Carrickmines was the venue for the 2019 test match between Ireland and Great Britain. In the history of this event, Ireland has only won once back in 2005. The visitors captained by David Maugham brought a strong team as per usual with all members of the team in the top 50 players in the world. But with the smaller 4 person team, Ireland was more confident of being competitive.
The doubles traditionally open the match and relatively quickly GB took a 1-0 lead by beating the Johnstons 2-0 with ease. Williams and Fitzgerald played brilliantly as a pairing and levelled the match heading into the afternoon.
In the singles David Maugham was looking for revenge over Patsy Fitzgerald who beat him in the Irish open just a few weeks ago, and he surely did winning 2-0 in quick, smart time. Simon Williams with his new Nicola Kelly designed mallet continued where he left off in the doubles with an excellent win over Robin Brown. The game contained multiple TPO's and a high standard throughout. The small striking sweet spot on Simon's new mallet was certainly making him focus and the results for Ireland were excellent.
Andrew Johnston battled his way through the day as he often has to but came out on the right side of a 2-1 match against GB rising star Harry Fisher. That made the match 3-2 in Ireland's favour. The last game saw Danny Johnston make an uncharacteristic error allowing Richard Smith to level the match for GB overnight.
And all to play for. Andrew Johnston was quick out of the blocks and set a captain's lead with a +26tp +26tp win over former world number one David Maugham. 4-3 Ireland.
Ireland just needed two of the last three matches to claim a famous victory. It was turning into a fantastically tight affair as all three remaing matches went 1-1 at the break for lunch. Both Danny and Patsy pulling games out of the fire to level their matches.
By 3pm Robin Brown had beaten Danny in a good match overall. This win levelled the tie at 4-4. All eyes turned to lawn 2.
By 3.20 it was looking rough for Ireland as Harry Fisher beat Patsy in the decider of that match to take a 4-5 lead.
A draw and a chance of a tie break was what remained for the Irish to cling on to. Simon had a shot to save his match which didn't go his way and Richard Smith began a turn that could win the Test for GB and finish it he did.
The GB class and experience shone through in the end but and excellent contest and a far better showing from the Irish than there has been in several years. Well done to team GB.
It was fantastic to have so many Carrickmines club members down playing over the weekend, adding support and excitement for all those involved.
Thank you to the CAI, Simon Williams and Andew Johnston who provided financial support towards the event. A huge thanks to those who provided B&B to the visiting team who were all hosted in Newcsstle. It makes a huge difference to the travelling team to be saved that expense and certainly adds to the event by involving more people.