Evidence last night of ‘cream rising’ to the top across all events. Coveted titles but a few matches away and for some, last night proved a step too far while other flourished.

Speaking of cream, seeds Oisin O’Hanlon, Chloe Giacometti & Sarah Riordan all looked impressive as they cruised into the last 8. Impressive winners who also progress were Sam & Niamh Hughes in the mixed, Steve Gill and Chloe also in the mixed, the returning duo of Ken Browne/Colin Grant who graced the Jimmy Casey Court late into the evening.

Fionnuala Hayes had a fine win against Lisa Morgan with both players executing some impressive shots. The tightest of 1st sets determined the winner here with Hayes taking it 7/5.

Rob Neiland and Paul Curran played out an entertaining and high-quality match on court 3 with Curran testing all Rob’s skills and agility. A fine win for Neiland who was full of praise for Curran post-match. Declan Hynes and Maeve Stapleton gelled early as a new pairing to win their match in some style catapulting them into the last 8 and into week two of the event. Hynes was heard saying that any time you go deep into this event was a time to be savoured.

The 8-up partnership of Paul Kilduff/Peter McCartney defeated young Laurence Endersen /Yours truly in two sets with both Endersen and Burke struggling to deal with McCartney’s lefty outswingers and Kilduff’s accuracy and consistency. McCartney was heard to muse that ‘he was not used to having to play five match points on his way to victory’ which brought some solace but in truth and more importantly a smile to the defeated pair.

Harry Wall had a solid win of Andrew Brown who again impressed and is for sure one to watch for the future. As to Harry as was noted by some of the wise old Owls on the balcony ‘Wall by name and by nature’ as everything comes back across the net. Our Men’s singles this year is simply too hard to call. Onto probably one of the best ball striking matches of the evening on the Jimmy Casey Court as Will Fitzgerald took on the evergreen Colin Grant. Terrific first set with rallies that had power and guile about them with both players feeling out for weaknesses and the younger man struggling at times to cope with the angles and debt of shot from Grant. Game 8 and nine proved decisive as several volley’s went astray off Grants racket and Fitzgerald went onto win the first set 6/4. As the match went on Fitzgerald became stronger and broke his opponents serve to win out 6/3. Sam Hanley awaits him in this evening match up.

Finally, to the surprise package of the tournament so far Mark Fourie who took to court against Jocelyn O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan, having finished his final accountancy exam’s yesterday (Congrats) afternoon both he and the balcony were surprised to see Fourie tear into the match taking an early lead in the first set. As the set grew the realisation set in that O’Callaghan did not have the early answers to deal with the quality of shot and foot work which Fourie delivered. Some were heard to wonder had year’s on South Africa’s Highveld inculcated into Fourie a level of resilience not yet seen so far in the tournament. If a wake-up call was needed then it was on display for all as Fourie brilliantly took the first set 6/2 which to Jocelyn’s credit sparked a focus and quality of ground stroke and match play skill as he took set 2 and 3 and the match.

Some great matches to look forward to this evening as all events march onwards to the QF’s with the bulk of games starting at 6pm & 730pm respectively. As to the week ahead there are only a few (single numbers) tickets left for Saturday the 28th and all those who have ordered tickets through Mandy can pick their pre booked tickets up at the Club house.

Finally, to all players left in the Championship ensure to check daily on the Match schedule as it will continue to update and change as matches are played and most importantly:

‘Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn’.- Harriet Beecher Stow

The buzz goes on!

Your Tournament Committee