The Fermanagh Veterans Open concluded at the Bawnacre Centre, irvinestown at the weekend with a number of top class matches and closely contested finals.

There is no substitute for experience and that certainly was evident with some excellent tennis played out in ideal weather conditions.

The event consisted of a number of different age groups from including 35s, 45s and 55s singles, doubles and mixed doubles in mostly round robin formats Staring in the 35s age group Enniskillen’s Matthew McGann retained his singles title when he beat Liam Kane from Windsor Tennis club 7/5 3/6 10/7 with both men showing great skill and power in a very entertaining final.

The plate final was also of great quality when Clive Funston, Enniskillen defeated Martin Garrity, Irvinestown 9/6.

In the C final Brendan King, Irvinestown showed why he almost certainly will move to B Grade next season as he beat Joe Grimes, Cavan 6/2 6/2 with both men giving their all. For Brendan the Challenge of B tennis next year will prove to be well within his capabilities.

Gerry McLaughlin, Irvinestown made up the third competitor in the group and pushed both men all the way in his matches. The 35s Ladies singles final game was also a close affair as Andrea Irvine, Irvinestown just beat Vannessa McBrien Enniskillen 6/3 3/6 10/8 with long rallies and tactical play by both ladies resulting in a long tense match which was a great credit to both as the play was of a high standard. Making up the group was Kirsty Murray, Irvinestown who played some excellent tennis.

In the Men’s 35 doubles, a round robin format proved to be a tough event with some great matches, the decider turned out to be John Maguire and Darren Pearce, winners overall beating runner-up Martin Garrity and Andy Moore, Omagh 7/6 6/2 , while the Ladies’ Doubles was won by Martina Boyd and Sonja Hateboer, Enniskillen with a 6/2 6/2 win over Mary Cuthbertson and Jenny Nelson, Omagh. The Mixed was won by Matthew McGann and Sonja Hateboer beating Clive Funston and Martina Boyd.

In the C Doubles, Brendan King and David Lowe beat Joe Grimes and Matthias Winkler, Cavan 6/4 6/3 while Tracey Alexander and Susan Faulkner, Butt Hall beat Wendy Eaton and Kirsty Murray, Irvinestown 6/2 2/6 10/6 while making their debut in an event like this, Liz Mc Guinness and Heather Williams, Enniskillen played really well and pushed the other pairings to their limits during their matches.

The C Mixed was won by Joanne Daly and Brendan King, Irvinestown in a very competitive group of four with the match against eventual runners-up Dorren Jones from Milford and David Lowe, Irvinestown proving to be the vital win 5/7 6/1 10/4. The other pairings where Joe Grimes and Maxine Leary Tracey Alexander and Steve Beaumont who both made it a very exciting event. The 45s Singles again saw lots of close encounters with the men’s event probably the hardest fought over the four days. In the final round of games, Darren Pearce, Letterkenny just clinched a good quality match against doubles partner John Maguire 3/6 6/4 12/10 with the match on a knife edge during the tie break and could have gone either way. Battling it out for third place, Michael Duffy showed all his old determination and never say die spirit to beat Ken McMillan, Cavan 6/4 6/4 in a hard fought battle.

The Ladies event saw Oonagh Colton defend her title by beating the evergreen and consistent Kathleen Maguire in the final 6/3 6/0.

The Men’s 45 Doubles probably had the most exciting match over the tournament when Omagh pair Jimmy McCutcheon and Stephen Cuthbertson narrowly lost to eventual winners Michael Duffy and John Maguire in a competitive but enjoyable match for all four men as they turned back the clocks to old battles when movement might have been a quicker and sharper around the the court.

Wining the first set 6/2, the Omagh pair got off to a great start but as the Irvinestown pair clawed their way back in the second set, saving match point in a close tie break and taking the set 7/6. They then eventually clinched the match 10/6 in the championship tie break and a huge sigh of relief.

The other pairings of David McDowell and Pete Keogh made up the group with both men playing good tennis in their matches. The mixed event was won by Oonagh Colton and Jimmy McCutcheon with Rachel Logan and Pete Keogh the runners- up while making up the group was Maggie Britton and David McDowell, Kathleen Maguire and Gerry McLoughlin.

55s The Men’s Singles had four in the rounnd robin with the eventual overall winner Stephen Cuthbertson from Omagh beating Henry Venzon, Butt hall runner-up 6/0 6/1 in the last match but this match had a lot of very entertaining rallies with Henry using all his skills to move the ball around. However, Stephen’s hard hitting and fitness proved to much in the end.

In the match for third place Edwin Johnston had a good battle with David Lowe before he eventually won 6/4 6/2.

At the conclusion of play, the evening meal was held in Mahon’s Hotel sponsors of the event and it was here that John Maguire, tournament director, thanked the Hotel for its continued support for the Veterans event. He also thanked Fermanagh District Council for its support and the Bawnacre Centre and staff for all their care and attention over the competition. Finally, he commended Enniskillen and Omagh Clubs for use of their courts and all the players who took part and travelled a distance for the days of the event.