Masters National Championships 2018

Some wildcard entries featured in some exceptional groups in the Over 40s. Pat McCloughan edged out Robbie Gavin and Mark McAlister in one group, with two matches decided 11-9 in the fifth. The knockout stages saw Rory Scott prevail over Pat, to set up a titanic encounter with Phil Wallace. Rory’s modern defence produced some blistering returns of serve and great variations of spin. However, Phil was in control most of the way in the fifth, winning 11-9. Tibor Pofók beat Brian Devereux in five, -8,-7,3,6,7. In the semi-final, Tibor beat Phil in four, setting up the final with Strong. Daryl maintained his high performance levels to triumph in straight games. Retaining the Harry O’Prey Trophy, it is remarkable that Daryl has lost just three sets in five Masters events all season! Pit bosses in Las Vegas have been warned!

The Ladies event produced several excellent matches, not least Paula’s triumphs over Annemarie 9,10,4, and two fifth set wins over Gillian and Sharon. Drawing on the experience gained in Colleen’s VBL matches, Annemarie won a crucial match against Ger on a score of -7,-9,8,9,5. Also, Ikuko scored a notable win over Sharon. Eventually, Ger, Paula and Annemarie secured the podium placings.

Prevailing in three five set group matches with representatives of the choppers’ fraternity did not assist Dave Pemberton’s quest to retain the Over 50s David Addy Trophy. Those exertions took their toll when facing an on-fire Philip Shaw in the quarter-final. Some electric, all court exchanges between the two left-handers drew gasps from spectators. Winning in four, Philip did not really fire in the semi-final against Pat McCloughan, who had accounted for Kieran Burke earlier. Mark McAlister, having beaten Philip in the group stage, scored a good win against Kevin Mackey in the other half. In the final, Pat beat Mark in a strangely subdued match to emerge as champion.

Tommy Caffrey’s absence opened up the 60s event for several aspirants. Martin Pickles lost narrowly to Kieran Burke in the group stage, and this was a harbinger of things to come. Kieran won a good semi-final match with Philip Shaw, while Martin beat Adamson, Finn and Storey enroute to the final. The final produced a classic forehand spin attack against resolute defiance with long pips. Martin avenged his earlier loss on a scoreline of 9,6,-9,-10,9 in an absorbing match. Later, waxing philosophical, Kieran opined “You really have to look at the  markings on the ball to read the spin coming off those pimples! Shutting your eyes is not an option!”

In the 70s, Martin completed a marvellous double, beating Ollie in the final. Here, Ted made a welcome return to competitive action after recent eye surgery.

Our thanks to the staff at Pobalscoil Iosolde and to the Leinster Branch for all of their assistance in staging the event. Sharon and Dave did a tremendous job as treasurer and tournament referee. Willing cooperation from all who helped set up the hall and umpired when requested helped affairs to progress smoothly. Our good wishes go to members coping with injury or illness at this time.

GOOD LUCK to Teresa, Daryl and all of our participants going to the World Championships in Las Vegas!