His­toric first pre­mier grade vic­tory ace

Papakura Courier - - SPORT - ALAN APTED

Karaka is bub­bling con­fi­dence head­ing into their Caro Bowl ten­nis match away against Herne Bay this Sun­day.

That they’ve never played at Herne Bay at this level be­fore won’t be los­ing too much sleep over for cap­tain Nigel Allen and his play­ers Dayne Kelly, Mav­er­ick Banes, Se­bas­tian Lavie and Rod Cook.

Their 4-2 dis­patch­ing last Sun­day of Cockle Bay, last sea­son’s beaten fi­nal­ists, in front of an ap­pre­cia­tive home crowd is the rea­son they’re up­beat and look­ing for­ward to their third ap­pear­ance in Ten­nis Auck­land’s pre­mier in­ter-club com­pe­ti­tion.

Yet Allen re­mains wary of Herne Bay, a team op­po­nents un­der­es­ti­mate at their own peril.

‘‘Herne Bay are un­pre­dictable and have a solid team. They’re ca­pa­ble of beat­ing any­one on their day. Hope­fully we can come up with another work­man-like ef­fort like we pro­duced against Cockle Bay and bring home another win. There’s plenty of in­cen­tive. We can qual­ify for semi-fi­nals if we win this.’’

There were many heroes in Karaka’s his­toric first home win in the Caro Bowl.

Kelly, Banes and Cook both dom­i­nated their sin­gles matches be­fore Kelly and Banes com­bined to win their dou­bles game. All wins were in straight sets.

But it was a los­ing Lavie who won the heart and ap­plause of the home fans.

He was in­volved in two epic matches. The two-and-a-half-hour 6-7, 7-6, 5-7 score­line tells the story of his sin­gles against Roy Reynolds, while the 6-7, 6-7 dou­bles loss with Cook, shows how closely fought that match was.

‘‘There wouldn’t have been a bet­ter match to watch last week­end. Both play­ers stood toe-to-toe re­fus­ing to lie down. They had some amaz­ing ral­lies. Some lasted be­tween 18 and 30 shots.

‘‘The score­lines couldn’t have been any closer. Th­ese boys backed it up af­ter the dou­bles so were on court over four hours 45 min­utes straight.’’

Lavie is a coach who hits with pro­fes­sion­als. Reynolds will turn pro­fes­sional af­ter the Caro Bowl.

Allen says the ex­pe­ri­ence sug­gests there is a han­ker­ing for top-level ten­nis in the area with more than 100 peo­ple at the tie.

‘‘We had an awe­some crowd, very loud and sup­port­ive to all play­ers. Even the Cockle Bay man­ager was im­pressed to see such great club sup­port.’’

The match at Herne Bay starts at 2pm on Novem­ber 12.

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