This week saw the long awaited return of local table tennis action and 31 teams will be competing for the honours this season across 4 Divisions of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues.
It was a golden week for Guernsey in Gotland in the summer as the Island's leading players secured the top medal in the team event and the majority of players that contributed to that success were in action during the opening week's fixtures from the top flight.
The Channel Island's top player Garry Dodd leads a strong looking Whistlers A side alongside Mark Pipet and Martin Sarre and the outfit romped to a 10-0 whitewash over Lions C this week. The C side were the runaway winners of the 2nd Division last season and Jamie Ferbrache, Andy Gill and Ian Le Page will be looking at doing their best at this increased level of competition. The side were without Gill and Le Page on the night though and Andy and Brian Ferbrache stood in as reserves. Dodd, Pipet and Sarre made it look fairly easy and the only leg dropped was by Sarre, who edged through 12-10 in the 4th end of his match against Jamie.
Ben Foss was another player to represent the Island in Gotland and he will be looking to defend the Division 1 crown for Lions A alongside Paul Hainsworth and Dan Collenette. The Lions team faced off against a Whistlers C side containing another IG competitor Lawrence Stacey and despite Stacey's best efforts, the Lions side cruised to an 8-2 win. Hainsworth was the only player to come through the fixture with a 100% record due to his trio of singles wins. He comfortably overcame Ryan Gilson and Division 1 debutant and IG competitor Charlotte Casey in straight games, but needed to be near his best against Stacey, where he overturned a two game deficit to win 11-9 in the 5th and deciding end. Foss opened the evening with a narrow 5 game defeat to Stacey, but he bounced back well by beating Gilson in 4 and Casey without loss. Collenette's results were identical to Ben's, but he was very unfortunate to miss out during his clash with Stacey. Stacey had a commanding 7-3 lead in the 5th end, before Collenette came back to 9-9, before being narrowly edged out 11-9. Hainsworth and Foss combined strongly to win the doubles over Stacey and Gilson in straight games.
Joshua Stacey was fresh from his own heroics in Gotland and his Whistlers B side were the other victorious team this week after they edged past Lions B 6-4. Despite this fact, it was Phil Ogier who stole the show with an evening of high quality table tennis. He beat Sam Clark and Matthew Casey without conceding an end, but his best win came over Stacey in what was a fairly comfortable 4 set win. Ryan Bichard picked up a straight sets win over Clark, but the Lions side could not pick up the pivotal 5th or 6th wins on the night. Both Andre De Carteret and Bichard came very close to securing these wins, but each came off on the wrong side of 5 set losses to Casey. Stacey and Clark took the doubles rubber courtesy of a straight sets win over Bichard and De Carteret.
Whistlers D look like a force to be reckoned with this season and they cruised to a 10-0 whitewash over Lions F this week. Kay Chivers, Keith Opie and promising junior Ellis Tomlin all overcame Brian Ferbrache, Andy Ferbrache and Sue Ferbrache comfortably, with just 2 sets being dropped during the duration of the encounter. Chivers and Opie were also on hand to take the doubles rubber over Brian and Andy in straight sets.
As well as Tomlin, 2 other promising Juniors are the Brouard brothers Corey and Caden, who have the opportunity of being led by Jez Powell as part of Lions E this campaign. The side started strongly via an 8-2 win over Whistlers E and the fixture saw a trio of wins for both Powell and Corey after each beat Ken Falla, Sam Kershaw and Shane Cotter. Caden beat Cotter in straight games and was also very close to beating Falla, narrowly losing in 5 sets having led 2-1. The Brouard brothers combined excellently to earn a 5 set win over Sam and Shane in the doubles contest.
A healthy 8 team Division is the largest seen in recent memory for the third Division and the youthful Whistlers G side lead the way on games difference after the first week of matches. They were 8-2 victors over Lions J on the opening night of the season and both Callum Gilson and Ben Sharp were undefeated. Each came through against Graham Mallett, Derek Cave and reserve Graham Le Tissier. Reserve Max Burrows added a further victory over Le Tissier in straight games.