of Natasha Scott (skip), Kelsey Cottrell, Rebecca van Asch and Carla Krizanic, for buying into a dramatic team reshuffle after four rounds of section play.
“We changed every position,” Glasson said. “The skip moved went to lead, the lead to second, the second to third and the third to skip.
Glasson said in that situation “some people can feel they are being demoted or promoted” but the Jackaroos four – three 26-year-olds and a 28-year-old – had “embraced the challenge”.
The revamped lineup won every game, thrashing Ellen Falkner’s previously unbeaten England team 23-8 in Saturday’s final.
Scott, the recently crowned world champion of champion singles gold medallist, said: “Whoever decided the team needed changing, thumbs up to you.”
Cottrell and Scott collected their second world titles after pairs and fours triumphs, respectively, in 2012.
Australia was only one shot away from winning a fourth title, but the men’s triples team lost a gripping extra end final to England in the most absorbing match of the first finals weekend.
Australian skip Aron Sherriff narrowly missed the shot bowl with a drive off the final delivery of the 19th end, allowing England to clinch a 15-14 win on Saturday.
“From the mat end, I thought he had it,” a proud and relieved English skip Rob Paxton said.
Paxton, lead Jamie Walker and double Commonwealth games medallist Andy Knapper became the first English triples world champions since the legendary David Bryant, a three-time world singles champion, Tony Allcock, a double world singles gold medallist, and Jimmy Hobday in 1980 at Melbourne.