Historic first premier grade victory ace
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.