Levi Franks defends U21 GC titles

The Terminator Mallets Under 21 GC Championships were held at Waimarie Hutt Valley CC from 29 March to 2 April, and was the season ending event in the CNZ tournament calendar.

In the doubles draw, six pairs played in one block in a double round robin format. Levi Franks & James Duggan (Canterbury) took an early lead after the first round of matches with four wins, following a crucial 7-3 win over Josh Winter (Canterbury) & Jessica Bullen (Wellington) who had three wins at the halfway stage. Myles Duggan & Patrick Conolly (Canterbury) also sat on three wins on a tight log, with all pairs having won a match and still in with a chance at the doubles title at the end of Day 1.

However, on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning, Levi Franks & James Duggan would go on to win their next four matches to clinch the doubles trophies with a game to spare. This left a lot to play for in the final matches of the day for second place, with two pairs in with a chance. Mikey Lauer (Nelson) & Nathan Bullen (Wellington) lost their game, ultimately coming fourth with five wins across the two days, just behind Callum McKinnon (Wellington) & Luke Francis (Manawatu-Wanganui) on net hoops. On lawn 1, while being livestreamed on the Whakaata Māori YouTube channel, Josh Winter & Jessica Bullen took second place, after beating the champions Levi and James 7-5. Mattie Clarkson (Counties Manukau) and Ethan Gumbrell from Australia finished the doubles with two wins, despite only meeting at the event itself.

Levi became the third player to defend the doubles title after Felix Webby & Christopher Spittal, while James became just the fourth multiple winner of the event with the aforementioned three.

Singles play began on Easter Sunday, with eleven players competing in a double round robin format. The 2022 and 2023 champions, Josh Winter and Levi Franks, were early favourites, each winning six of their first seven matches, both of whose losses came to Mikey Lauer. They led the way after eight rounds at the end of the first day, ahead of Myles Duggan with five wins and four players on four wins.

Livestreaming continued on Monday, with winning doubles partners Levi and James the first to play on the featured lawn. Levi would go on to win that match, along with six more to lead by the end of the day with 13 wins, and a game in hand over 2nd placed Josh Winter on 12 wins. Doubles champion James Duggan sat in third, with Luke Francis in fourth after an impressive Monday. Patrick Conolly and Nathan Bullen also still had an outside chance of winning the title with eight wins each.

On Tuesday, Levi Franks continued his domination of the championship by winning his first four matches of the day to clinch the Singles title with two rounds to go. Josh Winter proved his class and secured second place by beating champion Levi 7-4 in the final game on the livestream. James Duggan also won his final match of the tournament to secure third spot ahead of Luke Francis in fourth.

Levi Franks is the first player to defend both titles and became just the third multiple winner of the U21 Singles after Edmund Fordyce and Josh Freeth. It was an incredible week for Levi, who won both titles with games to spare in a display of ruthless roquets and hoop running.

CNZ would like to thank the tournament manager, volunteers, referees, live stream crew, supporters and the players themselves for ensuring this was an event to remember.

You can watch replays of the streams below:

Doubles Championship Saturday

Singles Championship Monday

Singles Championship Tuesday