16 Year Old Rachael Woods produced the Performance of the year so far at the Leinster Open last weekend to win the Women’s Singles title. The Lisburn Emerging Performance Squad player defeated the No.1 & N0.2 seed en-route to winning her first senior Singles title. She had a comfortable Quarter final taking the match 21-14, 21-12 setting up a Semi final clash with 2nd Seed Moya Ryan. Rachael had a fantastic start to the 1st set and kept that momentum to take it 21-11. Moya came back strong in the second set, winning it 21-17 moving the game into a deciding set. It was a close game in the opening stages but Rachael showed composure at the key times during he latter stages and took the match 21-13 in the decider. In the final she was up against Top seed Kate Frost. The first set was extremely close throughout but Frost won some key rallies to take it 25-23. Rachael came back into the match in the second set taking it 21-13 imposing her strong attacking game. In the decider it was tight all the way to the interval. It continued to be a nip and tuck battle up to the latter stages where Rachael really raised her game and took the deciding points to win the set 21-18 and her first senior title!
There were a number of senior Ulster players in the tournament and the other stand out performer was Stuart Lightbody who won the Men’s Doubles with Leinster’s Sam McKay. Having taking out the 2nd Seeds Ciaran Chambers & Mark Brady over 3 sets in the quarter Final, they were up against the Ulster partnership of Tony Murphy & Ryan Stewart. The Ulster/Leinster pair proved too strong, progressing to the Final 21-16, 21-14. They meet the 3/4 seeds Daniel Magee & Eddie Cousins in the final and they continued their great form to take the title 21-19, 21-16.
Keady Smith also had a great tournament reaching the final of the Women’s Doubles with partner Jennie Magee and the final of the Mixed Doubles with Ryan Stewart. The women’s Final had many long rallies evident in the match time of 45minutes and it was the young pair Kate Frost & Moya Ryan who came out on top. The mixed final was one of the matches of the tournament. It was an extremely tight match throughout, with many high level mixed rallies but it was the Husband and Wife pair of Daniel & Jennie Magee who came out victors 23-25, 21-19, 21-19.
Up next for our senior players is the Irish Nationals 3rd-4th February.