World champion Blackjacks Ali Forsyth and Blake Signal have qualified for post section play in the men's singles on the opening day of the Bowls NZ National Championships in New Plymouth.
Australian-based Forsyth enjoyed three head-to-head wins (21-6 v Jayden Ravji, 21-13 v Peter Rintoul and 21-15 v Brian Schischka) in blustery south-westerlies and bitter cold showers.
Signal was also impressive in beating Petar Sain 21-10, Kevin Smith 21-8, Dean McMurchy 21-14 and Na Katae 21-6.
Peter Belliss, three-time New Zealand singles title holder and recently appointed assistant coach of the Blackjacks, started the day strongly but was eliminated in round 4 going down 9-21 to Opunake's Kevin Deegan.
A new winner is guaranteed in the men's singles with world champion Shannon McIlroy not attending the National Championships - opting instead to spend some time with family after his recent World Championships success.
Former Bowls New Zealand President Ann Muir and Carolyn Crawford caused a great upset in the women's pairs - beating the veteran duo of Jo Edwards and Val Smith 19-18. Muir and Crawford, the 2014 national champions, finished the day with three wins.
Taylor Bruce, who earlier this month was selected to play in Queensland next year at the Junior World Cup, has partnered up with defending pairs champion Angela Boyd for this event. Both will be endeavouring to attest themselves this year; Bruce to reiterate her worth to selectors and Boyd to retain her title. The pair had two wins on Thursday and will look for two more on Friday to confirm a place in post section play.
Women's pairs will continue Friday and the men's pairs will kick off at 8:30am across several bowling clubs across Taranaki.