Defending champs make flying start to Summerset National Fours

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The defending champions have made a statement to open the Summerset National Fours in Wellington.

Gary Lawson’s quartet has started its title defence with a resounding 28-13 win, but it’s been topped by Mandy Boyd’s four, which has thumped Heather Lawton’s composite team 46-4 in the first round of section play.

Lawson, who has teamed up with fellow past and present Blackjacks Shannon McIlroy, Jamie Hill and Tony Grantham, are unbeaten after the first day of the tournament, going on to record 18-4 and 26-22 victories in the next two rounds.

Boyd, playing with sister Angela, best friend Kirsten Edwards and Edwards’ mum Leigh Griffin, have lost in the second round of section play to Alieta Vulu’s Stokes Valley quartet, 19-13, before bouncing back in the third round with a 26-12 win.

The defending women’s champs need to win two of their final matches in section play tomorrow (March 2) in order to progress to the knock-out rounds.

Serena Matthews’ composite four is one of only five unbeaten women’s teams, with Amy McIlroy’s quartet, which includes national squad members Selina Goddard, Wendy Jensen and Lisa Prideaux, winning its opening two matches before losing to Reen Stratford 18-14 in the third round.

Debbie White, winner of the national singles title in January, is also a perfect three from three, including a 20-17 win over national coach Sharon Sims, who’s already out of the running to progress to post-section play.

Gary Lawson’s four is one of 15 unbeaten teams in men’s section play, with Mike Kernaghan’s quartet also impressing.

Kernaghan, who is playing alongside fellow national squad member Andrew Kelly, has recorded 30-13, 30-11 and 24-11 wins in the first three rounds.

Aiden Takarua’s Point Chevalier foursome lost its opening match to Mike Kernaghan and, after also losing in the third round, needs to win its final three matches in section play to qualify for the knock-out rounds.

Former Blackjack Blake Signal, who is playing with dad Brian, is in the same predicament, while Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, who skipped the runners-up last year, has bounced back from an opening defeat to win his next two matches and remain on course for a place in post-section play.

The final three rounds of qualifying in the men’s and women’s fours are tomorrow (March 2), with post-section play starting on Sunday.

The Summerset National Fours are being staged across seven clubs (with a further four wet weather alternatives) in the Wellington region, with the finals to take place at the Naenae Bowling Club in Lower Hutt on either Monday (March 4) or Tuesday (March 5) next week.


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