And so to day two of the Championships. I could not be there myself as ‘on a course’ but my trusty assistant Aileen our up and coming junior Journo was on hand to witness some of the Championship heavyweights come out to play and penned some thoughts below.
Storming through to the next rounds went Harry Wall, Keith O’Byrne, Beth’O Hare, Milne & Walsh, Curran and Sam Hanley, Niamh Hughes & Julia Cullen, Dermot Bennet & Sarah White and of course the ever-youthful Rob Neiland with W/O’s going to Rebecca McNally and Helen Hughes/Colette McNichols due to training injuries sustained by their opponents.
Two stand out matches to report on the first of these being the clash of Dave Hanley and Cian O’Higgins. It was rumoured the young O’Higgins had been in training camp most of late July preparing for this year’s event however Hanley as is his wont delivered early and often to take the first set 6/3. This one was always going to be tight and so it proved with O’Higgins breaking serve midway through set two and again in set three to win in three sets. Some quality tennis on display from both players throughout.
Onto the match of the night which paired the Craigs (Philip & Rachel) against Helen Curran the effervescent Rory O’Hagan. Curran and O’Hagan stormed to an easy first set win finding angles, subtlety of touch and some power to take it 6/1. In truth on the changeover there were mummerings on the balcony that this would not take too much longer. How wrong this was as roaring back into the match came the Craigs putting the opponents under pressure and beginning to gel as a duo winning a terrific 2nd set 7/6.
And so, to the decider no quarter given or asked for with some tight calls made on both sides. The expectation was the Curran / O’Hagan pair may not last the pace given O’Hagan’s advancing years however the balcony had not banked on the specialised swim training sessions and the quality of his partner which paid dividends for our eventual winners. Curran and O’Hagan won out 7/5 in what turned out to be a great match played in great spirit.
Highlights for this evening include the match up of Hemeryck/Wall against Begley & O’Byrne, Viv Fitzgerald Vs Lucy Butler, the dynamic Totterdells Vs Halsall and O’Hagan and the Gill boys against Bennett & Walker.
To Quote Billy Jean King – ‘Champions keep playing until they get it right’
To all Members – Watch out for Some news Re ‘Finals day’ later in the day today.
Your Championship Committee