Crunch time!

One week of group matches to go before we get into the playoffs with a summary of team standings below

Sandycove 1 – Class 2 6pts and all to play for this week with playoffs in their own hands

Sandycove 2 – Class 3 4pts and on track to stay safe – A point or 2 required

Sandycove 3 – Class 4 11pts and into the Playoffs

Sandycove 4 – Class 4 3pts – need to find 2 points

Sandycove 5 – Class 5 10pts and into the Playoffs

Sandycove 6 – Class 6 6pts and a big final Weekend needed

Sandycove 7 – Class 7 10pts and into the Playoffs

Our 1st team had a comprehensive home win 3-0 with Colin Grant supporting the cause and subbing in with Ivan while Cormac/Oisin & Steve/Rob delivered strong performances in both their matches overpowering their opponents. Steady progression week by week and with another strong performance this week have every shout at going into the playoffs.

Onto the 2nds (Class 3) who were decimated with cry offs this week with 5 of the 6 team members unavailable and faced Elm Park at home. Paul Fitzgerald and Ken Browne filled in from the 3rds at 2nd doubles while yours truly joined Paul Curran at 1st doubles and the pairing of Tim McNichols/Liam Hurley stood in manfully at three. First doubles lost in a competitive match 4 & 4 while Paul/Ken were beaten in 3 close sets losing serve in a crucial 7th game which proved decisive. The goal of the day was any single point given the decimation of the roster.

It’s fair to say that non one expected what happened next. Having lost the first set 6/2 McNichols & Hurley hung on in there and won the 2nd 6/4 at which point their opponents conceded the match as result of injury. ‘On any given Sunday’ anything is possible and you will never see again two broader smiles coming off court than our Victors. As one wiser than I noted while their opponents retired the lads had to hang in there and win set 2 and to their credit they delivered. One suspects we may hear about this one for quite the while yet.

Our 3rds (class 4) shorn of Messrs Fitzgerald and Browne were away against Blackrock with Dave Murphy, Conor O’Reilly and Denis O’Reilly answering the rallying call of the Club once more and rally they did. Dave played with Sam Hanley at one and lost in two while Philip Craig and Mark Fourie one comprehensively at two and Conor and Denis were immediately at ease with each other (As surnames would suggest) and brought home the winning team point at 3rd doubles which was a great result. With 9 subs required between on the 2nds & 3rd teams the splitting of resources strategy paid off and a big thank you to all the Subs who played.

The 4ths away to a very strong Rathgar were down two players with Joe Cunningham & Fred O Neil joining the team to play at 3rd doubles.

Keith & JP were defeated at one in two sets with a single service game deciding the first set. Ditto for Paul Kilduff & Colin Wardlaw at 2nd doubles again with the one loss of service proving decisive. Down to Joe and Fred and while the lads opened the shoulders early and swung with gay abandon at everything that moved they went down manfully in two sets. 2 points now a must on Sunday and this is within the lads capabilities.

The 5ths under the ever watchful eye of young Frank McCooey with a full side out despatched Ashbrook in 6 short sets at home to march into the Playoffs in the full knowledge that there are tougher and more searching matches ahead. It was noted by both Club Captains that midweek practice matches were being organised in an effort to stay sharp post the win. What is it a young Gary Player once said? “The more I practice the ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,get”. Well played lads and keep it going.

The 6ths again with subs required (Big Thanks to Gary Byrne & Des Noctor both flown in specially) and lost the tightest of tightest matches 2 to 1 with Shane Gill & Des losing 7/5 in the 3rd at 1st doubles and Ian Brady and Stephen O’Brien going down to a similar score while McDowell and Byrne won 2nd doubles again 7/5 in the 3rd. In truth a cracking match overall and nothing was left on court. Everything to play for Sunday.

Sandycove 7ths have the look of a team built to do damage. Happy to report NO fines were issued this week with a full roster and no sets or match losses to report. The lads have a rest this Sunday with rumoured fitness sessions in the offing as they prepare for the round of last 16. There is serious strength in this division with Castleknock, Skerries and 2 Greystones teams looking like very strong contenders. One ball, one point and one match at a time gentlemen! Great work done to date, more to do.

It’s a very rare occurrence that ‘Gold Stars’ are allotted back to back and in truth and in hindsight given some of the performances this week one would have to ask was the committee a wee bit premature in handing said stars out last week.😊 In Hurley & McNichols we have found two recipients who now join the very limited number of players in recent times who have successfully won a league match having navigated the journey from shall we say sea level to the rarefied air that is class 3 and above. Enjoy lads.

Big final groups stages Weekend ahead in particular for the 1st, 2nds 4ths and 6ths. We leave you with the thought that:

“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s what you’re made of. Not the circumstances.”

Your Tennis Captains

John F & Paul