Bowls: Another day dominated by favourites

By Dale Budge

Val Smith and her teammates were dominant in the women's fours at the National Champs. Photo / Supplied
Val Smith and her teammates were dominant in the women's fours at the National Champs. Photo / Supplied

The final day of section play has been dominated by the favourites at the Bowls New Zealand National Championships in New Plymouth.

The powerhouse women's fours team of Jo Edwards, Val Smith, Kirsten Edwards and Tayla Bruce eased into post section play after convincingly winning their first four matches.

They didn't need to even contest the final two pool encounters to advance and will be red-hot favourites to take out the title later in the week.

Teams skipped by Dale Rayner, Sarah Scott, Nellie Hewon and Lisa White also went through unbeaten.

In the men's fours all of the big names advanced to the knockout stages with Ali

Forsyth's Australian based team looking particularly impressive. The combination of world champion Forsyth, Tony Wood, Paul Titcombe and John Young were never troubled in any of their five pool matches.

Also impressing was veteran Kiwi lawn bowler Peter Belliss, whose team of Richard Girvan, Blake Signal and Lance Tasker went through undefeated in section play.

Others to advance unbeaten were Bradley Down, Dean Elgar, Kevin Hills, Ray Martin, Ray Lovie and Steve Hoeft while Rob Ashton and Gary Lawson dropped just a single game in advancing to the knock-out stages.

Post section play begins on Tuesday with the women's pairs and men's singles in action.

The extremely successful pairing of Edwards and Smith will be a star attraction in the women's pairs as they eye another national title. Their first challenge will be Reen Stratford and Linda Ralph of Wanganui while the impressive Bruce and Angela Boyd combination will meet Waikato's White and Blackjacks representative Katelyn Inch.

Seventeen year old New Zealand age-group rep Ashleigh Jeffcoat and Rayner will face Taranaki's Loris Ropitini and Lorrine Crosky.

In the men's singles most of the action will come from section 5 where Blackjack Forsyth features. Brian Baldwin will play Manawatu's Mark Noble and 16-year-old Seamus Curtain will face the experienced Girvan.

Local star Elgar will take on Ashton in a mouth-watering contest while others in action include long-time Blackjacks Belliss, Lawson and Signal.

The Bowls New Zealand National Championships will continue until Sunday across a number of bowling clubs in New Plymouth.

- NZ Herald

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