The championships journey continued last night as we moved into ‘Middle Saturday’ rest day with much to think about. Impressive victors included Ken Flanagan & Yvonne Fitzsimons in the LDip, Aideen Sheehan our ladies 3rd seed, Will Fitzgerald the Men’s 2nd seed, Jane Boyle & Jenny McCann in the 8ups.

Ivan Brady (7th seed) looked on top of his game cruising through his match as did Dave Hanley and Frank McCooey in the 8ups. Speaking of clan Hanley a big Bon Voyage from us all to young Luke on his veritable Dick Whittington journey to London. Let’s hope the Cat catches the cream! Also back in action were the high quality pairing of Jim O’Hanlon & Conor O’Reilly who will take some beating in the 8 ups.

Onto some of the tighter games of the evening with Jimmy Morrissey/Aideen Sheehan taking on Peter McCann and Helen Curran. The former took the first set 6/4 with Sheehan playing some fine strokes and Morrissey backing up his impressive partner. A small shift in levels of play with McCann and Curran elevating their play in set two led to a near flawless display which saw them take it 6/1. Reaching heightened levels of play is only one part of the Tennis conundrum, sustaining them is of course the other and while Curran and McCann continued to ask questions Morrissey and Sheehan had to much for them winning the 3rd set 6/2.

A further tight affair featured Ken Regan & Vanessa O’Reilly against the seasoned Ken Browne and partner Natalie Doyle who look one of the form teams in the Lucky dip. O’Reilly and Regan had to have their A game to live with this pair and in truth brought everything to the party with Vanessa’s assured play and Ken’s commitment on show. Browne and Doyle shoulder their fancied status comfortably went onto to win the match 6/3, 6/4 to progress.

Our two tightest matches of the evening took place on the Jimmy Casey court. First up Harry Wall/Aileen Regan (3rd seeds) took on Jocelyn and Sarah Gill in the mixed doubles. An impossible one to call as Gill was the unknown quantity and there were some questions given her lack of time on the courts on her ability to live at this vaulted level. We should have collectively known better as cheered on by the extended Gill clan and supported by her high quality partner, O’Callaghan/Gill simply had too much for their opponents in the first set taking it 6/4 with both equally displaying great defensive and attacking shots. Wall and Regan were curiously seen taking on a lot of liquids during the first set as humid conditions or indeed reasons unknown seemed to negate their normal agility and skill early on. They found their groove in set two as both pairs played out a high quality 2nd set which went the way of the 3rd seeds and fully hydrated they went on the win a terrifically competitive match 6/4 in the 3rd.

Finally, onto our last match of the evening with Keith O’Byrne who had the daunting task of taking on Catalin. O’Byrne was well up to it opening the shoulders from the fist point played pushing Catalin back onto his baseline with great angles, pace and no little speed of foot. Cheered on by family Keith took the first set 6/4 Catalin was in no doubt that he was in a battle. To his credit he tightened up his power game and dramatically dropped the error count to fly through the 2nd set 6/2 with some serious quality on display for the members balcony to relish. O’Byrne continued to stand for defensively but could not cope with what was now weight of shot combined with length and consistency off both sides leading to a patient and impressive three set win for Catalin.

Men’s/ladies Plate competition will commence tomorrow Sunday as we head into quarter finals nights on Monday and Tuesday with some mouth-watering matches to look forward to. To players and spectators alike make sure to keep an eye of the schedule and tomorrows report will include a snippet of the games that await us all for Monday & Tuesday.

As for those of you heading into week 2 of the Championships a thought from the great Wayne Gretzky:

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”