The 105th CNZ New Zealand Open Championship took place from 18-25 February 2023 at the Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Plimmerton Clubs.
Play started over the first weekend with two doubles blocks. In Block A, defending champions Paddy Chapman (Thames Valley) and Greg Bryant (Wellington) won all five of their matches, finishing the group stages with 76 net hoops. The runners up were Toby Garrison (Wellington) and Jarrod Coutts (South Canterbury) whose three wins included a triple peel by Garrison to make it through to the knock-out.
In Block B, Edmund Fordyce (Canterbury) and Josh Freeth (Auckland) showed impressive form, winning all five matches with 79 net hoops. Logan McCorkindale (South Canterbury) and Luke Rive (Auckland) won their other four matches to finish second in the log.
The eight non-qualifying pairs went on to compete for the Canterbury Centennial Doubles Plate in two blocks. Dennis Bulloch and Nicholas Flood (Manawatu-Wanganui) topped their block with three wins, including two clutch 18-17 results to make the plate final. John Christie (Thames Valley) and Nelson Morrow (Auckland), however, won their block, and then the Plate Final against Bulloch and Flood 17-10.
In the doubles knock-out semifinals, Fordyce and Freeth continued their unbeaten run for the week, winning both matches in their best of three against Garrison and Coutts. In the other semi, Bryant and Chapman would suffer their first defeat of the week in the first game, 11-17, to McCorkindale and Rive. However, they would rally and win the other two matches to qualify for the final. In the end, the defending champions used their experience and guile to win 26-9, Greg Bryant winning his 6th NZ Open Doubles title, and Paddy Chapman his second.
The singles began on Monday, with 24 players competing across four blocks with the top four of each going through to the last 16 knock-out. Defending champion Paddy Chapman was unstoppable in block A, winning all five games including three triple peels and a quadruple peel along the way. In Block B, Logan McCorkindale would go one better, also winning all five games, all with a triple peel. Peter Filbee (South Taranaki) had four wins and 58 net hoops to top Block C, a block which included two triple peels from last year’s runner-up Greg Bryant, and one from Harps Tahurangi (Wellington). In Block D, Josh Freeth dominated with 5 wins, 105 net hoops and a triple peel.
The bottom two from each block went into the Heenan Plate. Stefan Horrer (Wairarapa) topped the plate block with 6 wins while doubles plate winner John Christie won 5 games and had 35 net hoops to make the final. In the Heenan Plate final, John Christie would prove too strong, winning 26-8 and 26-1 to win his second piece of silverware for the week.
In the Singles Knockout, Brian Bullen (Wellington) and Josh Freeth played impressively to make the semi-finals, with Freeth getting a triple peel in his quarter-final match. There were two players though, who had shone throughout the week and continued to do so, both looking seemingly unbeatable. Chapman beat Bullen in the semi, taking five triple peels and a quadruple peel from his knockout matches into the final. McCorkindale would make history in his semifinal win against Freeth, achieving triple peels in all his singles tournament matches for total of 12 in a row this tournament (and two previously). Brian Bullen won the 3rd place playoff.
Ahead of the singles final, the Bronze Medal final (for players eliminated in the first knockout round) needed to be decided. Harps Tahurangi beat Carey Johnstone (South Taranaki) 26-16 in the deciding 3rd match, to win and finish the week with three triple peels. Carey Johnstone didn’t go home empty handed, winning the Charles Jones Memorial Encouragement Salver.
In the NZ Open Singles final, McCorkindale won the first match of five 26-0 with a triple peel, meaning he now had 15 triple peels in a row, the fourth most of all time. The run would stop at 15, with McCorkindale still playing brilliantly to win the second match 26-1. Paddy Chapman took the third game 26-1, also with a triple peel. However, Logan McCorkindale won the 4th match 26-9 to win his first NZ Open title after being runner-up two years ago.
Logan goes into this year’s AC World Championship in South West London in fine form.