Defending champs walking tightrope

SOUTH PACIFIC BOWLS CARNIVAL - PAIRS

Defending South Pacific pairs champions Robin Smith and Shane Garvey dodged two bullets to book a spot in tomorrow's quarter-finals at Warilla BC.

They trailed for most of their opening-round knockout clash against Zac Gabrielsen and Brendan Aquilina but scored a final-end 16-15 victory.

Then in the next round Smith and Garvey trailed 12-year-old Jono Davis (Dubbo Railway) and teenage Wiseman Park recruit Jordan Taylor 12-1 before fighting back to win 17-15 in 15 ends.

Garvey and Smith then booked a place in the final eight with a 15-8 win over Warilla's Joel Mulholland and Rod Barrett.

"It was a bit lucky, we hung in there and got through," Garvey said.

"The wind made it tough and we had to fight all day. We just got enough good bowls in the right areas to survive and while it was hard-fought bowls we did enough to win."

In a remarkable second round of 15-end knockout pairs, five of the 16 matches were decided by one shot and another two games by just two shots.

Father and son Steve and Ben Glasson, the 2012 champions, scraped home 17-16 in round two after earlier edging out Dylan Skinner and Chris Green 14-11.

Steve Glasson showed his class in the latter stages after their 11-1 lead had been cut to 12-11.

Among the last-end thrillers in round two, Jon Fitzgerald and Peter Thelan (Dapto Citizens) edged out Towradgi's Dave Wakeling and Wes Falconer 11-10.

Mat McIntyre and Aaron Teys had a one-shot victory, as did Warilla's Mulholland and Barrett, along with Figtree RSL's Ray Smiles and Adam Dunn.

McIntyre and Teys are playing together in pairs for the first time since their junior days and take on Garvey and Smith tomorrow morning for a spot in the semi-finals.

The Glassons meet in a tasty singles quarter-final this morning before teaming up tomorrow against Adam Rodgers and Werner Jones (composite) in a pairs quarter-final.

The other quarter-finals are Brett Pieper and James Webster against Dapto Citizens's Derek Batey and Roy Logan, and Taren Point's Wayne Smith and Jason Watkins against the composite team of Ken Luck and Les Reese.

Skinner's defeat left Garvey as the only player to reach the quarter-finals in singles, pairs and fours.

Last year Garvey became the first player in more than 50 years to qualify for the final of all three disciplines in clinching a record fifth Player of the Carnival.

"Physically I'm in better shape than last year," Garvey said.

"My bowls fitness is better, playing with the Aussie squad, playing on slow greens, has all improved my legs and general fitness.

"You can't predict what's going to happen in the next match, you just have to turn up and put as many bowls in the right areas and hope that's enough."

While Garvey has the inside running to win a sixth Player of the Carnival since 2001, a loss today in his singles quarter-final against Geoff McGillivray - or even the semi-final - or in the fours semi-final against John Green, would leave the door open for several players.

The carnival continues this morning with the singles quarter-finals, followed by the semi-finals, then the fours semi-finals.

In the fours, John Green skips against Garvey, while Brett Pieper and partners take on Chris Green.

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