Team D White edge out Team E Purple in a hotly contested Acme Blinds junior/masters league final
In the end it came down to aggregate aces, but Team D White were worthy winners of the inaugural Acme Blinds junior/masters team league final played last night at St. Josephs Community Centre. It was the first time for the county to run a cross club team event featuring players from different clubs on the same team, and the concept proved to be a rousing success.
The opening match featuring Tommy Armstrong and Ray Wickham against Tom Byrne and Jimmy Dunne was a close and somewhat tense encounter throughout, with the first game going the way of Team D White by 15-11. Controversy erupted at the end of the second though when, leading 14-10, Tom Byrne very sportingly offered a replay of the winning point, after the referee had correctly given it to Team E Purple. Immediately afterwards however, a ball hit from the centre area of the court and going towards the side wall struck Tom Byrne and was called a point by the referee, on the basis that it was not going to make the front wall. That gave Team E Purple a 15-10 win and levelled the tie at one point apiece.
The second match saw Team E Purple take the court without their captain Michéal O’Neill who was unavailable, with Tony Breen taking his place as a substitute alongside Shane Terry. Team D White had their inspiring captain David Redmond and the combative Mick Armstrong though and they soon had this tie under control when they won the opening game 15-5. That put them 2-1 up and, more importantly, 40-31 ahead on aggregate in the event of a 2-2 tie; meaning they only needed to get seven points in the last game to secure victory. They managed this with a bit to spare and while they did lose the game 15-13, they were declared winners on a countback of aces by 53-46. A brilliant patch of play by Redmond was key to the success as he hit a rich vein of form to ‘kill’ five or six balls in a row at a vital time. Armstrong was solid throughout and overall they were the best team in the competition, going through their six matches without a loss.
County Vice Chairman Ricky Barron thanked Acme Blinds for their generous sponsorship of the event and the prizes were presented by Suzanne Fitzharris of Acme Blinds