Last week saw the members of the Enniskillen Tennis Club enjoy their Annual Closed Tournament, albeit under strict Covid guidelines.

This year, the tournament, was kindly, sponsored by Lakeland Veterinary Services with a large number of new members playing in their first closed. The week was a fantastic success seeing new names on trophies, under the guidance of tournament director Sonja Hateboer, who did the job to perfection!

The weather and courts were in perfect order for a week full of lovely tennis!

The A/B mixed is always a popular section and this year six games had to battle it out over three sets to get to their next stage. On finals day, club coach Matthew McGann, partnered with the up and coming left-hander, Carol McKeown had to play three sets against Emily Donaldson and Ollie McShea to become champions.

In the A/B, Mens doubles, Brendan Duffy and Matthew had to overcome Clive Funston and Charlie Hutchings in the semis winning the third set tie break 10-5 to reach finals day. Their opponents were Christian Kunze and Andris Stebers, who had beaten Donal Burns and Rory Houston in their semi-final game, the previous night. Brendan and Matthew emerged winners in two sets.

In the A/B ladies doubles event which is always highly competitive saw Leslie Campbell and Sonja Hateboer overcome Jenny Humphreys and new comer Anne- Marie Rice in three sets, while Martina Boyd and Carol McKeown had beaten the young duo Hannah Davis and Emily Donaldson in their semi-final game.

On finals day Sonja and Leslie took the first set on a tie break, but Carol’s fabulous forehand top spin and Martina’s net play set up a final tie break. All four were up for the challenge but it was Carol and Martina who held their nerve to win the tie break 10-7.

In the A/B Men’s singles, Matthew was in dominant form and won the treble, beating Clive Funston in the final.

In the A/B ladies singles, Orla Malone beat Ciara Griffin in the semis and Sonja Hateboer knocked out Leonie Madigan in the semis to reach the finals. The battle was on with Orla’s forehand top spin strokes and Sonja’s single-handed backhand shots. It was a fabulous contest between the two ladies with Orla winning the title.

This year’s largest entry was in the ever-popular C/D Mens Singles.

Alex Knowles had to beat Andris Stebers in three sets in the semis and Matt Dillon had to beat Stephen Kettyles in the semis to gain their final spot on Saturday.

Alex, who is becoming a challenge on the internal singles ladder, emerged the winner over Matt in a nail biting final.

In the C/D Mens doubles, held in a round robin style the partners were Matt Dillon and Niall Dolan, Reggie Ferguson and Peter Neill, Johnny Guette and Colin Wike and Mark Cousins and Roy Leary. Johnny and Colin were the eventual winners.

In the C/D Womens doubles again held in a round robin style in a very tight contest. Ruth Elliott and Yulia Hamilton, who is playing outstanding were the winners in three sets beating the happy couple of Maria Burns and Anne Mooney.

The C/D mixed doubles event with 10 pairings vying for the title was the most popular. Peter Beckett and Zoe Crawford had a very tough semi against Stephen Kettyles and Yulia Hamilton. They won on the tie-break 12-10 to reach Saturday finals. The other semi was newcomer Niall Dolan with the experienced Maxine Leary against her hubby Roy and Madeline Casey who became the winners.

The contest on Saturday was a brilliant contest. Peter and Zoe took the first set and Roy and Madeline had to dig deep to win the second. On the third set tie break it was eventually won by Roy and Madeline in an enjoyable atmosphere. The final prize of the week went to Leslie Campbell who took the C/D ladies singles title. Her forehand top spin proved to be a winner over the entertaining Anne Mooney.

On behalf of the club, Mark Cousins was delighted to be able to thank the generous sponsorship of Lakeland Veterinary Services, contributing hugely to one of the most successful tournaments in the clubs recent past. Mark also thanked Sonja Hateboer for a fantastic job as tournament director. He also thanked our club chairperson Maxine for all her hard work and all participants for observing the social distancing rules throughout the week.

The club is delighted to see many new members joining and with clear social distancing, track and trace guidelines, provided by Ulster Tennis, in accordance with latest NHS and Government guidelines, the club members are looking forward to the start of the Autumn league this week.

The popular junior club nights have also commenced this week and it is so encouraging to see strong interest already registered.