Image: Shanon McIlroy
Shannon McIlroy (Stoke) has bounced back from a surprise first up defeat to secure a place in post-section play at the Summerset National Singles and Pairs in Auckland.
The reigning world champion was beaten by Darryl Read (Belmont Park) 21-18 in his opening men’s singles match, meaning McIlroy had to win his remaining matches in section play to advance.
The defending champion did so in emphatic fashion, first crushing former national team-mate Jamie Hill (Eastbourne) 21-6 before accounting for Michael Lyttle (Tokoroa) 21-13 and then Richard Kupa (National Services) 21-3.
Read and Hill joined McIlroy in qualifying from the section.
Thirteen-time national champion Gary Lawson (Eastbourne) and last year’s semi-finalist Caleb Hope (Gore) also overcame first-up losses to progress.
Lawson dropped his opening match to George Lyddiard (Kensington) 21-18 in the last and arguably the toughest of the 34 sections, before beating Rob Ashton (Carlton Cornwall) 21-9, Chris Le Lievre (Musgrave Hill) 21-5 and Finbar McGuigan (Stokes Valley) 21-9.
Lyddiard, Ashton, Le Lievre and McGuigan all got the required three wins to advance.
Hope edged Kevin J Robinson (Maungaturoto) 21-19 in his final match in order to secure a place in post-section play.
Past winners Peter Sain (Carlton Cornwall) and Justin Goodwin (Eastbourne) had no such trouble, progressing from section play with unbeaten records, along with young Bowls3Five stars Seamus Curtin (Stokes Valley), Alex Reed (Point Chevalier) and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Gore).
Reed’s Pt Chev club-mate Aiden Takarua has advanced despite losing to Auckland rival Martin Dixon (Royal Oak).
2017 champions Dale Rayner and Ashleigh Jeffcoat (Composite) are in early trouble in the women’s pairs.
They’ve dropped two of their first three matches and now need to win all three of their matches tomorrow (January 3) in order to keep alive their chances of playing in a third straight final.
The mother-daughter combination of Leigh Griffin and Kirsten Edwards (Composite) lost its opening match but bounced back with two wins to be on course for a place in post-section play.
Fellow fancied pairings Clare Hendra and Tayla Bruce (Composite) and Amy McIlroy and Selina Goddard (Composite) have also won two of their three matches.
Blackjack Val Smith and her new playing partner Lisa Prideaux (Composite) are three from three in section play, after beating the McIlroy combination.
Patsy Robinson and Val Mathews (Thames Valley), Diane Strawbridge and Carol Neeley (Composite), Reen Stratford and Linda Ralph (Composite), Alison Rennie and Jill Fraser (Carlton Cornwall), Wendy Jensen and Anne Dorreen (Composite), Josie Mitchell and Lenice Baker (Henderson) and Adele Ineson and Robyne Walker (Composite) are the other unbeaten pairings.
Section play continues in the women’s pairs tomorrow (January 3), when section play starts in the men’s pairs, with Gary Lawson attempting to win a third straight national title with a third different partner.
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