Karaka Tennis has achieved an historic first by qualifying to play in the upcoming Auckland Tennis Caro Bowl.
Since 1919 it has been the top interclub trophy played for in the Tennis Auckland competition. Named after an antique rose bowl that was donated by the family of the late Maurice S. Caro, who was killed in action at the First Battle of Somme in 1916, it is recognised as one of the New Zealand’s more historic and prestigious prizes.
By winning the Caro Bowl Reserve competition on Saturday 8 April with a victorious score of 6-0 over Mission Bay, the team becomes the second South Auckland club to enter this prestigious league.
Led by Nigel Allen, the achievement is literally a dream come true for a plan he put in place.
“After returning to the Karaka club 2012, I decided it would be great to get a bunch of ‘mates’ and guys I grew up with, playing juniors together, with a long-term view of getting Caro Bowl out to Karaka within five years.”
It turned out they achieved the goal in four. "The plan gathered momentum," says Nigel, "when two former top New Zealand Junior players Brad Paterson and Rod Cook joined the crusade. Both had international playing experience so, even though we were advanced in years compared to some of the teams we played against, it meant that we were still competitive.”
Over a three year period they started at the ‘bottom of the top’ by qualifying for, and then winning, Second Grade, then First Grade, which allowed them to enter Caro Bowl Reserve. At that point Jacob Olsen, a former New Zealand junior champion and ATP experienced player, and rated junior and senior player, Anthony Old, joined the team. In addition two of the region’s top rated juniors Tate Fullerton and Jack Guilford joined the campaign.
In their first attempt in 2015/2016 season the team came second. The last season saw Nigel’s aspiration come true. Making the achievement even sweeter out of a possible 104 points the team amassed 91.
Karaka Tennis President, Wayne Kidd, says the result is a positive story that will certainly put the club on the map.
“The Caro Bowl is usually the domain of the big city tennis clubs that compete for one of eight spots. They have impressive membership bases and the financial means to buy in players. For a small club from rural South Auckland entering this domain shows that if you work hard dreams do come true. This ‘can do’ winning attitude, combined with the sponsorship we received from Concretec plus the ‘buy in’ from club supporters, means the 2017/2018 season will be one to remember.”
As far as Nigel and the team are concerned they say ‘bring it on.’
“We’re looking forward to taking on New Zealand’s best. We’ve all been there before and will certainly aim to be a threat in our first season of competition.”
CAPTION: The victorious Karaka Tennis team (from left): Tate Fullerton, Jack Guilford, Jacob Olsen, Nigel Allen, Brad Paterson and Rod Cook.