STIGA Connaught Veterans Tournament Report
Drum Community Centre, Athlone, hosted a very successful Veterans Tournament on Saturday, 25 February. 48 competitors provided thrills, spills and no mean drama during a most enjoyable day, capably administered by Michael Barry and Kariem Sabir. Tommy Caffrey emerged victorious in the Mixed Over 40s and in the Men’s Over 60s events. A dramatic, tense 40s semi-final encounter with Kevin Devaney went to expedite, which Tommy won 6,9,8. He proceeded to defeat Tibor Pofok in the final,8,-9,8,5. Later, he beat Martin Pickles in the final of the 60s. This tremendous double is a testament to the maestro’s enduring skills and competitive instincts. In the Restricted Over 40s, Tibor beat Kevin 3-1 in the final.
Jenny Harrison triumphed over Teresa Devaney in a very strong, well contested Ladies Round Robin. Helena Dennett and Gillian Richardson finished third and fourth. Jenny and Helena travelled over from England, lured by the famed hospitality of past Athlone events. Their attendance greatly enhanced the event.
Kariem Sabir re-established his stranglehold on the Over 50s. Philip Shaw registered a good victory here over Martin Pickles. Also, Jay McAllister performed really well in the 60s event.
The Over 70s saw a potential upset to the old order, but Ted Mahaffy shaded it narrowly on countback from friend and rival Ronnie Drain. The gap at the top appears to narrow. Liam Perris was a little erratic, while Jim Sheehan should benefit from his new bat, next time! The Doubles saw Dunst/Sabir overcome Richardson/Mahaffy in the final.
The irrepressible Michael Cunningham put on a bravura performance through the day. Playing inspired table tennis, he overcame marquee names like Kieran Murphy, Brian Finn and Oliver Adamson. He succumbed to Tibor Pofok in the Over 40s, but only on his scoreline of 8, 7,-7,-10,-4. Absolutely awesome!!
A most convivial dinner was enjoyed afterwards at the Jia Jia Restaurant by twenty tired, happy competitors. TT banter, tactical technical discussion, and hatching plans for further travel continued into the small hours. Athlone, we most certainly will return, especially as Alan Taylor can enjoy a lie-in until 6am!
Finally, the invaluable support of STIGA in running the Veterans Society is greatly appreciated.
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