Eight men’s pairings left standing after day of upsets


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Craig Merrilees in action in the men’s pairs at the Summerset Nationals in Auckland

The last eight have been found in the men’s pairs after several fancied combinations fell by the wayside at the Summerset Nationals in Auckland.

Defending champions Ray Martin and Robbie Bennett, 2019 winners Jordan King and Chris Lowe and Blackjacks Gary Lawson, Shannon McIlroy, Mike Kernaghan and Andrew Kelly were amongst those to exit in the first three four rounds of post-section play.

The composite pairing of Aiden Takarua and Richard Hocking knocked Martin and Bennett out in the round of 16 at Howick, prevailing 16-15.

Kernaghan and youngster Finbar McGuigan exited in the second round of the same section of sudden-death.

Takarua and Hocking will play Royal Oak’s John Carruthers and Mike Bradshaw in the quarter-finals after they beat the Taranaki pairing of Craig De Faria and John Roberts 20-13 in the third round.

Jerry Belcher and Hamish Kape have also emerged from post-section play at Howick, edging David Payne and Evan Thomas 19-18 in the round of 16.

They will meet Bay of Plenty’s Nicholas Tomsett and Dan Dickison for a place in the semi-finals after they accounted for Timothy Hook and Terry Curtis 15-9 at Browns Bay.

Tomsett and Dickison earlier beaten Lawson and Kelly 20-17 in the third round.

Marshall Stoddart and Tom Taiaroa ended the run of Graham Skellern and Brett O’Riley in the last 16 at Browns Bay, prevailing 17-16, after Skellern and O’Riley had beaten youngsters Taylor Horn and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley.

Pat Houlahan and Howard O’Donnell await Stoddart and Taiaroa in the quarters after Houlahan and O’Donnell downed King and Lowe, the 2019 champions, 20-12.

They earlier beat Neville Hill and his 11-year-old grandson Liam in the third knock-out round.

Uncle Jamie Hill is safely through to the last eight after he and Lance Pascoe emerged through three rounds of post-section play at Carlton Cornwall having benefitted from a first-round bye.

After a close shave in their first post-section game of the same corner of the
draw, the decorated pairing of McIlroy and Seamus Curtin lost in the round of 32.

Pascoe and Hill will meet Craig Merrilees and Craig Tinker for a place in the semi-finals after they won their three knock-out games at Browns Bay.

The quarter-finals are scheduled to start at 8:30am tomorrow (Tuesday, January 5) at Carlton Cornwall.

They will be followed by the semi-finals and final.

Play will also begin in the women’s pairs.

All finals will be broadcast live on Sky Sport Next.