An excellent crowd of nearly 100 people (young and old) watched a strong line-up for this year’s Championship Finals Night at the Coaver Club compete in a series of absorbing matches for the various League trophies.
NEW Much of the action can now be viewed online on youtube (search for youtube EDTTL 2016 or thettnut) - thanks Howard!
Our thanks to John Shearman for organizing, and for the following report:
The first two contests were the Semi Finals of the Whitton Cup. In the first, the number one seed Rory Harries was tamed by Kevin Nicholls whose clever use of angles spins and deception saw him the winner in five sets 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7.
The second semi-final saw last season’s winner Dawid Gawron against the number two seed Mike Hugh. Mike started quickly winning the first set 11-6. In the second set Dawid came back to just take the set 12-10. In the third Dawid led 10-8 but Mike fought back to take this 14-12. This was the turning point and Mike pressed home his advantage to take the forth 11-5 to win 3-1.
Kevin Nicholls then made his second (of five) appearances of the night partnering Jackie Whitehorn in the Mixed Doubles Final against Penny Perry and Dennis Gibbs. The experienced pair of Penny and Dennis maintained control throughout most of this match fending off the revival in the third set to take the match 11-4, 11-7, 11-13, 11-5.
Dennis and Kevin stayed on the table to play the Veterans Singles Final before the interval. Kevin won the close first set 11-9 before Dennis dominated the rest of the match and won the next three sets 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 to win the final and retain his title.
The first match after the interval saw Dennis and Kevin on the same side of the net in the finals of the mens doubles. Their opponents were the defending champions Dawid Gawron and John Shearman. Dawid and John started fast, winning the first two sets 11-5, 11-6 before Dennis and Kevin stemmed the tide and won the third 11-6. Dawid and John again started quick and built up an early lead in the fourth to win 11-6 and retain the title. The consistency of the strong Dawid backhand was the star of this match.
The Sanford Cup Final saw the number one seed Gavin Larkin take on Mark Bennett, who was third in the averages in Division 2. Both players were newcomers to the large Coaver arena, and understandably a little nervous. Mark struggled to recapture the fine performance he had shown on Sunday (to beat the number two seed Masashi Ujiie), as Gavin took the title in three sets 11-4, 11-6, 11-6. Undoubtedly there is more to come from both players in the future.
In the last match of the evening Kevin Nicholls made his fifth appearance to take on Mike Hugh in the final of the Whitton Cup. Having watched Kevin earlier in the night against Rory and Dennis, Mike seemed to have planned well for this match. His strong services together with third ball attacks saw him take early leads and keep them. He angled the ball well and even Kevin’s defence could not win him enough points as Mike took the title with a standout performance 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.
Overall, some impressive performances from the best of the Exeter League, warmly applauded by the knowledgeable crowd (juniors, seniors and veterans).
Amongst the wide range of League trophies presented was the Keith Ponting Shield. This was presented by Rosemary Ponting to Penny Perry.
The Keith Ponting Shield is awarded for outstanding contributions in organizational and/or playing roles.
The citation for Penny, based on nominations from league members, was for both (i) her outstanding work in reinvigorating junior table-tennis in our area (ii) her outstanding contribution over many years as a player and role model, especially but not only for female players.