Team C Black come from behind to defeat Team B Raspberry and take the Acme Blinds junior C-D team event
The county 4-wall domestic season ended in a welter of excitement at St. Josephs Community Centre last night when, just like the junior/masters team final on Tuesday night, the final of the Acme Blinds junior C/junior D team competition was decided on a countback of aces after Team C Black and Team B Raspberry had finished level at 2 games all.
Led by Lar Dunne, Team C had gone into the final as slight favourites, following a very successful campaign which had seen them go through the competition unbeaten, and with a 3-1 win against Team B under their belts from the league stages. But finals tend to be different and this was no exception!
The opening game was full of drama from beginning to end, with Team C leading off with Sean Fitzharris and Aaron Maloney and Team B represented by Jodie Keeling and Niall Lacey. Fitzharris and Maloney had been setting the pace for their side throughout the competition and had enjoyed a comfortable win over the same opposition earlier in the league, but with Keeling in terrific form, Team B blitzed their opponents in the early stages and at 14-3 up in the first game a big lead looked on the cards. Fitzharris and Maloney were in trouble, but they dug deep and reduced the deficit to 14-10 before Team B got the last ace needed for victory.
The second game ebbed and flowed throughout, but when Fitzharris and Maloney surged ahead 14-9, they appeared all set to level up the tie at a game apiece. Not so! Point by point Keeling and Lacey clawed it back and when they levelled at 14 all the tension was palpable. They just needed one more point for what would have been an unexpected 2-0 lead, but their luck ran out when Keeling went for the kill, nailed it, but got hit by the ball on the rebound from the front wall and lost her serve. Team C made the most of their good fortune to secure the winning point and tie things up at 1-1.
Lar Dunne and Conor Dobbs entered the court behind on aces for the first time in the competition, and facing two players, Liam Rossiter and Keith Devereux who had drawn with them earlier in the league. They rose to the occasion magnificently however to take the first game 15-4, leaving them needing only nine aces in the second game to secure the title. Rossiter and Devereux did win that second game by 15-13 but dropping the first by such a margin had done trhe damage and Team C ran out overall winners by 53-48.
It was a terrific outcome for Team C as they were, by a distance, the youngest quartet in the competition. On balance, while they were a bit lucky last night, they’re performances throughout the league had entitled them to wear the mantle of favourites last night. It was tough on Team B but in finishing only a point (16 to 17) behind Team C in the league table, they were always going to get very close to winning this final.
County Cice Chairman Ricky Barron complemented all who had made the league such a resounding success and paid tribute to Acme Blinds for their sponsorship of the leagues. The presentations were made by Suzanne Fitzharris on behalf of the company.