Results and Event Report from the Masters Ulster Open

Please click HERE for the results of the Masters Ulster Open

The well appointed sports hall of Wellington Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, was the venue for this tournament once again. Having withstood a worthy early challenge from Paul Gallagher and Phil Wallace, Daryl Strong beat Tibor Pofók in the final of the Over 40s. It is always difficult to overcome Daryl once he gets into a rhythm, and this is his tenth title in succession!! Free from the burdens of office, Dave Gibbons scored a notable fifth set victory over Phil at the group stage.

In the Ladies event knockout stage, Teresa beat Ger Greene and Annemarie for yet another title. Annemarie had beaten Teresa earlier in the group stages. Paula lost some tight fifth set encounters, and on another day, her results could have easily gone the other way. JingRu Liu made a considerable impact on her debut, losing in the semi-final. Sharon will be pleased to have played well while suffering from a cold.

The Over 50s produced several tight five set matches, especially at semi-final stage. Serving at 8-10 down in the fifth, Kevin Mackey hit two blistering forehand winners to level, and eventually triumph 14-12 over Mark McAlister. Pawel Sulkowski beat Allen Robson 11-9 in the fifth after an absorbing duel with forehand attack against classic defence. The final produced attacking topspin table tennis of a very high order, with no quarter given. Kevin coped with Pawel’s powerful forehand when required, and hit some marvellous wide winners at critical times. Winning a tight second set was key, and Kevin won on a scoreline of 7,9,-9,11. It is noted that Gibbons beat Kevin at the group stages!

A resurgent Norman Nabney won the Over 60s, beating Martin Pickles in the final. Earlier, he had accounted for Pat Bracken and Peter Doherty in the knockout stage. Martin triumphed in the 70s, while Liam Perris was runner up. Really nice to see Ronnie Drain make a welcome appearance here.

Our thanks to Norman McBride and his team for his capable stewardship. The willing response to requests for umpiring was greatly appreciated by all. Our best wishes go to all of our members who are coping with serious illness at this time.