Rachael returns to form but comes a cropper against old adversary

Rachael Woods was back to her best at the weekend.
Rachael Woods was back to her best at the weekend.

The Irish Under 17 Championships held at Baldoyne saw a welcome return to form for Alpha’s Rachael Woods.

It cannot be easy to have to play second fiddle to such a dominant player as Ireland No1 Clodagh Dunne has been within the same age group and again Dunne was the only player to beat the Alpha star.

Rachael was seeded No3/4 for last weekend’s Irish Championships and coming from the bottom half of the draw she wasn’t due to face her old adversary until the final.

She was to have a relatively easy passage through to the last four with a convincing 21-10 21-10 victory over Cliodhna Duggan, having earlier ended the challenge of Judith McClure 21-11 21-18.

Rachael took the opening set in the semi against Kate Frost 21-19 before losing the second 21-17. The Hunterhouse 14 year-old pupil was not going to let Miss Frost back into the match and ran out the victor 21-10.

In the final against Dunne, who had seen off twin Rebecca Woods, Rachael edged the opener 25-23 with the top seed coming back to level 21-14 in the second and as the final approached the 40 minutes mark, the game swayed towards a win for the top seed 21-16.