Edwards leads big name combinations into day two of mixed pairs

March 1, 2021

World champions, Commonwealth Games gold medallists and multiple New Zealand title holders are amongst those who have won through to post-section play at the inaugural Summerset National Mixed Pairs in Central Otago.

Jo Edwards, who is all of the above, and her playing partner Mike Carroll have led more than 40 combinations who went unbeaten through qualifying.

Edwards and Carroll convincingly won all three of their section games at tournament headquarters, the Alexandra Bowling Club.

Tayla Bruce and Seamus Curtin, Deb White and Tony Fabling and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and Selina Smith were amongst the other high-profile pairings who were a perfect three from three in their round-robin games at Alexandra RSA, Bannockburn and Cromwell respectively.

Robbie Bird and past world champion Val Smith were also unbeaten in qualifying, but they weren’t required to play their third game.

Beaten men’s fours finalist Lance Pascoe and newly crowned women’s fours champion Mandy Boyd, and Craig Merrilees and Clare Hendra only required one win to qualify at Omakau and Alexandra respectively, benefiting from byes in section play.

Fourteen-time national champion Gary Lawson and his playing partner Dale Rayner, and Peter Hodson and women’s fours runner-up Sandra Keith both bounced back from first-up defeats.

Lawson and Rayner slumped to an 18-8 loss in their opening game at Omakau before running away with their next two to progress to post-section.

Hodson and Keith were narrowly beaten 12-11 in round one but were untroubled in their following games to qualify.

Blackjacks Mike Kernaghan and Shannon McIlroy are the major omissions from the knock-out draw.

Kernaghan and emerging talent Lisa Prideaux were the first big name pairing to exit the tournament.

They were eliminated after losing 17-15 to decorated Blackjack coach Peter Belliss and his partner Reen Stratford in the second round of section play at Waipiata after slumping to a 21-7 defeat in the opening round.

The result ensured Belliss and Stratford qualified.

McIlroy and his wife Amy had to win their final round game at Arrowtown to advance but fell to an 17-8 defeat.

Post-section play will get underway quarter of an hour early at 8:15am tomorrow, with four knock-out rounds scheduled in order to find the quarter-finalists.

The first day of sudden-death matches will take place at Alexandra, Alexandra RSA, Clyde, Bannockburn and Roxburgh and Omakau with club entry limited to players and officials as a result of Covid Alert Level 2 restrictions.