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Lucy Octave may face familiar foe in Ulster crown bid

By John Flack

Lucy Octave and Annie McCullough look set for another head-to-head at the Boat Club, which will host the Clubworld Travel Ulster Junior Open tournament next month.

The pair have had some close battles in recent years and, earlier this month, Octave beat the Windsor player in straight sets to lift the Ulster Senior Open title for the second year in a row.

That result not only saw the Donaghadee player retain the trophy but it also avenged a defeat by McCullough in the semi-finals of the Under-18 showpiece last year.

Top-seed Ruth Copas went on to defeat McCullough in the final but neither of the locals will have to cope with the Dundalk player this year as she is now over-age.

So everything points to another clash between Octave and McCullough, who are likely to be seeded one and two respectively.

"Having already won the senior title at the Boat Club it would be nice to do the double as I obviously missed out on that last year after Annie beat me in the semis," said 17-year-old Octave.

"Matches between us are invariably close and the windy conditions probably helped me more than Annie in the Ulster Senior Open so anything can happen if we meet again next month."

Almost 200 players took part in last year's event and Tournament Referee Chris Sanlon expects another bumper entry despite a clash of dates with the ITF Junior world ranking tournament, which runs simultaneously a short distance away at Windsor.

"Many players, including Annie and her twin sister Caitlin, Lucy and Under-18 boys' winner, Matthew McClurg, took part in both tournaments and the seeds don't start until later in the week so there will be some doubling up again this year," Sanlon explained at yesterday's tournament launch.

"One thing that I would stress though is that we can't accept any late entries and players wishing to play in both tournaments are restricted to only one event at the Boat Club."

The competition, which will also include novice and plate events, runs from July 27-August 1 and entries close at midnight on Tuesday, July 21.

Belfast Telegraph


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