Championships Review Part Two - Sunday
The sun is up. More bread is being sliced in the Dadswell Household. Players are awakening, the Saturday ones stiff as a jar top of old jam, the debut Sunday ones fresh as daisies and raring to go. Action kicks off at nine o’clock with the Group Stages of the ‘Blue Riband’ Mens Singles event. In Group One first seed, 2014/2015 winner and 2016 finalist Duncan Taylor has a comfortable start sweeping aside the challenges of Peter Ballard and Dan Anderson, while Ballard fights back from a two-game deficit to beat Anderson -9, -6, 8, 7, 9 to place as the group’s runner-up. In Group Two second seed Gary Young fights his way past the strong prospect of John Monk 8, 5, -7, 5 to progress as winner, and in Group Three Cameron Gray doesn’t intend on going down easy, but misses out to Lee McHugh -8, -10, -12 and third seed Kevin Read -12, -8, -3; the contest for group first place goes the distance, McHugh coming close to causing the first upset of the day but there was no cigar as Read won -8, 2, -8, 4, 7. The rest of the groups pretty much go with the seedings and the form book, and five setters are few and far between, with a few exceptions. Group Four sees fourth seed George Reeves as winner and Simon Jacob runner-up as all matches are decided in straight sets, while in Group Five fifth seed Keith Adams is winner and Ciaran Whelan runner-up; Adams pushed by Whelan winning 8, -8, 3, 9. In Group Six George Ashley gives runner-up Steve Maltby trouble succumbing -7, 7, -6, -10, and subsequently Maltby gives sixth seed Reece Seddon trouble succumbing -6, -7, 9, -8. In Group Seven seventh seed John Poysden takes no prisoners, storming past runner-up Hamish Innes 2, 3, 5 and Woodham’s Scott Perry 4, 6, 9; the match between Perry and Innes is extremely tight until Innes runs away in the fourth end 9, -9, 10, 3. Group Eight sees eighth seed Charles Sweeny as winner with Dick Wyman runner-up, while Group Nine sees a pimple marathon between Mapledene’s Chris Jacob and Restricted Singles winner David Gatheral, Jacob winning 7, 4, -6, -14, 5; Jacob is group winner also defeating Tim Cramphorn 2, 8, 10, while Cramphorn is runner-up beating Gatheral 10, 7, 15. In Group Ten Richard Storey is runner-up and ace defender Eric Green places as winner defeating Stow Maries clubmate Storey 11, 10, 6. Group Eleven is the closest fought of the lot, Peter Mynard beating Ben Matthews 9, -9, 8, -7, 9 to place as winner while Tom Elder beats Matthews 8, -7, -5, 8, 8 to place as runner-up. Group Twelve is a family affair plus Glenn Johnson, Johnson a comfortable group winner while Chris Hancox gets revenge from the Basildon League Tournament on daddy David Hancox winning 8, 7, -8, 5. Group Thirteen is lucky for some but not others, Ryan Pitt who plays his own branded style of table tennis is group winner defeating Dave Calleja in the topsy-turviest of matches -1, 5, 7, -4, 7, while Calleja places runner-up beating Anton Ranjit-Singh 8, 10, 5. In four-person Group Fourteen Mixed Open finalist Sam Lowman continues his Saturday form with an undefeated run, while runner-up is Colin Napper who defeats chop sizzler John Tendler -9, 6, 3, 4 and Vince Gurney -7, -9, 9, 2, 7. Neil Want is the winner of the penultimate group (Fifteen) beating Bill Smith and Alan Burgess, while Burgess is runner-up beating Smith. And finally Group Sixteen sees Barrie Delf as winner beating Steve Whiteley 7, 12, -8, -2, 7, and Whiteley runner-up beating Tim Huxtable.
Onwards to the knockout stage, in Round One Eric Green and Chris Hancox produce a bizarre scoreline which ends in Green’s favour 6, -6, 1, -6, 1, while Ryan Pitt versus Ciaran Whelan goes to the wire with Whelan winning 6, -7, 9, -9, 9. Son Simon Jacob defeats father Chris Jacob 6, 15, 7, and in an exceptionally close match Dick Wyman scores a fine fight-back win over Glenn Johnson -9, -8, 11, 11, 11, meanwhile Barrie Delf beats Tim Cramphorn 10, -7, -11, 6, 9. Hamish Innes leads Peter Mynard by 2-0 in games and 9-3 in the third, Mynard then pulling off a spectacular come-back winning -7, -3, 10, 8, 4. In the rest of Round One most of the seeds cruise past their various opponents, John Poysden versus Richard Storey a close finish with Poysden winning 7, 6, 15. Second seed Gary Young is pushed by Lee McHugh dropping the first end 8-11, but pulls through to win the next three 6, 8, 13. In arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far, unseeded John Monk knocks out number one seed Duncan Taylor 7, 9, 11, Monk showing his prowess against Taylor’s classic defence; on the other side of the coin, one might say this isn’t such an upset as, although unseeded, Monk won the Mens Singles event in 2013 and on his day is a tough, tough cookie. Round Two sees generally the expected winners/seeds progress mostly in straight sets, with a few exceptions; John Monk narrowly beats Simon Jacob 9, 8, -9, -7, 7, John Poysden does well to avenge a couple of league defeats beating Ciaran Whelan -8, 6, 12, 12, and in a classic attack versus defence battle eighth seed Charles Sweeny defeats Eric Green -9, 7, -5, 7, 9. The Quarter-Finals are all fought out between seeds with the exception of John Monk who takes the place of first seed Duncan Taylor to play eighth seed Charles Sweeny, Sweeny beating Monk -8, 8, 4, 5 to book his place in the Semi-Finals on Finals Night. Sweeny’s opponent will be Keith Adams who defeated Kevin Read -8, 6, 5, 8. The other Semi-Final will be between second seed Gary Young and sixth seed Reece Seddon; in the Quarters Seddon defeated George Reeves 9, -7, 6, -5, 5 and Young defeated John Poysden 7, -9, 5, 10.
The Ladies Singles event has six entrants, split into two groups with the top two players from each progressing to the Semi-Finals. In Group One Jean Chasmer is on good form to beat Shirley Carroll -6, 11, 7, 10, while Dawn Baldry beats both players relatively comfortably. Group Two, considering it only has three matches to be played, has surprising results! Val Board scores a truly excellent 8, -7, 6, 9 win over Jan Fuller, and in a marathon Fuller gets the better of Lin Roff -10, 16, 9, -9, 8. Roff beats Board -7, 4, 6, 10. In somewhat of an upset, on countback Val Board progresses as the runner-up. The Semi-Finals sees Dawn Baldry defeat Board 3, 9, 3, and Roff defeat her Ladies Doubles partner Chasmer 3, -10, 6, 7. The Final between the first seed Dawn Baldry and second seed Lin Roff to be played on Finals Night. The Ladies Doubles Final was contested between Lin Roff/Jean Chasmer and title holders Dawn Baldry/Shirley Carroll. In a match that swung this way and that it was the steady, consistent play of Roff/Chasmer that won the day and with a very close fifth end they won 6, -6, 6, -4, 11 to capture their first Ladies Doubles title as a partnership.
Round One of the Mens Doubles sees some long, epic matches; Alan Burgess/David Gatheral fighting back from two-nil down against Bill Smith/John Tendler to win -7, -16, 6, 16, 8, while Allan Steel/Scott Perry also beat John Knights/Neil Want over five ends. The allegedly miss-matched pairing (admitted by the players themselves) of Richard Storey/Ryan Pitt push the awkward “Wall Combo” Barrie Delf/Glenn Johnson before succumbing -5, -14, 11, -7. In a 100% Cold Norton affair Sam Lowman/Steve Maltby defeat the Hancox duo -9, 5, 7, 9. In Round Two the pair with the lowest combined age, Cameron Gray/George Ashley, are knocked out by Delf/Johnson -8, -2, -14, and the hard-hitting righty-lefty Maldon pair Steve Whiteley/Ciaran Whelan get past the pimple defence-forehand smacker pair Dan Anderson/Lee McHugh -9, 11, 8, 5. Third seeds George Reeves/Reece Seddon defeat Simon Jacob/Charles Sweeny 9, 11, 10 to book their place in the Quarter-Finals stage. The Quarters see top seeds Kevin Read/Duncan Taylor beat Delf/Johnson in straight sets, while second seeds John Poysden/Gary Young beat Dave Calleja/Tim Cramphorn by the same margin. Surprise pairing Alan Burgess/David Gatheral prove tricky opposition to Reeves/Seddon and looked to be on the verge of causing a huge upset, but it was not to be as Reeves/Seddon compose themselves to win -8, -3, 2, 8, 2. In the final Quarter fourth seeds regular pairing Keith Adams/Peter Mynard beat Whiteley/Whelan 5, -7, 3, 8. The Semi-Finals are both decided in straight sets although the scorelines were tight, first seeds Read/Taylor beating fourth seeds Adams/Mynard 5, 9, 10, and second seeds Poysden/Young beating third seeds Reeves/Seddon 9, 10, 9. The Final to be played on Finals Night.
The Mixed Doubles (One Lady, One Man) is structured into two groups, the top two pairs of each progressing into the Semi-Finals. Group One is dominated by Lin Roff/Duncan Taylor, and to progress in second position is Maldon’s Shirley Carroll/Steve Whiteley who score an impressive straight-sets win over Jean Chasmer/John Monk. Group Two is fought between Woodham’s Val Board/Allan Steel, Jan Fuller/Gary Young and last year's finalists Dawn Baldry/Ciaran Whelan. Board/Steel lose both their matches but do not disgrace themselves, losing 10, 3, 9 to Baldry/Whelan. In a real see-saw match Fuller/Young defeat Baldry/Whelan 10, -2 6, -6, 7 to place as group winners. At the Semi-Finals stage Fuller/Young beat Carroll/Whiteley 3, -5, 3, 7, and in an extremely close encounter Baldry/Whelan get the better of Roff/Taylor 9, 11, -10, -9, 8. The Final between Fuller/Young and Baldry/Whelan (a repeat of their Group Two match) to be played on Finals Night.
[Unfortunately no photos of this event]
The Plate event is a newly introduced competition this year, composed of all players who do not make it through their groups of the Mens Singles and Ladies Singles. The opening rounds see quite a few 3-0 results; Shirley Carroll beating Tim Huxtable, Victor Chan beating Jan Fuller, Dan Anderson beating David Hancox, Ben Matthews beating Peter Mortensen. Big Server Bill Smith has to pull out the stops against Cameron Gray, winning 8, 8, -10, 9, 8, while Roger Hance also defeats Anton Ranjit-Singh over five ends having fought back from two-nil down. In the next round Ben Matthews eases past Vince Gurney and I personally would've predicted Matthews to win this event, but I would have been wrong as Big Server Bill knocks him out at the Quarter-Finals stage 6, 8, -5 -5, 4. The other Quarter-Finals see an impressive 7, 9, 10 win for Dan Anderson over John Tendler, Roger Hance beats Shirley Carroll 8, 3, -10, 6, and David Gatheral beats Victor Chan 7, 9, 4 to Chan's absolute dismay. The Semi-Finals see a relatively straight-forward success for Big Server Bill Smith over the quickly improving Roger Hance, and in a battle of long pimples Dan Anderson races into a two-nil lead against David Gatheral, before Gatheral displays his - how should I put it - cool and collectedness to take the next three ends 6, 6, 7 to book his place in the Final. The Final between DG and Big Server is a worthy one and both players really want that plate (flowery patterned from Ikea), and it was Mr Gatheral who achieved victory 7, 4, -8, 9 to add his second title of the weekend to the Restricted Singles whisky cup.
The Veterans Singles (Over 40s) is an event that is almost as long as the Mens Singles (a bit of a comment on how many of the league's players are Vets!), although shortened by being a straight knockout. Round One sees the match between Lin Roff and Dick Wyman go the distance, Roff winning 12-10 in the fifth, while an exceptionally close three-ender sees John Tendler beat Bill Smth 12, 8, 10. Keith Adams, Steve Maltby and John Poysden need four ends to get past Hamish Innes, Mike Burton and David Gatheral respectively. Ray Cheung pushes Neil Want all the way before succumbing 5-11 in the fifth end. Round Two doesn’t see any shock results, although we were close when Neil Want led John Monk 2-1, before Monk pulled away to win the next two ends 5, 5. A close match is fought out between teammates Dawn Baldry and Colin Napper, Napper winning -7, 7, 3, -11, 13. The Quarter-Finals are very high level and competitive, the closest match between John Poysden and Kevin Read, which Read wins -8, 8, 10, -6, 7; in the other Quarters Duncan Taylor beats Glenn Johnson 8, 5, 4, Gary Young beats John Monk 8, 7, -10, 8 and George Reeves beats Keith Adams 6, 8, -9, 9. The Semi-Finals see an extremely impressive, rapid 4, 2, 8 win for Gary Young over George Reeves; the other Semi is an attack versus defence marathon of epic proportions between doubles partners Duncan Taylor and Kevin Read, who must know each other's games like the back of their hands, and in the end it was Read who came through -7, 8, 9, -8, 9. The Final between second seed Gary Young and third seed Kevin Read to be played on Finals Night.
The Veterans Doubles (Over 40s) is always top notch TT. In Round One the second division shakehand/penhold pairing of David Hancox/Ray Cheung score a really quite impressive win over Mapledene's John Tendler/Matt Rolfe 6, -5, 9, -11, 9. The lovable Peter Ballard/Val Board (sorry Mr Goody that title is no longer exclusive to you) catch an unlucky first round draw in fourth seeds George Reeves/Bill Smith who run out comfortable straight-sets winners. Mr Alan Dadswell who had spent the most of the weekend behind the control table finally gets to stretch his legs again as he fills in as David Gatheral's partner, and stretch his legs Dadswell did as their first match against the classic combo of Neil Want/John Knights is an absolute marathon, Dadswell/Gatheral taking the first two ends 9, 14, and Want/Knights fighting back to parity 9, 7, (with interlude commentary from John Knights over by the playing barriers); the fifth and final end brings us to an epic conclusion with Dadswell/Gatheral winning 19-17! In the next round it was time up for Hancox/Cheung as they cocked second seeds Young/Poysden, and the same went for Dave Calleja/Tim Cramphorn as they were drawn against third seeds Keith Adams/Glenn Johnson. The Quarter-Finals are all decided in straight-sets, with first seeds and title holders Kevin Read/Duncan Taylor beating Dick Wyman/John Monk, Poysden/Young beating Dadswell/Gatheral, and Reeves/Smith beating Steve Whiteley/Steve Maltby. The Semi-Finals are closer, Read/Taylor beating Reeves/Smith 4, 2, -6, 2, and the other is especially close with third seeds Adams/Johnson defeating second seeds Young/Poysden 8, 9, -8, 10. The Final is one of the very last matches played at the weekend and although Adams/Johnson pushed hard, Read and Taylor's experienced partnership shone through to victory as they won 4, -10, 3, 8 to retain their title.
The Super Veterans of the Over 60s Singles event displays some superb table tennis and proves that this is truly a sport for life - in fact I would say that some of these gentlemen are fitter than many of the younger players! Round One sees a five-ends win for Roger Hance over Peter Ballard, and Glenn Johnson gets the better of the uniquely styled John Tendler 11, 9, 13. Third seed Steve Whiteley draws a tricky first round opponent in Alan Burgess but comes through to win over four ends. Hamish Innes shows great form to despatch the hard-hitting Dick Wyman 3, 6, 8, and in the next round Innes comes up against the uniquely styled Chris Jacob, which is a real see-saw of a match which Jacob wins 5, -8, 8, -8, 9. Round Two sees number one seed and title holder John Poysden pushed all the way (and then some) by Tim Cramphorn; in a tense nail-biter Mr Tenacious (Poysden) fights back from a two-game deficit and just makes it over the line -9, -12, 2, 10, 14 with a fortunate edge point near the end. The Semi-Finals see a straight-sets win for John Poysden over Chris Jacob, and third seed Steve Whiteley defeat second seed Glenn Johnson 10, 8, -6, -8, 5. The Final is one of the last matches played on Sunday evening - a match between two fierce, relentless attackers, you never would have believed these guys had been playing all day judging by the phenomenal display of table tennis they put on. Whiteley comes out of the starting blocks like a hound on heat taking the first end 11-8, and Poysden with his staple counter-hitting game levels taking the second end 12-10. Whiteley's determination to win this event shines through as he wins the third end by an even finer margin 13-11 and looks to have the upper hand, but why do we call John Poysden Mr Tenacious? Because he just does not let go no matter how much you beg - Poysden takes the fourth and fifth ends 11-6, 13-11 to retain an extremely hard-fought title.
Part Three (Finals Night) to follow.
Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League