Over 3 months have now passed since the last competitive table tennis action took place locally and who would have guessed that this would occur after completion of the last Doric Insurance sponsored senior league matches on Thursday 12th March 2020.
The consequences and worldwide exposure of COVID-19 have been far reaching and this is not the place for reflection on that specifically. The Guernsey Table Tennis Association were however prompt in their actions during these unprecedented times and suspended all competitive play on 15th March before the centre was officially closed on 21st March.
Largely the 2019/20 season was close to completion and the Island Championships were set to commence just 1 day prior to the official closure of the centre.
The local leagues themselves were also very close to completion, with just 5 fixtures left in each of the 4 Divisions.
The Association have recently reached the decision to terminate the leagues and have subsequently used a 'points per game' formula to calculate the final league standings. This formula has in fact made no change to the standings prior to termination.
The consequence of this decision is that Whistlers Table Tennis Club and Lions Table Tennis Club are the big winners, with each claiming 2 Divisional titles.
Whistlers had finally gotten their hands on the 1st Division crown for the first time in 24 years last season and they have followed up with another title this time out. It was the Whistlers B side of Lawrence Stacey, Matthew Casey and Ryan Gilson that took the honours last year, however they could not defend the title as the 'A' side this year, as it was again the B side that took the honours. Josh Stacey, Mark Pipet and Ellis Tomlin were part of this outfit and worthy winners due to the hefty 7 point lead they held from the defending champions at the time of termination. They had a tough start to the season losing 2 of their first 3 matches, but finished impeccably with 10 straight victories. Josh was also leading the averages at the point of termination, having lost just 6 singles matches from the 60 contested. Phil Ogier from Lions B also had a strong season and finished as runner-up.
The 2nd Division was the closest contested of them all and in the end Lions F edged this by virtue of them holding a single point lead from Whistlers C at the point of termination. Jez Powell, Caden Brouard and Andy Ferbrache navigated the hard fought Division which had been increased in quality due to the split of teams between the 2nd and 3rd Divisions. The runners-up of Kay Chivers, Keith Opie and Ben Sharp may feel hard done by as they were still in contention of clinching the title due to it being so closely contested, however on balance the Lions side were worthy winners due to winning twice, drawing once and losing once to their league rivals over the course of the season. Powell and Chivers found themselves locked at the top of the averages as each had a matching record of 63 wins out of the 66 singles matches contested. Lions G's Luke Le Tissier made a successful return to the sport and finished next highest in the averages.
The 3rd Division was the most emphatic of all as Lions F held a whopping 10 point advantage at the point of termination and only needed a single point to seal the title. The team of Brian Ferbrache, Sue Ferbrache and Jonah Ingrouille were one of the teams dropped to the 3rd by the Association and they showed their quality in a season which only saw 1 loss during the 2nd match of the season. Steve Potter was also a regular addition to the team and he filled in to good effect towards the second half of the season when he replaced Sue. It was in fact Ferbrache and Potter that finished in the top 2 spots in the averages. The runners-up in the Division were the Whistlers E squad of Ian Fitchet, Becks O'Keefe, Callum Gilson and Max Burrows.
The 4th Division was another fairly emphatic title win as the Whistlers G side of Stuart Sarre, Darren Sarre and Matthew Board held a 5 point lead over the Ravenscroft Panthers D side of Oscar Pearson, Shelby Timms and Tia Timms. In the end, it was only a few matches prior to termination that the league victors dropped points for the first time and this was via a 6-4 defeat to a Pearson inspired Panthers side. The league victors were similar to the Division 3 winning Lions side in that they were effectively dropped a Division and their quality was also evident for all to see. Stuart ended up runner-up in the averages alongside Mark Bideau on 90% of singles wins, but it was Pearson that ended up taking the spoils due to his 91.23% winning ratio.
Typically a league presentation evening concludes the action within the league seasons, however this is now expected to be arranged for a later point in the year.
On a tournaments front, any event scheduled for between March and May will be rescheduled to September or later when the 2020/21 league season is expected to commence.