Forsyth, Smith struggles into last 16 of pairs

PETER JONES AND GRANT HASSALL
Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014

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Defending pairs champion Ali Forsyth and Andre Smith, from Marlborough's Havelock Bowling Club, are through to the last 16 at the national championships in Dunedin, albeit after two tough tests.

In the first match of post-section play Forsyth and Smith downed Chris Cookson of Taieri 18-8 but faced a harder time in the second round before securing an 18-16 win over Andrew Kelly (Redcliffs) and Michael Kernaghan (Kaikorai). They then squeezed past the strong Otago pair of Blair Barringer and Robbie Thomson (Fairfield) 17-14 for a spot in the final 16.

However, there will be no repeat of the 1995 triumph for Peter Belliss (Aramoho) and Lance Tasker (Birkenhead), after they lost 16-13 to Doug Thomas (North East Valley) and Brendon Hollander (Waihola) 16-13. The other big casualty was Shannon McIlroy (Stoke) and Lance Pascoe (Belfast) who lost in the opening game.

Gary Lawson's hopes of a record-breaking 11th title are still alive in the pairs – but only just.

Lawson (Victoria), playing with Ben King (Wilton), snuck home 17-16 in a third round game to secure his place in the last 16.

A fine Lawson drive helped to net four shots and create a five-shot advantage with three ends to play against Kaikorai's Kerry Becks and Craig McCaw. However, Becks and McCaw pulled back a three and a two to level things up playing the last head.

King drew a toucher and Becks' two push shots were fractionally wide of the target.

Blake Signal (Stokes Valley) and Alvin Gardiner (Elmwood), who won the title two years ago, made it through with an emphatic 24-1 victory against St Clair's Gary Andrews and Ross Stevens. Black Jack Richard Girvan (Onehunga) and Chris Le Lievre (Eastbourne) were equally dominated in disposing of Ken Fitness and Adam Booth (Mangawhai) 20-2, and are on course to clash with Signal and Gardiner in the quarterfinals, should both teams win their opening game today.

Yesterday, the Riverside duo of Valerie Symes and Rosemary Finch bowed out of the women's pairs competition, despite winning three of their six matches.

Needing four wins to progress to post-section play the Marlborough pair began the day with two wins and a loss. They went down 7-20 to Howat and Opai of Kilbirnie/Lyall Bay in their first match before a 10-22 loss to Rayner and May of Johnsonville/Victoria ended their chances. Symes and Finch won their final match 19-13 over Marr and Knox of St Clair, but the result was academic.

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