Newcastle Tennis Club Juniors were out in force, in every age category, in this, the third year of the Lisburn Junior Open, hosted by Hilden Tennis Club at Lisburn Racquets Club.
The Newcastle Juniors just jumped in and had a go at this tournament. Luke Crawford narrowly missed reaching the final round in his event (U12 Novice) winning three of his four matches, playing some excellent and very close matches. This was his very first competition outside of our home tournament. His sister Molly also played very well in both singles and doubles events (U14 Novice and U14 Main Draw respectively). Her doubles partner Katie Lowry also did herself credit in Singles Under 12 Main Draw, showing real promise and making it through to the seeded section of the draw. Katie’s little sister Niamh came third in the Under 8s Round Robin, in her debut public competition. Aaron McAnulty entered the U18 Novice and the U16 Main Draw. He won the first of his three matches, playing some extremely good tennis.
The Flanigan siblings, Michael, Sinéad, Ciarán and Patrick all entered, all played well and all enjoyed themselves, gaining good experience. Michael won the U18 Novice title in a Newcastle derby against fellow Club member Aaron. Sinéad in particular had a really impressive match, coming back to a tie-break from 2-5 down in the first set, only to lose that set. This did not deter her, and she proceeded to take the second set and then win the Champions tie-break third set. Áine Rice also played her part for the Newcastle team, entering both singles and doubles events and showing consistency in her shots and a really good attitude. Sister and brother Emma and Joseph Roseingrave joined in the fray and played their first tournament as part of the squad. They showed true determination against some very strong opponents, never losing their good humour despite the outcome. Gabriel Corrigan won two of his five matches, facing some very tough competition and having fun throughout.
The great performances from the Newcastle players were, in no small measure, due to the dedicated hard work of Coach Sam Clegg, who works for both Clubs. Under Sam’s guidance over the last year there has been a very noticeable improvement in every age and ability range for the Juniors in the Newcastle Club. Juniors and Coach have braved the winter months and kept training going throughout. Newcastle TC is very thankful to Shimna Integrated College for hosting the youngest classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays in their new Sports Hall, allowing training to continue which would otherwise have had to be suspended due to the inclement conditions.
Coach Sam Clegg was a very gracious host at the Open to all our Newcastle participants, making sure everyone was comfortable and enjoying themselves. While not playing tennis, our Juniors were able to relax, playing Badminton, Squash and Table Tennis between competition matches. There was reasonable weather throughout the week, and it was an excellent experience for everyone concerned. Roll on next year!