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2023 Caro Bowl – Week 6 Review

Next Gen Does the Double Again

The 2023 Caro Bowl finals served up some exciting tennis last Friday night in perfect playing conditions.  The Men’s Final between Next Gen and Karaka was played at Karaka in front of a large crowd while the Women’s Final between Next Gen and Parnell was held at Next Gen with over 200 spectators in attendance.

Next Gen supporters who made the trip to Karaka in rush hour traffic were well rewarded on the night by some quality men’s tennis and an exciting contest.   Unfortunately for Karaka, they were forced to play without Ajeet Rai who was competing in Australia, but despite his absence Karaka put up a great fight against defending champions Next Gen.  The two opening doubles were split with NG’s James Watt and Rob Reynolds beating world 79 Ben McLachlan and Kai Milburn in the top doubles.   Seb Lavie and Dan Milburn beat an injured Finn Tearney and Connor Williamson in the bottom doubles to level tie going into the singles matches.

First on court was Kai Milburn who defeated Williamson comfortably to give Karaka its second point, but the lead was short-lived when Rob Reynolds outplayed Seb Lavie.  Tied at 2-2, James Watt used his big serve to go up a set and 3-2 before Ben McLachlan retired.  Because Next Gen had established an unassailable lead on sets, the last match between Farsky and Milburn was not completed.  Next Gen were crowned champions for the second straight year and have won the competition five times in the last eight years.

Next Gen also reigned supreme in the 2023 Caro Bowl Women’s Final against Parnell in a repeat of last year’s final.  Next Gen got off to a sluggish start losing both doubles matches.  The evergreen Pavlina Nola and Emily Fanning beat Jade Lewis and Stella Cliffe in the top doubles while Sarah Wardenburg and Megan Rogers downed Laura Isbey and Tabitha Porter.  After establishing a 2-0 lead, Parnell struggled in the singles in a repeat of their previous encounter in the round robin.  Jade Lewis was rolling Emily Fanning 6-3, 2-1 before the hand went out and Fanning retired with injury.  Porter made short work of Luci Barlow on Centre Court to level the tie and Isbey gave Next Gen a 3-2 lead when she recovered from losing the first set to beat Megan Rogers in three.  In the final singles, Sarah Wardenburg beat long-time rival Stella Cliffe to tie the contest at 3-3.  With contests and sets won tied, the winner was decided by a countback on games.  Next Gen stacked up 66 versus only 48 by Parnell so for the second year in a row Next Gen won the Women’s Caro Bowl competition.

Congratulations to Next Gen for a super season in NZ’s premier competition.  Thanks to all clubs, players, managers, sponsors and fans for turning out again this year.  Finally, a big thank you to the referees, umpires and ballkids on finals night.

Full draws and venues are available in the Caro Bowl section at