Defending champion ousted on day one of nationals

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Taylor Horn after beating Tony Fabling in the 2019 men’s singles final

The defending men’s singles champion and last year’s beaten finalist have been eliminated from contention on a dramatic opening day of the Summerset National Singles and Pairs in Canterbury.

Taylor Horn (Mangere) and Tony Fabling (Hillcrest) have lost two of their first three matches in section play at Halswell to end their hopes of meeting again in this year’s final.

Horn has been beaten by fellow New Zealand development player Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Gore) 21-11 in the third round, while Fabling was ousted by Papanui’s Mark Lewis at the same stage.

They were the major casualties of the opening day of the men’s singles, with the biggest names all progressing to post-section play.

Recent champions Mike Kernaghan (North East Valley) and Dean Elgar (West End) have both advanced.

Kernaghan has progressed through section play unbeaten, along with fellow Blackjacks Chris Le Lievre (Musgrave Hill) and Seamus Curtin (Stokes Valley), while Elgar has joined the likes of Gary Lawson (Elmwood Park), Ali Forsyth (Clayton) and Andrew Kelly (Canterbury) in securing a place in the knock-out rounds despite a defeat each.

Defending women’s pairs champions Val Smith and Lisa Prideaux have suffered an early setback in section play, losing 15-14 to Gail Waitai and Linda Ralph in the second round.

But they’ve won their other two matches on day one and will safely progress to post-section with two more wins.

Blackjacks coaches Sharon Sims and Gayle Melrose are also on course to advance from their section after winning two of their opening three matches.

The New Zealand pairing of Katelyn Inch and Selina Goddard have also dropped one of their first three, as has Canadian international Kelly McKerihen, who’s playing with local bowler Jan Shirley.

The Blackjack pairing of Jo Edwards and Kirsten Edwards is just one win away from a place in the knock-out rounds after going through day one unbeaten.

Two-time champions Mandy Boyd and Angela Boyd, Debbie White and Ashleigh Jeffcoat and Wendy Jensen and Rachel Davies are three of the other 15 combinations to be perfect on day one of competition.

Section play will continue in the women’s pairs tomorrow (Friday, January 3), when section play will begin in the men’s pairs.

The Summerset National Singles and Pairs are being held across 17 clubs in Canterbury, with the finals to be played at Papanui.