The powerhouse four of Gary Lawson, Jamie Hill, Shannon McIlroy and Tony Grantham cruised to a full house of wins on day one at the Summerset National Fours, requiring only one more win from three starts to secure their place in the post-section.
Held across Wellington and the Hutt City regions, the eagerly awaited Summerset National Fours competition got underway in both the men’s and women’s field, with play spread over seven greens.
Also making a strong start to their title hunt, the local young guns skipped by Victoria’s Ray Martin, featuring Bradley Down, Finbar McGuigan and Richard Corry – posting a clean sweep and showing promising form heading in to the final day of qualifying.
Among the 82 teams starting the competition, only 15 remain unbeaten, including New Zealand representative Mike Kernaghan, Southland’s Craig Merrilees, Hawkes Bay talent Dean Drummond, Stokes Valley charge Mike Carroll, Taranaki’s Dean Elgar and North Harbour composite Graham Skellern and Co, to name a few.
Surprise losses to last year’s runner-ups Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and his side of Taylor Horn, Jordan King and Jesse Russell, and a second round loss to the international-esque line-up of Mandy Boyd, Kirsten Edwards, Angela Boyd and Leigh Griffin, had people talking, though a solid performance saw both sides close out two wins and keep their title run on stable ground.
In the women’s action, which comprises 46 combinations, only five sides finished up unscathed, as each respective line-up topped their section after three fixtures.
Unbeaten skips were Serena Matthews, Lui Hare, Sue Hodges, former New Zealand singles champion Helen King and reigning women’s singles champion Debbie White.
Looming dangerously with two wins are the sides of Boyd, Margaret O’Connor, Sheryn Blake, Judy Howat, Estelle Hickey, Christine Robson, Dale Rayner, Louise Fitness, Amy McIlroy, Bev Morel, Reen Stratford, Beverley Lindsay, Kay Martin, Lisa White, Sandra Prichard, Maureen Parker, Yvonne Gibb, June Wairau and local hopeful, Alieta Vulu.
The biggest casualty of the day was the winless run from former Blackjack Clare Hendra, who combined with promising Wellington trio Nicole Toomey, Hayley May and Sarah Cooper, find themselves playing for pride, as does former New Zealand coach/player Sharon Sims, unable to qualify with only three match-ups left.
Meanwhile, the star-studded side of former Australian representative Marilyn Emerton, Catherine Bien, Ling Qu and Leanne Poulson have it all to do, clocking up only one win from three on day one, as does the previously well performed Te Atatu Peninsula composite of Robyn Reihana, Maroiroi Pereeti, Sandra Taylor and Marion Hakaraia.
two of qualifying will commence on Saturday with the post-section finalists
heading into knockout action on Sunday.