Bowls: Edwards and Smith upset in women's pairs

By Dale Budge

The upsets finally came at the Bowls New Zealand National Championships in a wet New Plymouth as the quarterfinalists of the women's pairs were found on Tuesday.

Constant rain saw the cancellation of the men's single post section play, which will now be contested on Friday.

The women's pairs were able to be played on the indoor green at the Paritutu club - four rinks are able to be used under the roof.

The big story was the loss of defending champion and world ranked pairs combination of Jo Edwards and Val Smith. The experienced pairing and competition favourites went down in the first match of post-section play 15-14 to Reen Stratford of Wanganui and Aucklander Linda Ralph. Stratford and Ralph went on to qualify for the quarterfinals with victory over Ann Loveridge and Marilyn Constantine.

Also upset in the first round of post-section play was the highly fancied combination of Blackjacks rep Angela Boyd and Blackjack-in-waiting Tayla Bruce who were comfortably beaten 24-8 by promising Waikato player Debbie White and current Blackjack Katelyn Inch.

White and Inch booked their spot in the quarterfinals after beating Lauren Mills and Chris Budge in the next round.

Sue Curran and Catherine Bein of St Heliers accounted for Ann Muir and Carolyn Crawford in a close encounter 15-14 to advance.

Dale Rayner and Ashleigh Jeffcoat stamped their pass to the quarterfinals after beating local hopes Loris Ropitini and Lorrine Crofsky from the Inglewood club. Fellow Taranaki reps Val McEldowney and Margie Carey managed to ensure that local fans will have someone to cheer for after they beat Anne Bateman and Hayley May.

Wanganui's Denise Taylor and Dot Belliss advanced along with Natarsha Grimshaw and Leanne Poulson while Estelle Hickey and Val Keightley complete the final eight.

Men's pairs and women's singles post-section play begins Wednesday weather permitting.

- NZ Herald

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