Ali Forsyth and Matt Gallop knocked the defending pairs champions out in a heavyweight encounter in the semifinals of the national bowls championships in New Plymouth yesterday.

Forsyth (Havelock) and Gallop (Blenheim) beat Blake Signal and Alvin Gardiner (Stoke Valley) 24-14, and will now face Rob Ashton (Johnsonville) and Barclay Lee (St Heliers), who beat Graham Skellern (Bowls Tauranga South) and Chad Grant (Sydney) 20-12 in the other semifinal.

Forsyth and Gallop made a decisive break on the 13th end with a three, and Forsyth then protected the lead with some clinical drives as Signal looked for a way to get back into the match.

Skellern and Grant took an early 5-0 lead in their match before Ashton found his range. Ashton and Lee took two points per end from the 12th to take control.


Reen Stratford (Birkenhead) will hope she can go one better in tomorrow's singles final after she was a beaten finalist 12 months ago.

Stratford, who beat Mere Fryer 21-14 in her semifinal yesterday, will take on Taranaki local Val McEldowney, who prevailed 21-15 over Anna Davis in the other semifinal.

Today's action will see the post section matches played in the men's singles and the women's pairs.