Capital combinations to the fore in Central Otago

March 2, 2021

Three Wellington combinations have won through to the final eight of the inaugural Summerset National Mixed Pairs in Central Otago.

Victoria pairings Sarah Taukamo and Laurie Guy and Ben and Helen King, and John and Cherie Brien from Stokes Valley have come through an exhausting four rounds of post-section play to secure quarter-final berths.

Taukamo and Guy produced the biggest upset of the round of 16, beating 14-time national champion Gary Lawson and his playing partner Dale Rayner 14-9 in fading light at the Alexandra RSA Bowling Club.

They will play Nick Buttar and Tracy Clark in the last eight after Buttar and Clark progressed from three knock-out rounds at Omakau.

They edged Donelda Scott and Brian Ware 16-15 in the last 16 after toppling men’s pairs champion Lance Pascoe and newly crowned women’s fours winner Mandy Boyd in the round of 32.

Ben and Helen King ousted the decorated Jo Edwards and her playing partner Mike Carroll in the third round of post-section play at Roxburgh, before a last bowl 14-13 win over Pat Houlihan and Kaaren Guilford to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Their reward is a last eight meeting with Southland’s Bronwyn and Roger Stevens, after they beat two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mark Noble and Lyn Chittock 22-11 in the fourth knock-out round at Clyde.

Blackjack Selina Smith is in the running for a fifth national title and a gold star after she won through to the quarter-finals with Sheldon Bagrie-Howley.

Smith and Bagrie-Howley came from 11-5 down to beat Dunedin’s Paul King and Shannon Eathorne 15-12 in the fourth round of post-section play at tournament headquarters, Alexandra.

Bagrie-Howley will square-off against his Gore Rams’ team-mates Craig Merrilees and Clare Hendra for a place in the semi-finals after they too emerged from four knock-out rounds at Alexandra.

The final quarter-final will see John and Cherie Brien face the Northland combination of Paul Price and two-time women’s pairs champion Ann Muir.

Both caused boilovers in the knock-out rounds at Bannockburn.

Price and Muir got the better of current Blackjacks squad members Tayla Bruce and Seamus Curtin in the last 16, while the Briens upset Robbie Bird and reigning women’s pairs champion Val Smith in the round of 32.

The quarter-finals will start at 8:30am, with the last eight meeting between Merrilees/Hendra and Bagrie-Howley/Smith to be livestreamed on Sky Sport Next.

A semi-final and the final will also be livestreamed on the You Tube channel.

The remaining knock-out games will all be played at Alexandra Bowling Club, with entry limited to players and officials due to Covid-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions.