Match Reports – Week 2 – Men’s Summer League.

Well done to all the teams last weekend best of luck with the matches this weekend.

1st Team – Home Vs Castleknock

Class 1 summer league tennis made its return to Sandycove Tennis Club last Friday as the 1st team hosted Castleknock on a stunning spring evening. The team were greeted by a sea of local support but unfortunately the fixture went the way of a young, spirited Castleknock side with a 4-1 scoreline.

At 1st singles, Oisin put up a valiant effort on the Jimmy Casey court against Castleknock’s top talent, although ultimately falling short. Rob Neiland came strong out of the gates against another top junior, although some big returns and rock solid groundstrokes from his opponent rounded off a tight first set, before galloping off to claim the second in a 6-4 6-0 loss for Sandycove. The final singles match of Louis Hemeryck was a similar affair, with some strong hitting and long rallies meeting a firm wall of resistance and doing little to meaningfully trouble his opponent in a 6-1 6-2 loss.

The dynamic 2nd doubles pairing of Ivan Brady and Cormac Jennings once again proved their worth, with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory complimenting their thrilling win last week to maintain their unbeaten record in this campaign.

At first doubles we were treated to classic, with Robbie Kiernan and Dave Cooney reeling back the years with a stellar doubles performance. Unfortunately, it was not to be on the day, as a resilient Castleknock performance in the 3rd set rounded off their team victory in a 7-6 6-7 6-2 triumph.

Next Match – Home Vs David Lloyd – Fri 20th May 7.30

2nd Team Away Vs Charleville

Following on from the week before, Colin was given to the last minute to prove fitness, the greats do get preferential treatment as their presence in leading the charge is invaluable. Unfortunately he was to stay on ice for this one. In step versatile Paul Curran.

Another gorgeous Friday summer’s evening set the stage for the 7.30 kick off, this time with the addition of background music bellowing from the adjoining Bernard Shaw Pub, revellers soaking up the sun and pints on the canal as we entered the grounds.

‘Momentum’ is a hot buzzword being thrown around of late, by those who have been there, and done that. Our star player thus far, Mark Cunningham, knows all about it. Strutting confidence he took to court in 3rd singles against a seasoned player who’s nickname surely is not far from ‘Brick Wall’. Mark showed fantastic patience in dispatching the Bricky, 6-4 6-4 , a match which lasted the same length of time as the three setter on the court next door.

That three setter was Sam Hanley & Mark Fourie in 2nd doubles. Having tweaked approach to tactics, optimism was high, but after losing the first set, temptation was higher, to pick up a pint and laze by the canal. A quick fact check noted was the team that win the first set usually don’t play as well in the second. Spot on, as the second was clawed back with some strong net play, but ultimately the opponents came back stronger for a 6-3 2-6 6-1 win.

Up against yet another club 1st team this week, the opposition were strong. The positives were a full strength ‘as selected’ line up for our singles players, familiarity and the trenches will no doubt bring reward later in the campaign. Both JOC and Harry were competitive & close. 7-5 6-4 and 6-4 6-4 down. Super sub Paul Curran & Brian O’Gorman just not having the time to gel at first doubles with 6-2 6-3 to Charleville.

Next Match – Home Vs Clontarf – Sat 21st May, 14:00

3rd Team – Home Vs Greystones

In what could be an extremely tight section Sandycove welcomed Greystones on a fantastic Sat afternoon. Luckily the welcome didn’t extend to any leniency in the tennis and the singles went the way of Sandycove with great performances by Paul Curran, Keith O’Byrne and super sub Dave Murphy. All opponents were dispatched in straight sets, just in time to see the Leinster match.

The doubles pairing of Paul Kilduff & Philip Craig come up against the Greystones club coach who used his experience to gain a very tight two set win. The Gill partnership at No 2 doubles are coming into form and finished off a great 4-1 win with ease.

Next Match – Away Vs Shankill – Sat 21st May, 14:00

4th Team Away Vs Portmarnock

After what seemed like an expedition, Sandycove 4s had an hugely important 3-2 win away to Portmarnock. It took a few games to get the legs stretched sufficiently to show the true class of this team and most first sets were extremely close. JP won again at first singles in straight sets after a first set tiebreak. Andrew Browne lost in two very tight sets, and Caoimhin Cronin subbed up from the 5ths with a brilliant 6-2 6-0 win. Caoimhin decided that the win didn’t tax him enough physically so headed for the gym for a quick workout while the rest of the team toiled in the heat.

In the doubles, Dave Hanley & Iain Walker were beaten in 3 sets while super subs Paul Fitzgerald & Paul Ivory won 7-5 6-1.

Next Match – Home Vs Wicklow – Sat 21st May, 16:00

5th Team Home Vs Castleknock

The 5ths had a somewhat nervy 3-2 win over Castleknock 8ths. Alex Wardlaw stepped up to 1st singles and had a strong 6-2, 6-1 victory. Colin Wardlaw kindly moved up to play 2nd singles against a classic league player and unfortunately came unstuck, losing 6-7, 0-6. We’ll come back to 3rd singles in a moment. At 1st doubles, captain fantastic Des Noctor and Greg McDowell had a crisp 6-1, 6-0 victory and at 2nd doubles super sub Gary Byrne and Dermot Bennett saw off an experienced pairing to secure an important 7-6, 6-0 win.

Now back to 3rd singles where our very own Joe Wickes aka Pat Leamy subbed in to remind us of what living a healthy life can result in…Having lost the first set 4-6, Pat was now fully warmed up and won the second 6-4 and at 5-3 up in the 3rd it was looking good for Pat only for his opponent to find another gear to ultimately come out on top 7-5. Hard luck Pat but well done on a super performance!

Next Match – Away Vs Monkstown – Sat 21st May, 14:00

6th Team Away Vs Fitzwilliam

After the exciting win in round 1, it was always going to be a difficult task for our 6th team to take on the 5th team of a club the size and quality of Fitzwilliam. However, with 5 of our squad of 8 unavailable taking on a full strength Fitz team, the task became impossible.

The main captain’s message is to thank Liam Hurley, Paul Sinnott, Tony Collison and Tim Eaton for putting up their hands so quickly to help us in difficult circumstances (the roar from the Aviva down the road was audible throughout the matches). It was only when we got to Fitzwilliam that we realised that Tim had actually put up his left hand as his tennis arm is not operational yet, and the clean winner he hit when swapping hands “for one shot only”, showed what might have been in his doubles match with Jim O’Hanlon.

The Baileys got closest to their opponents, losing 7 5 6 1 in a high quality No 1 doubles. The rest of us were put on clay and all our subs battled manfully on an unfamiliar surface, where the scores belied the closeness of many of the rallies. Indeed Liam Hurley (returning to singles after a long absence) said he would have got much closer if he had realised earlier in the match that the trams were out in singles!

Next Match – Away Vs Leixlip – Fri 13th May, 19:30