The local badminton season reaches its climax this Saturday with over 50 titles to be competed for in the Alpha Finals Day.
It has been another top season, in which Sinead and Ciaran Chambers were members of the Irish squad which reached the European Mixed Championships while the Alpha players in the Ulster squad had a major say in the northern province winning promotion from Division Three North in the Senior County Championships.
Young Beth Stephenson also lifted her first Ulster Senior Singles title while Tony Stephenson regained his form to capture the coveted National Singles title.
Now all eyes turn to the club’s big day.
Tony Stephenson will be up against his former doubles partner Tony Murphy in the final of the Senior Mens Singles and previous clashes between them will have no bearing at all on the outcome of this contest with considerable ‘bragging rights’ for the champion.
Stephen Halpin will give nothing away against two-times World and European champion Niall McVeigh in the Para Club Mens Singles.
Tony Stephenson teams up with Stuart Lightbody for the senior mens doubles and they will be keen to get the better of Ciaran Chambers and Ryan Stewart while Dona Scott and Beth Stephenson should have enough to see off Susan Stephenson and Jenny Ryan in the Senior Ladies Doubles.
Doreen McClements teams up with Jenny Stephenson for the Minor Ladies Doubles and they will face Summer Ferguson and Aine McClure.
At this juncture, spare a thought for Aine, the Wallace High School pupil, who is down to play in some eight finals, Minor Ladies Singles, Under 16 Club Girls Doubles (with Summer Ferguson), Minor Mixed Doubles (with Davy Rice), Minor Ladies Doubles, Intermediate Club Girls Singles, Intermediate Club Doubles (with Phoebe Larmour), the Intermediate Club Mixed doubles (with Conor Galway) and the Girls Doubles with Hannah Brennan.
The Under 16 Girls Singles will be keenly contested with Rebecca Woods seeking the bragging rights over twin Rachael before they head to the Quadrangular Series with the Irish squad along with their Alpha clubmate Beth Stephenson next week.
In the round robin group stage, the clash between the twins could not have been any closer with Rachael topping the group unbeaten with a 21-20 victory over Rebecca while Summer Ferguson finished in third place with three wins and Aine McClure fourth with a 21-8 defeat at the hands of Rachael ruling her out of contention.
These four competitors meet in the girls doubles final with Aine McClure and Summer Ferguson keen to improve on the 21-13 loss to the Woods twins in the group stages.
The Under 16 Boys Singles will feature Matthew Robb and Siam Alderdice in the final after Robb was unbeaten in the round robin series but Alderdice will be hoping to gain revenge for a 21-16 defeat by Robb. Reid Lonsdale finished on the same points total as Alderdice but lost 21-15 in the clash between the pair to miss out on the final.
Kai McPeak, who was unbeaten in his group matches, was beaten 21-14 in the semi-final by Alderdice while Robb recorded a narrow 21-18 victory over Connor Galway.
The Under 16 Boys Doubles saw Sian Alderdice and Andrew Millar come out on top of the group to play Ben Elmore and Jack Armstrong, the latter pair having suffered a 21-14 defeat at the hands of Ross Treacy while Alderdice and Millar lost 21-19 to Ben and Jack – an indicator to the eventual outcome I wonder?
The Under 16 Mixed Doubles will be interesting with the Woods twins on opposite sides of the net with Jack Armstrong partnering Rachael while Matt Robb teams up with Rebecca keen to revenge their 21-20 defeat, though they were to lose two games while Hannah Brennan and Siam Alderdice suffered only one defeat in the round series.