2016 Masters National Championships: Report

A quality entry of 53 competitors contributed to an enjoyable day of TT commitment, angst, distraction, disappointment and considerable skill at the Masters National Championships at Dundrum TTC.

Proceedings were enhanced with a social visit from the Brothers Greene, rekindling memories of great Glenalbyn days of yore!! A plethora of wildcard entrants, coupled with some disappointing no­shows, delivered a skewed knockout draw in the Over 40s. After several close encounters in earlier rounds, the final could not but be a close affair.

Daryl Strong produced a controlled tactical plan to go 2­-1 up in games, and seemed to be well in control in the fourth. Rory Scott called a time­out at 4­-7, regathered his composure, and with a surprising level of aggression, he won that game to set up the decider. Again, Daryl reached a commanding position, leading comfortably, three points from victory. A combination of nerve and a spirit of nothing to lose saw Rory recover to a position of 9­-10, whereupon Daryl called a time­out. On the next point, Daryl engineered the winner with some deft but aggressive placements, capturing the Harry O’Prey Trophy at his first attempt. An excellent final was thoroughly appreciated by the spectators. 

Marius Berende and Brian McRandal can be pleased with their performances here.

The ladies were determined to put on a fine display, and did they ever deliver! Beginning in early afternoon, their round robin produced several quality encounters. In the standout match, Sharon just had the edge to beat Gillian 17­-15 in a gripping fifth game. When all the glitter had settled, Teresa had emerged victorious with the McKee Trophy, while Anne Marie finished as the worthy runner up.

Concluding after 7pm, exhausted but happy contestants were left to reflect on a good day’s play. Nobody dared to suggest a little retail therapy at Harvey Nichols nearby!

Pat McCloughan put in a resolute performance to win the David Addy Trophy for the Over 50 event at the first time of asking. Norman Nabney put in a remarkable effort just to reach the final here. Keld Jaksland simply ran out of match­point saving strokes eventually. 0.973, 0.96, 0.935 were the fine margins which decided the outcome of one closely contested 60s preliminary group in favour of Liam Perris… (there has to be a song in there somewhere.)

It was marvellous to see Ted Mahaffy and Des Ryan Senior competing in the Over 70s event. Sadly, late withdrawals disrupted proceedings here. However the trend for the season prevailed in both 60 and 70 domains. Maestro Tommy Caffrey beat Martin Pickles in both ​finals. After a recent triumphant performance for the Belfast League team, a bemused Pickles was nonplussed after his matches with Il Serenissimo!! “ It was just like playing against the wall; he kept on getting everything back.” Which, of course, is where Tommy started way, way back when…

During the 60s final, the proprietor was concerned when matters reached 8-­8 in a dogged, dour opening game. Looking at his watch, he opined that the hall would be closed before the second match between the pair could be completed. To assuage his anxiety, the referee suggested that the second match could be postponed until the next tournament in Galway, if needed. Preparations were made for expedite. Of course, to great relief, thereafter both matches seemed to whizz by!

Alan Lyons, Michael Ussher and Ken Peare were the winners of the consolation events.

Our thanks to Roman and PingZone for hosting the tournament! Most competitors expressed satisfaction with the equipment and the refreshments. Sharon, Dave, Denis and so many willing umpires enabled most things to run smoothly, and to a conclusion. Sadly, doubles did not come on stream!

Our best wishes to all of our members heading to Alicante for the Veterans World Championships, with a special mention for Des Ryan, pére et fils!!

Now, if intrepid Ulster folk could be prevailed upon to follow travel instructions reasonably, they could avoid seeing Hollywood en route to Stillorgan…