20 Oct Veterans World Team Championships 2008
Ireland travelled to Turkey recently to take part in what was the largest ITF World Team Championships ever staged in Antalya, Turkey. A total of 323 teams from 34 countries travelled to the Ali Bey resorts of Manavgat and Belek in the Mediterannean city in the south of Turkey. This was also to be the largest travelling team Ireland was to ever send to an international event with 60 players and 15 teams competing throughout the week.
With such a large amount of players competing the Irish team knew that they would be facing some very tough competition in all age categories and this proved to be the case. Ireland found themselves finishing in the lower positions in the majority of the age groups, but wins were recorded in almost every age group in which Ireland competed. Reports on each category can be found below and for a full listing of overall results from the weeks play can be found on the Seniors page of the ITF website here.
Italia Cup (M35)
Ireland’s youngest Vets finished in 20th place out of 23 competitors in the Mens 35+ event, the Italia Cup. On Day 1 Ireland were drawn in arguably the toughest of groups up against strong European opposition in the form of France, Netherlands and No. 1 seeds Spain. Unsuprisingly Ireland were unable to overcome this trio recording 3-0 defeats against France and Spain. Travis McDonogh did record Irelands only win in the group stages with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Dutchman Mark Fleischeuer. This brought Ireland into the play-off for 19th – 23rd place where Ireland were tied with Slovakia with a win meaning Ireland would finish in the higher of the places in this play-off group. Ireland progressed with a solid 2-1 win with the doubles duo Colm Og Molloy and Niall Murphy winning a tight match 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4. Travis McDonogh also recorded a comfortable win to ensure that Ireland would meet Hong Kong in the playoff for 19th position. Hong Kong took the spoils on this occassion, winning by two rubbers to one.
Tony Trabert Cup (M40)
Ireland finished in 17th spot out of 20 at the Tony Trabert Cup in Manavgat. Ireland finished bottom of Group 6 without a win against France, Great Britain or Finland. In the play-off for 15th-20th place Ireland were very unlucky to come up against No.6 seeds Argentina who had not expected to find themselves in this section of the draw and saw off Ireland with a 3-0 win. This meant that Ireland would have to meet the hosts in their final match of the week. Irelands luck changed for the better with this meeting and their Turkish rivals couldn’t compete with the duo of Liam Cassidy and Neil Wilson in any of the rubbers. Wilson winning his singles match 6-2,6-3, and Cassidy winning in three – 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. The pair also overcame the Turkish doubles team of Dogan Kocan and Ibrahim Uyar 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. placing them in 17th position.
Young Cup (W40)
The finishing position of 6th place would prove to be Ireland’s best result of the week as the 40+ ladies put together some great performances and battled hard to earn a very respectable final result in the Young Cup. Indeed the Irish ladies could have gone even further had the draw been kinder. Being drawn in the same group as No.2 seeds and eventual winners Italy meant that Ireland would find it hard to top the group and compete in the 1st-4th play-off group. Instead Ireland finished second in their group beating South Africa and Germany respectively. Carmel O’Hare and Lesley O’Halloran recorded singles wins against South Africa. The pair teamed up to win their doubles rubber against the Germans, Lesley also won her singles tie against Gabi Kirchner to ensure Ireland would finish in second place in Group 2.
Canada were easily disposed of, Ireland winning 3-0. Margaret Drew and Maite Cosmen recorded their first win of the week in their doubles match against the Canadian duo of Litton and Badenhorst 6-0, 6-4. Ireland met No.1 seeds France in the play-off for 5th position however the French team battled to a 2-1 win with Ireland having to settle for 6th position on this occasion.
Dubler Cup (M45)
The largest competition in this years World Team Championships was the Mens 45 event, the Dubler Cup where a full 26 countries took part. Ireland came in 21st place but performed better in the 17th – 24th play-off draw. Recording two 3-0 wins against India and Lithuania, with all members of the team notching up victories on their way to 21st place. Tadhg O’Connell recording wins in both singles and coubles competition, Pete Lowther and Liam O’Brien winning their singles ties and William Guiry winning his doubles match partnering Tadhg O’Connell.
Margaret Court Cup (W45)
The Margaret Court Cup would see Ireland finish in 13th place, finishing Group 3 with three defeats to Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Ireland found their level in the play-off stages of the event and recorded two good victories over South Africa (3-0) and Turkey (2-1) to finish 13th in the 13th-16th play-off round. The four Irish ladies of Niamh Kennedy, Gillian Chandler, Patricia Lord and Grace Reidy all picked up good wins during this round and will be pleased with their performances.
Fred Perry Cup (M50)
Again, Ireland were drawn with two strong European nations in the guise of Germany and Sweden and found the level of competition very difficult to live with. Germany were to go on to win this age group convincingly and an Irish loss was no disgrace. This moved the Irish ito the 15th-21st playoff where Ireland recorded their only victories of the week over Bosnia & Herzegovina by 3-0 with great wins for Robin Gibney (6-0,6-0), Conor Woods (6-2,6-1) and the duo of John Goggin and Jimmy Wilson (6-0, 6-1). Defeats to Finland and Switzerland were to follow and the Irish eventually finished in 18th position out of 21.
Maria Esther Bueno Cup (W50)
Ireland were faced with very difficult opposition with France and Italy completing the three team pool of Group 2 in the Maria Esther Bueno Cup. The Irish team finished in third position in Group 2 and were placed in the 13th-19th play-off group. Ireland were drawn with Turkey in the first round of the play-off and recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over the host nation. Irelands good form continued with their win over Portugal lifting the Irish to a final position of 15th place. Wins for Jenny Burrows and the pairing of Marion McVeagh and Geraldine Wynne secured the win over the Portuguese.
Austria Cup (M55)
The Austria Cup threw up a real battle between the Irish and the Dutch for second spot in Group 7. The opening day would prove to be crucial in deciding who would finish second behind the strongly fancied American team and the tie proved to be a real war of attrition. Bryan Bailie scored first blood for the Irish beating Ruud Thyssen 6-0, 6-4. Neagle Cathcart wasn’t as fortunate losing to Jan Sie of 6-1, 2-6, 6-1. In the deciding rubber the duo of Cathcart and Bailie battled all the way to the end before finally being defeated 5-7, 6-2, 5-7 meaning the Irish would have to settle for a finishing position between 15th and 21st place. Ireland would eventually go on to finish in 16th with strong 2-1 wins over India and Estonia. Switzerland came out on top in the decider for 15th spot two rubbers to one, Bryan Bailie and David Craig winning their doubles rubber 6-3, 6-2. Ireland finished in 16th position.
Maureen Connolly Cup (W55)
Ireland received a favourble draw in the Maureen Connolly Cup with Great Britain, Estonia and Switzerland finding themselves in Group 2 with the Irish and were hopeful that they could challenge for 3rd position in the group. The tie with Estonia would be the best chance of the Irish claiming a victory and finishing in third. The tie started well for the Irish as Catherine O’Neill took the first rubber from Riina Raig 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to give the team a great chance of victory. The Estonians weren’t to be moved and battled back well with two good wins to take the tie 2-1. Ireland had to make do with a 13th-16th play-off and made good use of their position by beating their Norwegian rivals 2-1 with a good win for Meg O’Gorman and Letty Lucas/Catherine O’Neill in the doubles rubber. New Zealand were a much tougher obstacle and the Irish ladies were powerless in avoiding a 3-0 defeat from the Kiwis. Ireland finished in 14th spot out of 16.
Von Cramm Cup (M60)
Ireland finished in 18th position in what was one of the larger competitions during the World Championships. The Von Cramm Cup boasted 24 competing nations and Ireland found themselves in a group with Germany and Canada. Two losses meant that Ireland would be playing for the positions between 17th and 24th place. Ireland had a very comfortable win over the Bosnians John McAllister and Ben Cranwell recorded singles wins while George Lucas and Der O’Sullivan wrapped up the tie by 3-0. Another good win came to the Irish with a 2-1 win over their Turkish hosts. Ben Cranwell winning his singles tie, and Cranwell and Lucas wrapping up the tie in the doubles 6-3,6-1.
Alice Marble Cup (W60)
The ladies representing Ireland in the Alice Marble Cup came in 12th position and performed well in the group stages finishing in third spot of Group 2 behind seeded teams of the USA and South Africa. The Irish ladies recorded a good over New Zealand with both singles players winning their rubbers in style. Liz Thompson beating Kay Glenny 7-5, 6-3, while Norah Glynn was victorious over Sandy Tritt 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. This win ensured that the Irish would be competing for 8th – 12th position in the play-off stage of the World Team Championships. Canada were up next for the Ladies 60s team ans although Liz Thompson recorded a good win over the Canadian Eileen Clark Ireland were very unfortunate to lose the tie 2-1.
Britannia Cup (M65)
The Irish team found themselves found themselves finishing in last place at the Britannia Cup and had to face some very tough opposition thoughout the week. Ireland were unsuccessful against Great Britain, Switzerland and Spain, but did record one rubber win in the competition against Norway where Ireland’s Donal McGolderick beat Lahrs Jahnsen 6-4, 6-1.
Kitty Godfree Cup (W65)
Ireland grabbed a good finishing position of 9th place at the Kitty Godfree Cup in Manavgat with some very impressive wins along the way. In a tricky looking group including Germany and Australia, Ireland did well to finish in third place with a solid win over their Norwegian counterparts in Group 2. The group win was gauranteed by wins from Ann MacKell (7-5, 6-3), and in the doubles rubber with Jennifer McDonnell partnering Ann MacKell winning 7-5, 6-4. The Irish ladies good form continued in the playoff for spots 9-12 two good wins Turkey and South Africa resulting in Irelands second best finish at the World Team Championships.
Jack Crawford Cup (M70)
Ireland were clean out of luck in this years Jack Crawford Cup and were drawn with two very strong opponents, Austria and Australia, both of whom recorded 3-0 victories over the Irish. Irelands luck wasn’t to change in the playoff stages either with two further defeats to Slovenia and Poland both by 2 rubbers to 1. John Gaston recorded a win over his Slovenian opponent 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and the doubles pairing of Brendan Byrne and Des Delaney also grabbed a win beating the Polish doubles pairing of Adamek and Lyp 7-5, 7-5. These two wins just weren’t enough for the Irish although and finished in 20th position in the final standings.
Bitsy Grant Cup (M75)
The eldest of the Irish teams to travel to Turkey was the 75s Men who took part in the Bitsy Grant Cup. In small but strong list of competing teams the Irish finished in a respectable 11th position and recorded one good win over South Africa in the playoff section of the competition. Jim Daly winning his singles match against Neville Whitfield 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (6). Jim teamed up with Maurice Davitt in the singles tie beating the African pairing of Joubert and van der Merwe 6-1,6-0.