Alpha President Graham reigns with Masters title

Alpha President and Irish National doubles champion Graham Henderson.
Alpha President and Irish National doubles champion Graham Henderson.

There was a Masters title for Alpha President Graham Henderson last weekend as he partnered Mark Topping to the Carlton Irish National Masters Men’s Doubles crown.

The pair couldn’t have been more overjoyed to seal the win at the National Badminton Centre in Lisburn and did it in the narrowest of fashions, triumphing 21-19 over Niall Gannon and Brian McGowan in the thrilling final’s deciding set.

They had claimed the opening set 21-15 but lost 20-22 in the second as the match went to the wire, the spectators on the edge of their seats.

Henderson and his Leinster-based partner got the campaign off a bright start, beating Chris and Gordon Chambers 21-8 21-10 in their opening match of Group C. They also beat their final opponents in a deciding set to make it through to the semi-final, where the duo took just 24 minutes to secure a 21-14 21-10 victory.

Elsewhere, Alpha pair and top seeds Michael Turkington and Michael Watt failed to make it to the final four.

Alpha’s Doreen McClements teamed up with Jeff Kearon to lift the Mixed Doubles Over 45 title, bringing an end to the challenge of Paul Mccooey and Ann Gorman 21-11 21-19, Padraig O’Dowd and Bernie Lavin 21-12 21-7 and Patrick Jose O’Connell and his partner Deirdre Hannigan 21-6 21-16.

Meanwhile, there was joy for Ulster Branch’s Tony Clarke as he partnered Jim Morgan to the Mens Doubles 70+ title without dropping a single set. Tommy Ennis and Michael O’Malley, Jack Earls and Samuel Carson McBride and Michael Burke Snr and Podge Carney were all unable to worry the pair from Killowen and Roundwood.

Interestingly, Tony also lifted the Men’s Singles 70+ title but his doubles partner Jim Morgan certainly made him fight all the way in the final. Clarke had taken the opening set 21-17 but could do little to stop his opponent taking it to the decider when he won the second 21-9. Tony held his nerve though to win a nail-biting third 21-17 in 31 minutes.

Tony’s bid for a hat-trick of titles was to end in disappointment as David Kenny and Janet Ferguson reigned supreme in their category although Clarke and Dympna Sheridan gave the eventual champions quite a scare in the 21-17 17-21 21-9 contest. Clarke and Sheridan lost in straight sets in their two other matches.

In the Mens Singles 45+ ,Kevin Donnelly was a worthy champion though Colin Watterson certainly gave him more than a few problems as his opening score-line suggested (21-18 21-18) and Donnelly saw off Mohil Kativar 21-12 21-10.

In the Mens Doubles, Andrew McVeigh and Jonathan Perry saw off Colin Watterson and Kevin Fahy into runners-up and Watterson had to be content with runner up in the Mixed as well, when partnering Patricia Downey.