Ivor Jess MBE secured a home victory in the main draw singles at the 19th Belfast Wheelchair Tennis Tournament as competitors from England, Scotland and Ireland challenged for honours at Belfast Indoor Tennis Arena. Players from both sides of the Irish Sea teamed up to win the main draw doubles as Jason Black and Noel McShane earned victory.
The Tennis Foundation’s latest Wheelchair Tennis National Series event was again organised and run by the local Spokes In Motion Wheelchair Tennis Club and the Ulster branch of Tennis Ireland, with support from Belfast City Council’s ‘Support for Sport’ scheme. Tennis Ireland President George Stevenson MBE presented the prizes.
Players were divided into two round-robin groups of three players for to begin the main draw singles, with the experience of Scotland’s Peter Moore coming to the fore as he won both his round-robin matches to finish ahead of Steve Crompton.
Jess and McShane took the top two positions in the other pool to reach the semi-finals, Jess also winning both his round-robin matches before defeating Crompton 6-3, 6-4 in the last four. Moore had a similarly tough semi-final, but gained the important breaks of serve to defeat McShane 6-4, 6-4. However, he was not able to match Jess, who eased to the title 6-1, 6-2.
The main draw doubles was also hotly contested as the Northern Island duo of Jess and Milligan edged out Neil Duncan and Moore 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final, with Black and McShane overcoming Crompton and Jim Watt 6-3, 6-3. But a second title at the three day tournament narrowly eluded Jess as Black and McShane took a deciding match tie-break to win the edge the final 5-7, 7-5, (10-2).
Ross Gourley and Steve Melvin proved strongest in the B Division singles, finishing in the top two positions in their round-robin pool matches to go forward to the final. Gourley, a singles semi-final at the recent National School Games, beat Melvin beat Melvin 6-1, 6-2 in their round-robin match and again dropped just three games in the final, but this time the score was 6-2, 6-1 as Gourley maintained his unbeaten record to claim another local victory.
Gourley ended the tournament with two titles after teaming up with fellow Northern Ireland National School Games representative Nathan McCabe for the B Division Doubles. Gourley and McCabe took the title 6-4, 6-4 against Charlie Cloke and Melvin.
The C Division singles also began as a four-way round-robin as Scottish player Bobby Park and England’s Tabitha Fung advanced to the final. Park gained a narrow 6-4 win in their round-robin match and the score was exactly the same when Park prevailed again in the final.
Like Gourley in the B Division events, Park ended the C Division events with both singles and doubles victories after pairing up with Kenny Cloke to beat Fund and Mary McCabe 6-0 in the doubles decider.