Top Trio Ousted as Triples Qualifiers Found at NZ Open

09 Nov 2013

As the final day of qualifying matches at The Trusts New Zealand Open 2013 came to an end today, so did the title dreams of Rob Ashton's composite men's triples.

Despite winning two games, drawing one and squeezing into the post-section competition on a net total of shots, Ashton, Barclay Lee (lead) and Raika Gregory were put out by Mark Hall's Otahuhu Railway team, 15-11, in the extra round played to whittle down the teams to a field of 32.

Mark Hall (skip) is joined by Jerry King and Ron Botica (lead) in post-section play that begins on Tuesday morning.

All three bowlers are well-respected on Kiwi greens and have earned numerous accolades. Ashton holds 27 club and five Centre titles, while Gregory won the men's singles title at the tournament in 2010 and Lee also holds a slew of club and centre titles.

The men were also runners-up in the triples in 2011 and Ashton won silver in last year's singles final.

In the women's triples, multiple national title-holder Anne Bateman's composite side was among the qualifiers who will start post-section play on Wednesday morning. Bateman is joined by Rachel McDowall and the lead she won the 2012 NZ Open Women's Pairs title with, Nancy Jujnovich.

However for Bateman and others, defeating the defending champions, including recent Bowls NZ Hall of Fame inductee Patsy Jorgensen, will be no minor feat.  

With all qualifying matches completed and those players moving on to post-section play decided, tomorrow's singles matches are guaranteed to be heated affairs.

The women's field will see the return of both the defending champion Kirsten Griffin (Victoria) and runner-up Reen Stratford (Birkenhead), who will face 17-year-old Tayla Bruce (Burnside) in the first game tomorrow (round of 32). Bruce represented New Zealand in the under-18 team at this year's Trans-Tasman Test Series and Stratford is a former NZ representative.

Back to defend his own title, Graham Growcott (Blockhouse Bay) will be facing down a number of worthy rivals that include 2011 Singles Champion Neil Fisher (Howick) and runner-up in that final, Monte Pawa (Kaitaia Combined).

Quarterfinalists in the men's and women's singles will be found by the end of the day.

Men's singles post-section matches will be played from 8:30am tomorrow morning at Henderson Bowls in Auckland, and the women's singles will start at 1:30pm at Henderson. The disabled triples qualifying games will also be played tomorrow at Henderson Bowls from 9am.


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