Week 2 (Sunday 29th) of Winter League saw 3 of 6 Men’s teams notching up victories and all 6 teams are still very much in contention as we go into Round 3 this Sunday. Thanks to those who in – Mark Cunningham, Sam Hanley, Paul Fitzgerald and Keith O’Byrne.

The Easter Cup team started their campaign last Saturday with a tight 2-1 loss to Bray.

The captains write-ups are detailed below.

First Team, Class 2: 2-1 loss to Leopardstown 1
Number 3 Doubles: Once again Rob Neiland and Dave Cooney continued their top class standard. They had to fight hard against 2 excellent juniors from Leopardstown but again showed that experience over youth was a key factor. Both youngsters showed great promise for their future tennis careers.

Number 2 Doubles: Mark Cunningham subbing in alongside Max Vidal were playing for the first time together. They started off very strong and it was neck and neck but Leopardstown pulled away with a break just at the end to win the first set. In the second set Leopardstown had found their groove and proved too strong.

Number 1 Doubles: Ivan Brady and Cormac Jennings were simply outclassed by Rob Shulver and Lazo Kukhalashvilli. Rarely have I ever played against two players who were so dominant in every aspect of the game. We might have been able to win 1 or 2 more games but luck wasn’t on our side. In the end a tough draw against Leopardstown 1st but a vital point earned by Dave and Rob.

Second Team, Class 4: 3-0 win against LCC 2
Second Sunday up was to be yet another away game. This time to the ‘house of cricket, LCC…..Leinster Cricket Club.

They do play tennis too….and bowls, for the advanced aged group.

Googly, Doosra, Jaffa, Perhapser, Lolly, Howzat, Dorothy Dix, & Sticky Wicket are all terms our lead out player at first doubles, SteveO Gill might be familiar with, but today was all about tennis, and the determination to collect more points on the road.

Our opponents were rumoured to be not too strong, by those with time for stats, but home advantage for them and tricky blustery conditions on a nippy morning were to be the test.

JOC at third doubles was not available for this one, but in step Sam Hanley, soon to be off to Australia for a few years, and thus a huge honour we could grab him for one last swan song on the savanna.

Friday match practise two nights prior to this contest seemed to galvanise and sharpen the team, with comfortable victories for all three couples. Stephen & Brian O’Gorman 6-1 6-0, Colin Grant & Robbie K 6-0 6-0, Mark Fourie & Sam 6-3 6-4.

Third Team, Class 4: 2-1 loss to Greystones 3
We were away to Greystones for match 2, nice morning, high expectations for another win.

Pairings one of Paul Curran & Alex Wardlaw and three of Philip Craig and Paul Fitz both went down in straight sets. Although the sets were all tight, we could have and should have done a lot better.

It was left to the old fellas, Ken and Roy, to try and salvage a point. They lost the first set, they battled back to take the second set. There were plenty of long rallies and our experience was giving us the upper hand. Thankfully, they finished off the match, before they were asked to give up the court, by members who had the court booked at 12.45pm. Well done Ken & Roy on delivering a much needed point.

Fourth Team, Class 5: 3-0 win against Greystones 4
This was a must win game our 4th team and they did not disappoint.

First pairing of Captain Steve Tilson and Alan Casey delivered by winning a tight 3 setter, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. This pair are gelling nicely with bigger games ahead…

The Pauls, Kilduff and Ivory, had a tidy victory 3&2 at No.2 doubles.

At 3rd doubles David Murphy and super sub Keith O’Byrne had a comfortable 2&4 win.

The 4th team are one of 4 teams occupying top spot on 4 points with Terenure 3 next up away.

Fifth team, Class 5: 2-1 loss to Claremont Railway 3
Another week of long three setters at home for all three pairings. 1st pairing McCooey and Wardlaw were off court first delivering a hard fought point. Our 3rd McDowell and Big lad Boucher battled hard against two seasoned players and got pipped in the 3rd. Down to the 2nd pairing Warren and Eaton…grabbed the first set against two youngsters, second set was tit for tat 6-5 for the home team Eaton serving for the match…we were bumping fists after the opposition put it in the net…we made it…oops piped up the other youngster, “what about the ball on the court??? ” I will not go on but a sporting decision led to a point replay and loss of the second set. After 2.5 hrs battling the youngster won the 3rd…a bitter pill was swallowed shipping a 2-1 loss at home.

Sixth Team, Class 5: 2-1 win against Brookfield 3
Tom O’Higgins & Andrew Browne once again got off to a ropey start, losing the opening set 6-4. After a quick tactics meeting in the clubhouse before the 2nd set, they flew out of the traps to take the set 6-1. It looked like they’d kick on and coast to the win, but a drop in concentration had them dragged into a scrappy battle and they lost out in the third 8-6 in the tiebreak.

Harnessing a Positive Mindset, Cian O’Higgins & Paddy Dempsey put in a Super Duper performance winning in straight sets 3&2. Cian’s cunning(ham) serves and Paddy’s python like prowess at the net led to an awesome display of Fun tennis lasting a little over an hour. Early point on the board!

Steve Mc and Dermo were down on Court 6 in a tight first set. Tight points and tight for space, a few slice serves into the side wall helped to rattle their opponents and take the first set in a tiebreak. They stayed strong in the second set and a huge service winner from Dermot closed out the match 6-3 giving the 6s a 2-1 victory & top spot in the pool G having beaten the two of the other teams on 4 points.

Easter Cup: 2-1 loss to Bray
Sandycove’s 2023 Easter Cup campaign got underway away to Bray last Saturday. For some members on our team it was their first ever start in an Easter Cup competition so there was a lot of anticipation before the match. Unfortunately, despite our practise sessions the week before, it was a slow start for us. Fred O’Neill and Paul McMillan went down 6-1, 6-3 to a strong Bray doubles pair. Andrew Sherry and Paul Sinnott also came up short 6-4, 6-3 in a closely contested affair. It was left to our battle hardened warriors Tony Collison and Peter McCann to log up an excellent 6-2, 6-2 win which gave us a very valuable away point. This might prove very important at the later stages of the competition. Next week we meet Blackrock at home….onwards and upwards!

Still early days and with all teams still in the hunt for the play-off spots Week 3 will be key for all. Good luck to both our Winter League and Easter Cup playing this weekend.