Friday night saw the continuation of the Evergreen Leagues. Men’s Evergreens and Ladies B team played at home, Ladies A and C teams played away.
The Newcastle Men’s Evergreen team hosted Cavehill at the Bryansford Road courts, with Eugene McGuigan, Trevor Long, Stephen Brown and John Lowry turning out for the home team. The north Belfast team had journeyed a long way though for little to show for their travels.
Doubles team Long and McGuigan saw off the opposition in straightforward fashion with 6-2, 6-1 victory, while on the other court, Lowry and Brown wasted little more time in delivering a 6-1, 6-3 win. With teams switching for the second half of the fixture, Long and McGuigan seemed to be in a hurry somewhere, delivering another ‘double doughnut’ 6-0, 6-0 scoreline, for which the pairing is now becoming famous and such a feared opposition the length and breadth of Belfast and District Lawn Tennis Leagues Division 4. Not to be outdone (well, only marginally), Brown and Lowry hit the Cavehill men for six with a 6-1, 6-0 win, ensuring a 4-0 victory overall for Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Ladies A team – Hazel Carder, Joan Moore, Liz Brown and Dolores Dornan – travelled to Dromore Leisure centre to play against Downshire C. After a close-fought match, Newcastle came home with a 2-2 draw.
Newcastle Ladies B team stayed at home, hosting Hilden from Lisburn. Kay Speedy, Gabrielle Burns, Rachel Corrigan and Janet Flanigan played for Newcastle. Kay’s and Gabrielle’s first match was very exciting; they lost the first set 6-7 in a tie break, took the second set 6-3, and then won the nail-biting champion tie break 11-9. Their second match produced some great tennis too, and they won 6-1, 6-1. Rachel and Janet didn’t fare so well, losing 6-4, 6-3 in the first match and 6-1, 6-2 in the second, but all four matches were played in a great spirit of camaraderie and fun, with good banter across the net and lots of laughs. A delicious supper and a few good-will speeches later, the teams parted company, agreeing to meet up after the leagues to play friendlies. Thanks to the Hilden Ladies for such a pleasant evening and also for contributing so kindly to the 24hr marathon, both in time on court and money donated.
Ladies C team had a long trip to Ballycastle for their fixture. Captain Danielle Gorman and her crew – Carol Crilly, Mary McConville, and Karen Lockhart – headed off late on Friday afternoon. They had a beautiful evening in Ballycastle and really enjoyed their matches. Mary and Carol paired up and both their matches went to tie-breaks, and they lost one and won the other. Danielle and Karen took a while to warm up, but came back in the second set from 0-4 down winning five games in succession. This was Karen’s first ever League match and she really stepped up her game with some excellent rallies and winning points at the net. Unfortunately, Ballycastle showed their greater experience and won the set 8-6. Overall score was 3-1 to Ballycastle who were great hosts and gave Newcastle some great games.
In the mixed leagues, Newcastle headed for a wet and cold Civil Service club in east Belfast on Monday last in their latest Division 7 fixture. In the opening games, Kay and Ryan Speedy scored a 6-3, 6-1 win, while Jane McIlwrath and Eugene McGuigan lost a tight match 7-5, 1-6, 10-5. Hazel Carder and James Moore won their pairing in another tight match as did Joan Moore and Stephen Brown, leaving Newcastle 3-1 up at the half-way mark. Joan Moore and Stephen Brown secured a draw in their second pairing, while Ryan Speedy and Eugene McGuigan narrowly lost a three-set nail-biter to their Civil Service opposition. With weather conditions worsening, and inadequate floodlights, the final two matches went unplayed; with those points evenly divided, the Newcastle delegation returned home with a 5 ½ – 2 ½ victory to add to their league total.
The only Juniors to play this weekend were Under 14A Boys team. Hosting CIYMS B team from Belfast, the boys took to the courts on Sunday 3rd May (during the only dry patch of the day) in a very relaxed, friendly fashion, and commenced their two doubles matches. Newcastle boys Gabriel Corrigan, Jack Cunningham, Ciaran Flanigan and Joseph Roseingrave came out on top, showing their greater experience by winning both matches fairly comfortably. CIYMS B is a fairly new team and in the process of gaining match experience. It was clear that next year, these boys will pose a greater threat to the Newcastle team, showing some lovely shots, and most of all, the ability to enjoy the game and stay positive even when losing matches. Their good humour and sportsmanship was very commendable. Well done to CIYMS B, and well done to Newcastle, winning 6-0 overall.
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