Strong Line Up In Closed Tournament
Stephen Joslin

There is a large entry for this year’s Colchester and District Table Tennis League Tournament hosted by the Tollgate Table Tennis Club, at the Holmwood House School this coming weekend and the quality is exceptional too. This is none more so than in the Men’s event with the last five seasons all producing different winners all of whom are competing! Ironically it’s Jake Collins (Gt Horkesley A), twice Ipswich champion who is number one seed, ranked 72 in England in his first Colchester tournament where he is unbeaten in the league. Collins has however, recently undergone eye surgery and this will be his first appearance since then which is a concern. Last year’s champion Keiran Lally (Tollgate A) is number two seed and has also not lost in his limited appearances this season. 2010 winner Steve Joslin (H20 Rowhedge C) is number three seed and is in fine form following his success in winning the Chelmsford Men’s Singles last week. Andy Warner (Tollgate B) is another player on song and he will be hoping to repeat his success two years ago. It’s hard to see beyond these four to make the semi’s but add in Mike Wright (Gt Horkesley A), 2009 champion Greg Green (Tollgate A), Richard Goodhand (Gt Horkesley A), Colin Stallwood (Tollgate A), James Denyer (St James A), Nigel Hodder (Tollgate B), Gary Young (Gt Horkesley H) and Clacton Men’s champion Kevin Gowlett (H20 Rowhedge A) there will be plenty of quality competition for them. Throw in the two H20 Rowhedge youngsters Jermaine Fearon and Josh Sidki who no seed would be keen to have in their group where two will qualify to the knockout stage this year. Beware those in the group of death; Joslin, Sidki, Sam Hume, and Steve New playing his first Colchester tournament.

The prolific Aimee Sparkes (Gt Horkesley A) will be looking for her fifth Consecutive Colchester Ladies Singles title to add to her Ipswich one she also holds. The experience of Gill Locke (St James A) and twenty-two time winner Sue Welham (Tollgate A) will pose the main threat with fourteen year old Jane Li (Tollgate A) aiming to add to her Junior and Cadet titles she won last year. There is a first time entry for the exciting Lilo Roesch (University of Essex A) who is well capable of causing an upset or two!

Defending Men’s Doubles Champions Keiran Lally and Greg Green head a strong line-up that includes Jake Collins and the impressive Colin Bennett (Gt Horkesley A), Richard Goodhand and Mike Wright, Andy Warner and Nigel Hodder, Steve Joslin and Alan Burgess (H20 Rowhedge C) and the seven time winners Dave Moss and John Andrews (H20 Rowhedge A).

There are more strong pairings in the Ladies Doubles with holders Gill Locke and Annabelle Rodriguez (Tollgate C), Aimee Sparkes and Janet Faiers (Gt Horkesley C), Sue Welham and Lilo Roesch and youngsters Jane li and Gracie Edwards (H20 Rowhedge E) all vying for silverware.

Once again the Mixed Doubles appears the strongest field ever with new pairing Jake Collins an Aimee Sparkes the clear favourites. Twice winners and holders Gill Locke and James Denyer are number two seeds with another new partnership of Sue Welham and Keiran Lally and Jane Li and Greg Green completing the seeding’s. Watch out for the well suited Janet Faiers and Richard Goodhand, the scratch pairing of Gracie Edwards and Andy Warner, Annabelle Rodriguez and Colin Stallwood and the UOE’s Lilo Roesh and Matthew Horrocks.

The Vets 40+ is another difficult event to call with defending champion Kevin Gowlett who recently won in Chelmsford as well as holding the Clacton title a magnificent achievement in form. Previous winners Mike Wright and Nigel Hodder are joined by Tollgate’s Andy Warner, Colin Stallwood and Charlie Fulcher a truly great line-up.

Fulcher defends his Vets 50+ crown with Hodder, Ian Whiteside (Pegasus A) and Colin Webber (St James A) his main competition.

In the vets 60+ the previous four winners have won it between them on the past nine occasions all appear, messes’ Whiteside (incumbent), Burgess, Button (H20 Rowhedge B) and Warren (Gt Horkesley E).

James Denyer starts favourite to retain his Junior title but don’t right off the talented H20 Rowhedge duo of Jermaine Fearon and Josh Sidki who have continued to impress in the Premier Division this season!

Fearon and Sidki will start marginal favourites to win the Junior Doubles but watch out for Denyer and the improving Sam Hume (St James C) as well as Jane Li and Ben Page (Tollesbury A) likely to push them all the way.

Jane Li is red hot favourite to retain her Junior Girls title. She will be facing Gracie Edwards, the Granddaughter of Martin and Chris Edwards, Chloe Andrews the sister of Michael and Lauren James, daughter of the prolific Rik James.

There is also a good turnout in the Division One (especially) as well as Two, Three and Four Singles events where Ian Whiteside, Chris Brook (H20 Rowhedge F) and Paul Hewitt (Lawford C) are amongst the favourites.

The Tournament starts with the Handicap, Junior and Veteran’s events on Saturday 1st March with a new ‘Fun Doubles’ event added where partners are drawn. The Closed Championships and Divisional Singles are on Sunday 2nd March with the finals and presentations by the Mayor of Colchester starting at 6.30pm on the Sunday evening. Spectators and former players are welcome to attend, quality refreshments are provided!

Author: via Colchester Table Tennis League
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