Seeds topple in men's pairs Defending champions make final 16

The seeds went flying in the men's pairs at the New Zealand bowls championships in New Plymouth yesterday, but defending champions Alvin Gardiner (Elmwood) and Blake Signal (Stokes Valley) still remain in contention.

Among the casualties were Rowan Brassey and Beau Prideaux (Cabramatta), the 1996 winners Brian Baldwin and Gary Mounsey (Musgrave Hill), Lance Pascoe (Wilton) and Shannon McIlroy (Stoke), Andrew Kelly (Canterbury) and Raika Gregory (Frankton Railway), and Richard Girvan (Onehunga) and Kevin Robinson (Tokoroa).

It was Gardiner and Signal who ousted Brassey and Prideaux, with an 18-17 extra-end effort. Gardiner and Signal then nosed out Adam Johnston (Northern) 18-15 to secure their place in the last 16.

This morning they will be involved in the feature game against the 1995 winners Peter Belliss (Aramoho) and Lance Tasker (Mt Maunganui). Belliss and Tasker beat Ken Walker (Fairfield) 20-13 and Scott Evans (Onehunga) 21-5.

Upsets split the top half of the draw apart. After eliminating Kelly and Gregory in emphatic style 19-7, Philip Skoglund (Northern) and Ross Ellery (Palmerston North) were in turn undone 16-13 by Scott Roberts (Nolantown) and Dennis Osborne (West End).

Baldwin and Mounsey were taken down 17-14 by Vogeltown's Dean Elgar and Gerry O'Sullivan in the third round. At the same time McIlroy and Pascoe were beaten 15-13 by Rob Ashton (Johnsonville) and Barclay Lee (St Heliers), who will now clash with Palmerston North's Pat Horgan and Graeme Cooley.

Girvan and Robinson suffered an early 18-9 loss to Paritutu's Darren Goodin and John Reid, who then fell 21-11 to Alton's Bruce Phillips and Grant Anderson.

New Zealand players Ali Forsyth (Havelock) and Matt Gallop (Blenheim) sneaked into the last 16 with a thrilling 20-16 win over Dan Delany and Chris Le Lievre (Onehunga) in the final round.

Forsyth and Gallop led 16-12 playing the 18th end but dropped a four to force the game into overtime. However, they duly returned the favour with a four of their own to take the match. This morning the pair play Aramoho's Phil Corney and Selwyn Prescott, after they denied Stoke's Peter Hodson and Jimmy Pugh 22-17.

With six of the surviving pairs from the host province, yesterday certainly was a day to savour for Taranaki bowls.

Two of the matches this morning will be all-local affairs.

Roberts and Osborne play an impressive Gary Lilley and John Garrud (West End). It's even closer to home in the other encounter - with Phillips and Anderson drawn to meet regular Alton team mates Mark Anderson and John Roberts. The quartet combined to win the 2006 Taranaki open fours and also won the Taranaki centre fours this season.

West End's Keith Sampson and Craig Johns, whose late father, Bruce, won the national pairs title 30 years ago, are due to meet Blenheim's Lloyd Gallop and Stoke's Gary Watson. Sampson and Johns sneaked into the last 16 with a 14-13 win over clubmates Neville Sole and Glynn Williams.

Elgar and O'Sullivan meet Blockhouse Bay's Laurie Stothard and Henderson's Glenn Stratford.

Taranaki Daily News