Stuart lights up the Ulster Open with double delight

Stuart Lightbody bagged both the mixed doubles and men's doubles titles in the Ulster Open.
Stuart Lightbody bagged both the mixed doubles and men's doubles titles in the Ulster Open.

Alpha’s Stuart Lightbody lifted a double haul of titles in the Ulster Grade A Open last week.

He partnered Catherine Burnside to the mixed doubles title and, alongside Michael Turkington, didn’t even drop a single set on route to the men’s doubles title.

Lightbody, who suffered an injury during Ulster’s last foray in the English Inter County series had already sealed the mixed doubles title partnering Catherine Burnside.

Despite being taken to a three-setter by the unseeded Aoin Walsh and Ciara O’Connor, the Alpha pair then saw off Jonny Curry and Pam Peard 21-18 21-8 in the final.

In the mens doubles, Stuart was seeded top playing with Michael Turkington and they lifted the title without dropping a single set along the way. They knocked out Niall Gannon and Brian McGowan 21-13 21-15 in their opening match and eclipsed this with a 21-10 21-15 win in the final over second seeds Neil O’Flaherty and Eoin Walsh.

The one that got away was the men’s singles, in which Lightbody lost the semi-final 21-14 21-15 to Nicholas Murphy.

Things had begun well as Stuart had beaten Colin Waterson 21-3 21-15 in his opening clash. With Lightbody beaten, Alpha interest turned to Jon McCreedy, who won his opening matches convincingly enough 21-10 21-9 over Danny Armstrong and 14-21 24-22 21-15 over Neil O’Flaherty.

In the deicder against Murphy, McCreedy certainly didn’t do himself an injustice, taking the opening set 21-11. Murphy, however, fought back to level 21-6 and Mccreedy was unable to regain the confidence which he had shown during that excellent opening set, losing the decider 21-9.

In the Women’s Singles, Alpha’s Beth Stephenson defeated Rebecca Getty 21-14 21-16 in the semi-final to book her place in the decider against second seed Gemma Tobin.

Although Beth was taken to 21-19 in the opening set of the final, the form which had seen her capture the Girls Singles and Doubles Under 17 titles in Connacht the previous week, returned to her game and she grabbed the second 21-11 to secure the title.

Meanwhile, Catherine Burnside and Dona Scott made a winning return to the tournament stage in the doubles. The second seeds got their challenge off to a good start with straight set victories over Aisling Arnold and Fiona Hillen and Janine Beazley and Ashleigh Coyne before beating the top seeds Ciara O’Connor and Gemma Tobin 21-18 21-18.