Aucklander Karen de Jongh's brave attempt to repeat her 2013 success with back-to-back New Zealand Open women's bowls singles titles came to a halt late yesterday in trying conditions at Henderson.

Another past winner of the event, Bay of Plenty's 2010 open champion Marilyn McLeod, ousted de Jongh 21-17, after the Aucklander earlier had looked as if she might have a consecutive title within her grasp.

In the quarter-finals she ousted another fine performer, Bowls New Zealand president and a former national champion and representative, Northlander Ann Muir, 21-11.

McLeod's opponent in the final on Friday will be Waikato's equally experienced Sue Burnand, a former winner of the national fours title, who won her semifinal over Taranaki's Kristin Stampa.

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Despite yesterday's brutal weather, organisers made considerable progress in the tournament in the men's pairs as well as the women's singles by moving to artificial greens at Henderson and to nearby clubs.

But among yesterday's casualties in the men's pairs were the great Peter Belliss and his old Wanganui clubmate Lance Tasker. They went out to last year's singles winner, Tony Fabling, and his Hamilton lead, Chris Richter-Visser.

The defending pair's titleholders, Rob Ashton and Barclay Lee, however, remained on course to repeat their 2013 success with their third win of the day, 17-9 over Orewa's David Eades and Scott Curran.

Ashton has also made the last eight for the men's singles, along with Howick's 2011 winner Neil Fisher and a couple of South Islanders, Canterbury's Alvin Gardiner and Dunedin's Bob McAuley.