National | Bowls

Lawn bowls pair take out Botswana, PNG

Lawn bowls champion Shannon McIlroy hopes to make his mark in the men's pairs at this year's Commonwealth Games.

McIlroy and partner Blake Signal have already got off to a winning start after taking out Botswana and Papua New Guinea.

McIlroy says, "To be fair, environment-wise, this is probably the best one so far.  So far, so good so hopefully it continues".

Despite missing the podium in Glasgow 2014 and Delhi in 2010, he's seeded amongst this year's top four.

"There is a little bit I suppose of that 'wow' factor with a lot of famous people here.  But as long as you keep your eye on the ball, things should go alright.

"But yeah, it's been a couple of good years for me since the World Championship where I won the singles- I won every international event since then," says McIlroy.

Following his success at the 2016 World Championships and Multi-Nationals, he's one of this year's biggest threats.

Despite his fame in the bowling circles, he remains humble.

McIlroy says he still has to "peel those potatoes" back at the marae.  He also says, "It's been about 11 years since I've been on the international scene so it's over a decade of 350+ games".

As well as singles, McIlroy takes on an extra challenge this year in the men's pairs where he says New Zealand is not yet recognised.

"Good start, obviously we kicked off our event last night in the pairs.  First game was at 4 o'clock and it was a really good first hit out for us.  We managed to clock up some shots, two from two, so we've set ourselves a little bit of a benchmark thing," he says.