Stirling men claim national title

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The winning team (from left to right): Sam MacNeil, Robert Leck, Jonny O’Mara, Scott Duncan, Kieran Macarty and Scott MacAulay Credit: University of Stirling

On Saturday January 20, Stirling men’s first tennis team claimed a hard-fought victory against reigning champions Durham in the BUCS National League 2017-18.

The team of Sam MacNeil, Scott MacAulay, Scott Duncan, Jonny O’Mara, Kieran Macarty and Rob Leck all showed nerves of steel to win the title for the first time since 2014.

The second BUCS Super League weekend was held on 19-21 January at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, London. The weekend saw the leading male and female university tennis teams across the country take part, with Durham, Loughborough, Exeter, Bath and Bristol all fielding teams.

The weekend opened with a tense top of the table battle as Stirling went up against Durham. The boys in green faced an early 2-0 deficit, as the duo of O’Mara and MacNeil fell 6-4, 6-4. Likewise, Duncan and Macarty lost in a closely fought contest. The pair lost 7-5, 5-7, 9-11 in a high-quality match.

Despite having lost both of the doubles’ matches, Stirling showed their mental strength and desire to win all the matches that followed. With MacAulay and Leck both winning their singles matches to level the score at 2-2, the pressure was all on Duncan and O’Mara. Whilst Duncan won his match 7-5, 6-2, O’Mara was left to grind out a three set victory over a tough opponent. Nonetheless, the Scot won the third set 6-1 to secure the match for Stirling.

The next day saw a far more comfortable win for Stirling, as they overcame Loughborough 12-0 to pip Durham by one point to the National League title.

Speaking to the University at the end of the weekend, Duncan, said:

“It was a great way to end the league in an exciting environment and everyone did their part to help us get over the line.

“It makes all the hard work during the year worth it, but we’re not taking anything for granted as we want to do well in the BUCS Championship as well.

“We always set high expectations for ourselves and that won’t change as we want to finish the BUCS season on a high and we look forward to getting back out on court to represent Stirling.”
Unfortunately, Stirling’s ladies team could not follow in the success of their male counterparts, with Durham securing the title after winning over Bath.
The Stirling team, made up of Natasha Fourouclas, Lauren Hewett, Maia Lumsden, Alessia Palmieri, Rebecca Pedrazzi and Patricia Skowronski enjoyed a comfortable win against Bristol on Saturday, winning 10-2. Despite the title already being decided, the final day of play saw an entertaining clash between Durham and Stirling, which ended in a draw.
In an interview conducted with the University at the end of the weekend, High Performance Tennis Coach, Euan McGinn, said: “It’s been such a fantastic experience for the players over the weekend and we’re really proud of how they held their nerve in a high pressure situation.
“All of our scholars and the wider high performance squad train immensely hard throughout the season and still manage to fit their studies in, so I’m delighted their dedication, organisation and sacrifice has been rewarded with two brilliant league finishes.”
The ladies team will be hoping for revenge when they face Durham at home on Wednesday (24/1/18).
Kieran Macarty and Scott Duncan in action Credit: BUCS
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