Kiwis on track for Australian Open spoils.

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Double world champion and recalled Blackjack Gary Lawson has bowed out of the Australian Open men’s fours, after his side of Ali Forsyth, Kelvin Scott and former Australian international Mark Casey fell to the hands of Victoria’s Culum Bennington in the last 32.

The 2019 Australian Open held in the Gold Coast has attracted some of the sport’s biggest names, with several Kiwi hopefuls still among the mix come the quarter-finals action next week.

Wellington youngster Seamus Curtin, now based in Australia, has once again proved his consistency on the big stage, this time joining his team of Moama duo Peter Hall and Zane Mikin-Laurie and skip Nic Gosley, all playing with Aero Optimas and showing some promising form.

New Zealand selector Philip Skoglund has also shown his class, teaming up with fellow Eastbourne eagle Mike Carroll, Scottish international Kevin Anderson and the irrepressible Ryan Bester – comfortably sweeping their way through to a final eight showing at Bester and Anderson’s home club of Broadbeach.

Meanwhile, last hopes in the women’s singles rest with former New Zealand age group representative Nicole Toomey, who has progressed through to the last 32 to set up a mouth-watering clash opposite Malaysian international Nor Hashimah Ismail.

In similar fate, all Kiwi chances in the men’s singles rest firmly on the shoulders of  former New Zealand representative Shaun Scott, who equally has progressed through to the last 32 to set up a match opposite promising Australian prospect Dylan Skinner of New South Wales.

Curtin, who enjoyed a breakthrough performance last year in making the semi-finals of this event, was unable to repeat his heroics at the second time of asking, bowing out to Wangaratta’s Ian Brimblecombe in narrow fashion, 21-19.

Other Kiwi qualifiers to bow out in the same round included high performance squad members Keanu Darby, Daryl Read, Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and Lawson, along with Mike Nagy and Richard Corry – while Caleb Hope, Forsyth and Central Otago’s Trevor Drake were handed exit passes in the last 64, bowing out to some big names in Bester, Nathan Pederson and Jake Rynne respectively.

Kiwi qualifiers in the women’s field included Lisa Prideaux, Bronwyn Stevens, Lisa White, Ling Qu, Lynda Milne and Leanne Poulson, all ending their campaign after the first round of post-section, while Leigh Griffin, Christine Buchanan and Jillian Walls held on for one further round, before leaving only Toomey as the last Kiwi standing.

The men’s fours quarter-finals will now see Bester’s line-up take on fellow club-mate and Scottish international Ryan Burnett, while Curtin’s four will look to push for a semi-finals berth as they go head-to-head with Queensland’s Matthew Lucas.

This week, post-section in the men’s and women’s pairs will commence, along with the knockout action in the women’s fours, as dozens of Kiwis continue in their attempt to make a mark at the world’s largest bowls showpiece.

Sam Morton