The National Intercentre got underway in Wellington on Friday, with the two defending champions Auckland (men) and Northland (women) having mixed results.
Three rounds were played in the overcast city and both defending champion teams were out to reclaim their titles.
Northland women got off to a good start with wins for both the pairs (Marny Jones and Leanne Stewart) against South Canterbury, and the fours (Maureen Parker, Maree Attwood, Lauren Mills and Diane Lawrence) against Wairarapa. While singles representative Sue Wightman missed out against Linda Ralph from Auckland 18-25.
Jones and Stewart, finished the day with three straight wins, defending Blackjack Angela Boyd and partner Pam Phair (Canterbury) and Wairarapa. The Northland team are comfortably sitting at the top of section three in the women's draw as they head
into round four on Saturday morning.
Over in the men's tournament, the Auckland defending champions also had two wins in Round one (singles and fours), while the pairs managed a draw with Southland 20-20.
By the end of round three the defending champions sit in third place of their section behind North Harbour and Wellington, having lost to both of them in the Fours.
Blackjacks Kirsten Edwards and Shannon McIlroy are equally pulling their weight for their Nelson sides, completing the day undefeated. World Champion Shannon McIlroy effortlessly bet Gisborne East Coast's Vern Mitchell, Central Otago's Howard O'Donnell and Kapiti Coast's Nicky Morgan, while Edwards defeated representatives from Dunedin, Taranaki and Counties Manukau.
The final two rounds of qualifying will be played over the Wellington region. With no clear front runners at this stage, it's still anyone's game.