Finalists eyeing up silverware as Finals Day approaches
As the action heats up at the 2023 Summerset Nationals, the penultimate day threw up some surprise upsets and revealed the finalists in both the men’s singles, women’s pairs and open disability pairs.
With the weather finally starting to play ball, post-section was able to proceed at a scattering of clubs in both Auckland and the North Harbour centres, and with every round complete, some big names began to bow out.
Reigning men’s singles champion Kelvin Scott had his title defence cut short in the last 16, falling to former singles winner Petar Sain, 21-17, as did the well-performed Tony Grantham, exiting the competition after a solitary point loss to Philip Skoglund.
Recently crowned pairs champion Gary Lawson, who now holds an unquestionable record of 16 national titles, has continued his dominant form, playing his way through to a quarter-finals berth opposite Pt Chevalier’s Nick Thompson. Thompson, who last year qualified for the World Indoor Pairs via the PBA NZ competition was scheduled to appear at Potters Resort with partner Gary Cotter, though opted to stay local and chase a national title.
Joining Lawson will be former singles champions Shannon McIlroy and Sain, along with Skoglund, Stephen Liddington and Southland representatives Craig Tinker and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley - the latter, a capped Blackjack.
Other beaten quarter-finalists include Mike Galloway, Martin Dixon, Logan Clark, Trevor Reader, Tom Taiaroa and Scott Evans - while a host of young guns also fell to the hands of elimination in the last 64 onwards.
Meanwhile, the Blackjack-esque pairing of Clare Hendra and Tayla Bruce will be hoping they can book a spot in this year’s final for the second consecutive year - albeit going one better and turning their runners-up status into silverware. Standing in their way will be the vastly experienced pairing of Karen de Jongh and Deb White, while the other two semi-finalists are Takapuna duo Wendy Jensen and Robyne Walker and the composite pairing of Janeen Noble and Robyn Schishka.
Beaten quarter-finalists include Dale Rayner (Kaaren Guilford), Ashleigh Jeffcoat (Kimberley Hemingway), Gayle Melrose (Sharon Sims) and Northland composite Sue Wightman (Ann Muir).
In other results, New Zealand para representatives Graham Skellern and Bruce Wakefield have won their way through to the open disability pairs final, defeating Warwick Flintoff and Lynda Bennett in an extra end thriller.
Skellern and Wakefield will now play Steve Delaney and Jonathan Radka, following Delaney’s semi-final win over the formidable pairing of Darron Wolland and New Zealand indoor national representative Teri Blackbourn, 16-13.
All finals action will get underway at the Browns Bay Bowling Club on Monday from 8.30am.