Newcastle Tennis Club match reports – May 2016
Monday 16th May and the Mixed League B team converged from several different directions on Donaghadee for this week’s fixture. In its beautiful coastal setting, the views surrounding Donaghadee Tennis Club are very special. The weather was extremely calm and mild, absolutely perfect for tennis. With eight matches to play but only three courts, one team had a chance to spectate as the first three matches got underway. Team Captain Joan Moore played alongside Trevor Long, and a very competitive match ensued, not without injury, as Trevor narrowly missed breaking his nose when his racquet collided with his face in a mistimed shot. After a brief pause in proceedings, Joan and Trevor went on to take the match in a tough third set tie-break.
Meanwhile on another court, Terry O’Reilly played like a man inspired, ably assisted by Lauren McAtamney who also clearly had had her Weetabix that day, and they won comfortably 6-4, 6-3. Enormously lengthy rallies were conducted by husband and wife team Dolores and Paddy Dornan in their first match, and though they battled hard, they succumbed in a second set tie break in the end and came off for a welcome break. At the end of the first three matches, Newcastle was leading 2-1. Michael Doherty and Rachel Corrigan stepped out next, and despite leading quite comfortably in the first set, their opponents settled down and fought back hard enough to win the first set 6-4. Still determined, Newcastle played on and fought well, but despite some very consistently powerful returns of serve on Michael’s part, and a few really exciting rallies, it wasn’t to be for the visiting side, and suddenly it was 2-2, and still everything to play for. Paddy Dornan and Trevor Long paired for their Men’s match, and though every game was competitive, Donaghadee finally won it.
Rachel and Lauren teamed up for their Ladies doubles, and shot into the lead, taking the first set 6-0. The second set was not as straight forward, but they still came out on top, winning 6-0, 6-4 in the end. Dolores and Joan also won their ladies easily 6-1, 6-1, which put Newcastle in the lead 4-3. All eyes on the last match, and although Terry and Michael and their Donaghadee hosts entertained the other players with some magnificent tennis, Donaghdee proved stronger, and the whole fixture resulted in a very fair tie at 4 all. Without doubt, the supper provided by Donaghadee has so far been the outright winner in terms of variety of homemade food, carefully prepared and artistically presented. Note to self, must buy tablecloth, serviettes, matching crockery, cookery book….
On Tuesday the Mixed League A team ought to have played away at Coleraine, but this match has been postponed to a later date. The Ladies Evergreen A team were also supposed to be play this week, but this was also postponed at the last minute. All the other Evergreen teams were on a break this week.
On Saturday the U14 Girls’ teams were both at home, the A team playing first in glorious sunny weather. Captain Molly Crawford, Sinead Flanigan, Aine Rice and Ellen Gorman got together for their last fixture, having been expertly guided through the whole season by their very dedicated Match Secretary Julieann Crawford. They were hosting the girls from ATT in Ballymena. Play began, and it was a mixed bag from the beginning, with Molly and Sinead being overpowered in all their matches, but Aine and Ellen winning all of theirs. So at three matches each, the games count came down in favour of Newcastle, at 37-29. This was a lovely friendly fixture, and for the Newcastle girls it was especially sweet to win on their last match on the home ground. The girls have performed really well this season, and are excellent ambassadors for the Club, being always honest with their line calls on court, and always friendly to their opponents, home or away.
Next up it was the turn of the U14B girls, and at 2pm Captain Anna Torrens, Anna Shiel, Rosie Torney and Katherine Kennedy welcomed their visitors from Lurgan. It was a similar situation for them too, with both teams winning three matches each. Unfortunately, this time the games count favoured the visiting side and Lurgan took the fixture 37-29. However, this new team has much to be proud of, several of its members having made a very creditable debut for their Club. Having gained great confidence, match experience and fun this time round, they can only go from strength to strength next year. They also displayed excellent behaviour on and off the court at all times. The Club is very proud of them, as is Coach Sam Clegg, who organised all their fixtures this season, thanks go to him too. The Club is also grateful to all the parents who give up time to host the visiting teams, and to drive our teams to their away fixtures. The Leagues simply would not function without this consistent support.
Meanwhile Michael Flanigan, Ciaran Flanigan, Fintan Hayes and captain Gabriel Corrigan went off to Portadown to their penultimate U18A team fixture. They had almost completed the first round of matches when the heavens opened and they got drenched. All eight boys, being very hardy, just played on through the rain until it cleared, came in for a quick break and then settled in for their second matches. At the half way point the Newcastle side were comfortably out in front. The skies threatened once more, and another downpour nearly halted proceedings once again. However, one of the spectators from the Portadown side reassured the teams that this “was only a drying-up shower”, and the rain would pass off in a moment or two. This statement caused much amusement: only in this land could there be a shower to dry you up. But she was proven to be correct, for a few moments later, the breeze picked up and the clouds parted to allow some warm sunshine to cheer everyone up. Play carried on, all in Newcastle’s favour, and the boys turned for home with a more than respectable score of 46-20. Only one more team to play, these boys will welcome Ballycastle to their doors next week.
Sunday brought sunshine and showers in equal measure and the Newcastle Junior boys were out early both at home and away. At home, the U14A team was up against the very strong side St. Patrick’s Racquets from Newtownards. Captain Ciaran Flanigan, Luke Crawford, Giacomo Ballocchi and Daniel Shiel were all playing well, and tie-breaks were crucial in three of the matches. Giacomo and Daniel won their doubles, and Daniel also won his singles. Luke and Ciaran each had really close singles matches, both losing 5-6. Some terrific tennis was on display from both sides, and the visitors took more games than Newcastle, winning 37-29. This is the first time this team has played in this division, and it started at the bottom, so it will be interesting to see where it ends up after the last match next weekend.
The U18B team travelled to Ballymena for its final fixture. Captain Aaron McAnulty, Joseph Roseingrave, Fintan Hayes and Conaill Burns fought consistently and well, and were rewarded with the success they deserved. They each won their singles matches, and together they won their doubles too, taking 43 of the available 66 points in a decisive manner. VERY hungry on the way home, they stopped in Belfast for some much needed lunch which seemed to perk them up, and fuelled a heated political debate (with much google-ing for facts )in the back of the car. This dissolved into a can-you-name-the-top-20-male-tennis-players competition which lasted all the way to Newcastle. Very happy, the boys went straight to their usual Sunday training session. This team has now completed its match season and waits to hear where it comes in its division. With some decent performances, it ought to have done well. Only four more Boys’ matches to go, and their match secretary will heave a huge sigh of relief that all 24 fixtures (bar one) will have been played.
Meanwhile the Senior Mixed League A and B teams, and all five Evergreen teams keep playing on into the middle of June, with a short break before the Summer Leagues begin. More on these teams next week.