Past champions dumped out of Summerset Nationals

January 6, 2021

Two of the past four winners of the men’s singles have fallen short of the knockout rounds at the Summerset Nationals in Auckland.

2017 champion Dean Elgar (West End) and Taylor Horn (Mangere), who won the men’s singles when it was last staged at Carlton Cornwall two years ago, have both failed to register the three wins required to advance to post-section play.

Elgar was the first to be eliminated after he succumbed to back-to-back defeats at Mt Wellington, while Horn followed him out of the nationals after he was dramatically beaten 21-20 by Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aidan Zittersteijn (Paritutu) in the fourth and final round at Howick.

The pair were the biggest casualties of section play in the men’s singles.

Defending champion Andrew Kelly (Canterbury 2017) and past winners Mike Kernaghan (North East Valley), Shannon McIlroy (Stoke) and Gary Lawson (Elmwood Park) have all qualified with perfect records, as have rising stars Ray Martin (Victoria), Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Gore), Aiden Takarua (Pt Chevalier), Finbar McGuigan (Stokes Valley) and Seamus Curtin (Stokes Valley).

Newly crowned pairs champion Lance Pascoe (Elmwood Park) has also progressed to the knockout rounds, as has long-time New Zealand Herald rugby reporter Wynne Gray (Takapuna).

Women’s singles champion Nicole Toomey is out of the running in the pairs.

Toomey and Tannith Potgieter have been beaten 15-11 by Denis West and Caroline Dubois in the sixth and final round of qualifying at Te Atatu to fall one win short of securing a place in post-section play.

In contrast 2019 champions Val Smith and Lisa Prideaux advanced to the knockout rounds with a 19-14 win over Jaime Delany and Doreen Jensen in the final round at Pt Chevalier.

New Zealand coaches Sharon Sims and Gayle Melrose and up and comers Bronwyn Stevens and Sarah Scott have also left it to their final games to qualify for post-section play.

Two-time winners Mandy and Angela Boyd and the Waikato composite pairing of Debbie White and Ashleigh Jeffcoat have had no such stress in their sections.

Both combinations have won their first four games to race through to the
knockout rounds.

Defending champion Selina Smith and her new playing partner Dale Rayner and last year’s beaten finalists Tayla Bruce and Clare Hendra have both won four of their five qualifying games to advance from section seven, while 2019 runners-up Reen Stratford and Linda Ralph have also comfortably progressed from section two.

Post-section play in the men’s singles and women’s pairs will start at 8:30am tomorrow (Thursday, January 7), with the finals of both disciplines at Carlton Cornwall on Friday.

The national blind and disabled singles and pairs finals will take place at the Sunnybrae Bowling in Glenfield tomorrow, with the singles finals to be broadcast live on Sky Sport Next.