The Bowls New Zealand National Intercentre has kicked off today in Auckland with the two defending champions, Taranaki (men) and Canterbury (women), having mixed results.
Two rounds were played this afternoon and both defending champions were out to seek back-to-back titles. Canterbury women kicked off their campaign with a win to twenty-one-year-old Blackjack Tayla Bruce in the singles (25-18) against Marlborough and a 23-12 win against Wairarapa in the pairs. The fours however would suffer a shock loss as
they fell off the pace against Northland, eventually going down 24-8.
The second round saw the pairs, fielding Blackjack sisters Angela and Mandy Boyd, grab another win over Marlborough (28-8) and Tayla continued her dominance, coming from behind to beat Wairarapa in a dramatic fashion. Final score: 25-23.
Nelson Women, who won this event in 2014 and 2012, are sitting undefeated after Day 1 and will be favoured to make the finals come Sunday. Although with Canterbury and Northland hot on their heels they will need to be on their game, tomorrow surely proving decisive.
The Taranaki Men's side had a rough day at the office and hopes of defending their title have taken a huge hit. After their five matches today they only came away with a solitary which came in the first round singles match against Manawatu (25-13). The big surprise of this section was Northland who also ended today undefeated after all three
disciplines fired leaving the side in poll position heading into Day 2 tomorrow.
The Blackjacks in the Nelson Men's team have been on top form with two wins in the singles to Shannon McIlroy and Pairs doing the same with Ali Forsyth skipping. The fours their only blight, losing both their games rather heavily.
The match of the day was expected to be Gary Lawson (Wellington) vs Mike Kerngahan (Dunedin) although after a close start Mike pulled away and eventually winning 25-13. Their section will be an interesting watch tomorrow with Canterbury also looking strong.