The West of Ulster Championships generously sponsored by Blakes of the Hollow held at Enniskillen Lawn Tennis Club kicked off on Monday night. Players from near and far are travelling to compete.

As usual the Fermanagh weather made an early impression with heavy showers flooding the courts and postponing play for a while. However once the courts were playable the competition started in earnest.

Right from the start there have been hard fought battles starting with Enniskillen’s own chairperson, Maxine Leary and her partner Andy Elliott. They beat Stephen Beaumont and Catherine Taggart (both Irvinestown) in a tight match finishing 6-4, 1-6, 10-8! Even as that match was playing out another match on the court beside them developed into a nail biter as Enniskillen duo Matt Dillon and Paul Carron battled it out until Matt came out victorious 7-5, 3-6, 11-9!

The high intensity continued as another four matches on the first night went to very close tie-breaks. Davy Thompson and Vanessa McBrien started their tournament in style against the Omagh pairing of Geoff and Veronica Hawkes 3-6, 6-3, 10-6, Tony Ringland and Catherine Sloan took out their club mates Niall McGandy and Liz McGuinness 2-6, 6-2, 10-8. Then Donal Burns took to the court against Noel Jackson (Omagh). Noel held his nerve as Donal had match points. He hung in and took the match 12-10 in the tie-break. The last cliffhanger came in one of the last matches of the night, Joe Grimes (Cavan) played Andy Elliott with Joe winning 6-2, 4-6, 10-4.

All the matches were very entertaining like Martina Boyd and Andrea Irvine’s match as they put out Joanne Daly and Francis Taggart in straight sets. Innes Redmond and Sonja Hateboer played well to dash the hopes of Dominic Burns and Liz Murphy.

Tuesday’s matches were equally entertaining. One of the most noteable came from Enniskillen’s Ollie McShea and Martina Boyd up against Maggie Britton and Aiden Campbell. The rallies were high quality with everyone on the court involved. The win came in yet another tie-break finish. On match point to Ollie and Martina, Aiden hit a strong overhead which somehow Martina returned and after another couple of very exciting shots Martina’s volley won the match.

Ronan McKeever had a fight on his hands as club mate Paul Crilly played superbly, testing Ronan’s skills. Ronan took an early lead but only just won the first set. Paul came back hard to win the second set. The match went into a third set which Ronan won 6-2.

There were another six tie-break matches on Tuesday night showing how much the competitors are ready to fight for titles!

The entertainment will continue and the craic will be mighty. Spectators are welcome!!