After Francos Spring League lost two of the previous week’s four matches to the weather it was thankfully all courts full at Enniskillen Tennis Club this week.
Ken Yang’s Crème Brulees were first on court, still searching for their first win in this year’s league and tonight facing Seamus O’Connell’s Fine Wines. The four mixed doubles were all tight affairs with three matches finishing 7-5 and the bottom match tied 6-6 giving the Crème Brulees a narrow 2 game lead at the break. The Fine Wines immediately closed the gap as Jerome Nicolle and Martin Hamblin fought out a 7-5 win over Fine Wines top men Clive Funston and Alex Knowles. When Brenda Dais and Janet Love broke the mould with an impressive 8-4 win over Sonja Hateboer and Geraldine Millar and fellow Crème Brulees Ken Yang and James Morrison led 5-1 on court three their first win looked like a done deal. However, Fine Wine’s captain Seamus O’Connell, having already recovered from 5-1 down with Jenny Kelly in the mixed, started a Fine Wines fightback recovering to 7-5 with Reggie Ferguson and leaving the Fine Wines 6 games behind with one match to play. However, despite a fine 8-4 win for the on fire Jenny Kelly with sub Roisin O’Connell it was not quite enough as the Crème Brulees held on for a precious 49-47 win.
The night’s second match saw Yvonne Masterson’s undefeated group leaders Francos Specials take on the Michelle McTeague’s second placed Silverhill Ducks. The first match on court one was an intriguing affair as Davy Thompson and Louise McGann drew 6 games apiece with the all action Scott Hubbard and Martina Boyd. However tis was the last point the Ducks were in the running as the Specials hit the boost button to storm into an unassailable 30-18 lead after the mixed. While the Ducks did manage a share of the spoils in the doubles it still left Francos Specials impressive 54-42 winners. Pick of the Specials on the night was undoubtedly Ollie McShea winning both his mixed with Lisa Greaves and his doubles with Davy T 9-3. Additional 17 and 16 game hauls from Yvonne Masterson and Michelle Kennedy made sure that Francos Specials consolidated their strong position at the top of the group.
With only two games separating the top three in Wednesday’s group every game is important in determining which two teams will qualify for the semi-finals. Second placed Private Diners started well with the formidable pairing of captain John Griffin and Vanessa McBrien highly impressive in beating Hugh Maguire and Eilis Bogue8-4. However, a 7-5 win for Pizza Slicers Johnny Guette and Anne Smyth followed by an 8-4 victory for the decisive hitting of Emmett Stewart and Aine King over the much improved pairing of Mark Cousins and Katrina Cathcart put the Slicers ahead by two with the doubles to come. Another Slicers 8-4 win from the big hitting Eilis Bogue partnered by the accurate play of Enid Redmond left the Private Diners struggling but two 7-5 wins , firstly for John Griffin and Ruben Permaul on court one followed on court three by Keith Miller and Mark Cousins got the Diners back to within two games. This left the overall result dependent on the ladies doubles on court four and despite some fine serving from Katrina Cathcart and Anne Mooney the ultra competitive Pizza Slicer pairing of Anne Smyth and Aine King proved too strong, winning 8-4 to give the Slicers an overall 51-45 victory.
Having just seen her two closest rivals fight out a tight battle in the night’s first match, Chilli Monks captain Sheila Colville knew that a clear cut victory over Innes Redmond’s Early Birds would keep her on top of the Wednesday group. She need not have worried as her troops delivered in style dominating throughout to post a massive 59-37 win and in the process tentatively put one foot in the semis. Right from the off the Chilli Monks were too hot for the Early Birds as Dominic Burns and Jenny Humphreys won out 9-3 on court one while top Monks on the night, John O’Callaghan and Hazel Dineen won their mixed on court four 10-2 giving the Chilli Monks an untouchable 10 game lead going into the doubles. While Tony Ringland did put up a brave fight winning both his matches 7-5, firstly with Heather Williams in the mixed and then with Innes in the doubles it was never going to be enough. Indeed the Chilli Monks extended their dominance as both John with Stuart Miller and Hazel with Sheila secured 9-3 wins in the bottom mixed matches to seal a superb night for the Monks.
Standings after Week 4
Monday: 213 Francos Specials; 192 Fine Wines; 190 Silverhill Ducks; 173 Crème Brulees
Wednesday: 208 Chilli Monks; 198 Pizza Slicers; 193 Private Diners; 169 Early Birds