DEFENDING CHAMPIONS FALL AWAY AS FINALISTS EMERGE


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The penultimate day of the 2022 Summerset National Championships saw the exit of both defending champions, as the women's singles semi-finalists and men's pairs quarter finalists emerged in Christchurch.
With the star-studded duo of Andrew Kelly and Seamus Curtin defeating Lance Pascoe and Jamie Hill in the round of 32, and 2020 champions Raymond Martin and Robbie Bennett also falling at the hands of Taylor Horn and Jesse Russell in the same round, the title race was thrown wide open as some surprise combinations began to make their mark.

Less of a surprise was the path cut by record national title holder Gary Lawson, combining with this year's singles runner up Tony Grantham to advance through to the last eight. The duo will now come up against Kelvin Jackson and Brent Webster, the Central Otago/Southland composite previously ousting Dunedin duo Joko Susilo and Paul King - with an unprecedented fifteenth national title in sight for Lawson.
However, recently crowned men's singles champion Kelvin Scott will be looking to chase the double, teaming up with Burnside's Barry Williams to take on the formidable line-up of Aiden Takarua and Richard Hocking.

Across rinks, the composite pairing of Steve Beel and Ross Gillet will take on Central Cambridge hopefuls Taylor Horn and Jesse Russell, while Kelly and Curtin will line up opposite the formidable Canterbury duo of Rodney Greaney and Paul Matheson to round out the other quarter-final fixture at Burnside.

Though as exciting as the men's pairs race continues to be, all eyes will be on the women's singles, with three present New Zealand High Performance Squad members pushing their bid for the silverware. The mix up includes Burnside's Tayla Bruce as she takes on 2017 champion Selina Goddard and former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mandy Boyd taking on Wellington representative Clare Hendra - Boyd attempting to secure the singles title that has eluded her throughout a fruitful national resume.

In earlier fixtures, Bruce comfortably dispatched reigning champion Nicole Toomey 21-10, before going on to edge a hard-fought encounter against Woodend's Jenny Anderson, 21-17. It proved less of a battle for Takapuna's Goddard, as she dispatched the well-performed Aucklander Linda Ralph and Dunedin's Barbara Walker in each respective fixture, 21-9.

Other beaten quarter-finalists were Arrowtown's Debbie Jackson and 2019 women's singles champion Deb White - Boyd advancing through after a titanic contest 21-18 and Hendra accounting for Jackson.
Meanwhile, it was smiles as wide as the green in the New Zealand Disabled Lawn Bowls finals, with Southland's Julie O'Connell combining with 2014 open pair's champion Carolyn Crawford to take out the pairs. O'Connell and Crawford were in impressive touch opposite home green hopefuls Snow Reardon and Steve Walker, with the Southland/Otago composite running out comfortable victors, 20-5.
In other results, Takapuna's Graham Skellern was again in dominant form as he coasted through to a second para singles win, defeating local hope Bruce Wakefield in a commanding display, 21-3.
The women's singles semi-finals and men's pairs quarter-finals will get underway at Burnside on Sunday morning, with live stream action available on Sky Sport Next throughout the day.