In form Blackjack further bolsters Stoke Thunder

Selina Goddard has knocked back offers from other Bowls3Five teams after committing to the Stoke Thunder for the second edition of the televised league, which starts next week (Oct 22).

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze medallist is one of three Blackjacks on the Thunder’s roster, joining Shannon McIlroy and Kirsten Edwards in the Stoke squad for the expanded eight-team competition.

McIlroy was the first to approach Goddard, who has played regularly with his wife Amy and is also good friends with Edwards.

Those friendships and the Stoke Bowling Club’s reputation won the Aucklander over.

“I’m just really lucky that they’ve given me an opportunity to play with them,” Goddard said.

“I haven’t been to their club before, but I feel like I know nearly all of their members.

“They’re very supportive and they’re just such a friendly bunch. They’re so easy to get along with.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by how great they’ve been.”

Edwards’ mother Leigh Griffin has also joined the Thunder’s ranks, making Stoke, who finished third last year, early front-runners for the 2019 Bowls3Five title.

Griffin has won four nationals titles, the most recent of which was the 2019 women’s fours with Edwards and Mandy and Angela Boyd.

“I’m pretty sure they were the favourites last year going in, but we’ve obviously learnt that doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” Goddard said.

“I’ll try and get myself up to their level and wear their blue as well as they do.”

The Stoke Thunder will rotate their squad throughout the eight weeks of competition, with Selina Goddard unavailable for a fortnight in late November after being named in the Blackjacks squad for the Multi Nations and Trans-Tasman on the Gold Coast.

Goddard believes Bowls3Five will be ideal preparation.

“There’s going to be some high quality games, which I feel quite fortunate to have.

“The more high quality games you can play leading up to the Multi Nations or the Trans-Tasman is going to be beneficial.”

The 25-year-old has already had success at the New Lynn Bowling Club, the venue for the Bowls3Five televised league.

Goddard won the Auckland premier women’s open singles earlier this month, beating Hinuera’s Debbie White in the final to reverse the result of the national women’s singles final at the start of the year.

“I’ve been practicing by myself a lot over the winter and you’ve got this process and it’s good to see what you’ve been working on over the last four months show some results in an event,” Goddard said.

“It was just a really good confidence boost for me in my training, not necessarily in my bowls.”

Selina Goddard and the Stoke Thunder will open their season on the third night of competition (Oct 24) with back-to-back matches against the Hinuera Heat and Stokes Valley Vipers.

Sky Sport will broadcast all 60 matches live on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, culminating in the grand final on Wednesday, December 11.