Swiss take victory in epic Six Nations Masters
The dust has barely settled on the 2023 Six Nations Masters tournament but already competition founder Barry Coffey is being inundated with offers to host the event next year. RJ Mitchell reports.
The Masters, played at the prestigious Padel Baregg Club in Switzerland last weekend, resulted in a win for the home team, with Estonia second and England third. Organiser Barry, president of the Irish Padel Association, has barely had time to catch a breath in the aftermath let alone turn his attention to 12-months down the line but the cry of the senior padel nations is such that ‘no’ just will not be accepted!
“We’ve had several requests to host in 2024, including two different venues from one country, and one request from a country which has never played in the Six Nations. That is great just a few days after the 2023 event was completed,” said Barry, who is in no doubt that the 2023 event was the best yet.
He said: “This year’s event was exceptional. Every team fed back that it was the best yet and that was in no small part down to the venue, Padel Baregg, which was first class. It had four top class panoramic courts, superb roof height and the hotel attached to the complex so the players were together all of the time. It was a magnificent venue.”
Reviewing the tournament Barry said: “We have never had so many matches going to Champions tie-breaks and many of them went to 15-13 – they just wouldn’t give up and it ended up putting pressure on court time! It was tremendously competitive and that was brilliant.
“There were a couple of outstanding matches but there was a 15-13 Champions tie-break between the Irish second pair and the Swiss No 2s. The Irish won – although sadly we lost the match overall by the same scoreline. “Also England had a 15-13 against Switzerland which was similarly epic, so there were a few memorable matches and the sheer number of these really stood out this year.”
England stuck…in England
There was behind-the-scenes drama that torpedoed Team England’s mission to secure a maiden victory, as Barry revealed: “England unfortunately lost the Estonia match as their player Simon England was stranded at Heathrow. He made a heroic effort to get to the tournament after being denied departure as security held him up. He ended up sleeping in the airport. He got a 6am flight the next morning and such was his dedication he managed to get there for the second match but as England didn’t have a reserve it ultimately cost them.”
Battle of the Celts
In the ‘wooden spoon’ encounter it was a battle of the Celts and while Barry enjoyed the competitiveness of a razor’s edge contest there was a bitter sweet tang to the aftertaste for the man known as ‘Adidaddy’. Through metaphorically gritted teeth he groaned: “This was the first time Ireland lost an international match to Scotland, we went down 2-1. Scotland had a new player – Mark Openshaw – from West Of Scotland Padel who played at No 1 with David McCulloch and they won in the Champions tie-break against our Irish No 1 pairing (also beating England and Estonia).
“The injury to Scott (Barron) hit us hard but sub Kevin O’Brien had a great international debut in winning two of his three matches. To be fair in the past we have beaten Scotland but they have still finished above us but this time they beat us fair and square and got their rewards with a fifth place finish,” added Barry.