Brighton League Championships April 2014
Scott Scoops First Brighton Men’s Singles Title.
There was a healthy entry of 44 players into the Brighton League
Championships held on Sunday 27th April 2014 in Hollingbury TTC (Bevendean
School). All things considered, the event ran very smoothly and thanks to anyone
who helped out on the day. The Hollingbury club did particularly well, winning
eight events out of a possible 13. The club also provided 6.5 of the 13
runners-up and well over half the total entrants in the tournament.
 
Handicap Singles:
The first event was the handicap singles, which had five groups of three
players. In Group 1 all three players (Rory Scott, Jonathan Theodoridi and John
Ledward) won a match each and it was a count back situation, which was won by
Scott by virtue of a superior games difference. Theodoridi, who had beaten Scott
3-2 with a +6/-5 head start (i.e. an 11 point difference) up to 11 points, went
through as group runner up. In the quarter finals, Scott beat Jan Collado (who
had a one point head start) in the fifth set, Ollie Guile beat Tony Seaman (who
again had a one point head start) 3-0, Tony Wicks (with a 6 point head start)
beat Daniel Prakash 3-0 and finally Theodoridi (with a two point head start)
beat Danny Burns 3-1. Then in the semis Scott ended Guile’s run in a close
four-setter (the starts were +6/-6 in favour of Guile) and Theodoridi beat Wicks
3-0 in a scratch game. So Theodoridi and Scott met again in the final, but this
time Scott overturned the earlier result in a very close match, despite losing
the first two games (9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9) to take his third Brighton
Champs Handicap Singles Title (the first was back in 2001).
 
Handicap Doubles:
There were many close matches in the handicap doubles event. There were
eight pairs in the competition. The semi final line-up was Chris Pullinger and
Jan Austera (who had beaten Scott and Oliver Davis 14-12 in the fifth) Vs Danny
Burns and Minesh Agnihotri (who had knocked out Theodoridi and Tony Seaman in
the fifth) and then Jan Collado and Simon Knivett Vs Lee Weigelt and Tony Wicks.
Pullinger and Austera (with a +3 head start) lost to Burns and Agnihotri 12-10
in the fifth. Collado and Knivett beat Weigelt and Wicks 3-1 in a scratch game.
In the final Collado and Knivett won 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 vs Agnihotri &
Burns, who had a +4 head start.
 
Men’s Singles:
The Men’s Singles was the biggest event by far, with 30 entrants in ten
groups of three. There had to be a new champion this year, as there were no
previous champions in the draw. Other than the fact that Peter Bartram &
Andy Walker were not playing, the draw looked pretty strong and more open than
usual. Tim Holtam, the no. 1 seed made his way to the final with wins over
Daniel Prakash, Chris Pullinger, and Daniel Li, just dropping the one game to
Li. Li from Division 1, who had been runner-up in his group to team mate Junli
Loo, caused two big upsets, first coming back from 1-2 down to beat Tony Rowell
in the last 16 (Rowell had beaten eventual semi-finalist and no. 4 seed, Dave
Steel in the group) and then hammering no. 5 seed, Jan Collado 3-0! Pullinger
had had a couple of good wins himself, having beaten no. 8 seed, Faldie Adams in
the group and then a good 3-0 win over Shalim Ahmed.
 
On the other side of the draw, second seed Scott made his way to the final
with wins over Simon Knivett (who had a good group win over Dave Pringuer) 3-1,
no. 7 seed Ben Cooper 3-1 and Steel 3-0 in the semi final. Again there were some
notable upsets on this side of the draw too. The last 16 matches provided two
upsets. The bigger of the two was Division 1 player Loo, knocking out off-form
sixth seed Mark Collins, the recent semi-finalist in the men’s singles in the
Crawley & Horsham Championships (beating Scott 11-9 in the fifth in the
quarters). The other mini-upset was Steel, defeating third seed, Prakash Varsani
11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9. This meant that Steel and Loo met in the quarters and it
was the former, who emerged victorious 3-1.
 
So to the final. This was a very tight match with a good size crowd
watching and the players were both a bit tentative, with neither ever having
made it to the final before. The first game was crucial and it was close all the
way. Scott managed to take his third game point to win 14-12. In the second game
Scott got off to a flying start, to lead 8-1, with some errors from Holtam and a
couple of good ones from Scott. However, Holtam calmed himself & got it back
level, only to lose the second game 11-9. The third game was again close, with
Scott leading most of the time, until Holtam clinched it 11-9. In the fifth
there were more rallies, with neither player fully flowing & both opting to
slow down the pace a bit, which made for some good rallies, with Scott generally
back from the table, but mixing it up a bit and Holtam adopting the more modern
close to the table game. Again it was a close game and at match point, a Holtam
error gifted the Championship to a relieved Scott, who had now won three local
league titles this season (the others were Eastbourne and Redhill/Reigate) and
nine in total.
 
Men’s Consolation Singles:
The ten third-placed players from the men’s singles groups went into the
consolation singles. Theodoridi of Division 2, got a great close straight sets
win over Ollie Davis, of Division 1 in the quarters, but lost 3-0 to Viral
Varsani in the semis. In the other half youngster Ollie Guile of Division 2 had
a massive close 3-0 win over Ray Algar of Division 1 and then lost 3-0 to Ernest
Omane-Kodie in the semi. Omane-Kodie won the final 3-1.
 
Ladies Singles:
This was a round robin of 3 players, with top seed Sally Hughes winning
both of her matches and Bethany Pemberton-Hill overcoming Amy Choi, to come
second.
 
Mixed Doubles:
There were 4 pairs in this event. In the semis top seeds Scott and Hughes
beat Hugo Chan and Sarah Wong 3-0 and in the other half Knivett and
Pemberton-Hill beat Holtam and Choi 3-1. Scott and Hughes won the final 3-0 to
pick up their third and second titles of the day respectively.
 
Men’s Doubles:
There were 12 pairs in the men’s doubles in a knockout draw. The biggest
upset came in the quarter finals, where the top seeds Scott and Collins, who had
received a bye to get there, lost 11-9 in the deciding game to unseeded Collado
and Agnihotri. Scott and Collins had recently won the men’s doubles at the
Crawley and Horsham League Championships. The other top half quarter final was a
nail-biter with Steel and Cooper just getting over the line 11-9 in the fifth Vs
Loo and Li. In the lower half of the draw, father and son combination of Varsani
and Varsani upset the seedings to knock out third seeds Rowell and Adams in
three close games. The last quarter final was another close three-setter with
second seeds Holtam and Pringuer beating Pullinger and Omane-Kodie. Steel and
Cooper had a very comfortable semi vs Collado and Agnihotri and Holtam and
Pringuer defeated the Varsani’s in a close four-set match. The final was a
straight forward win for the favourites, Holtam and Pringuer, as Holtam picked
up his fifth men’s doubles title, mostly having played with different partners.
 
Ladies Doubles:
There were only two pairs in this event, so it was a straight final between
Hughes/Pemberton-Hill (premier/division 1) and Wong/Choi (both division 2) and
the underdogs Wong/Choi excelled to win 3-1, 11-5, 6-11, 13-11, 11-6.
 
Junior Singles:
There were seven players in two groups in this event. Favourite, Marcus
Bracey won Group 1, but Guile had a good win over ‘premier division’ club mate,
Joe Russell to take second place in the group. Russell lost both of his matches
11-7 in the fifth. There was an upset in Group 2, with Pemberton-Hill overcoming
second seed, Viral Varsani having trailed by two games to love. Varsani came
second in the group. Guile continued his good run of results in beating
Pemberton-Hill 3-0 in the semi final, while Bracey saw off the challenge of
Varsani in the other semi 3-1. In the final Bracey repeated his group straight
sets victory over Guile, although it was closer this time.
 
Veteran Singles:
There were 13 players in four groups in this event. There were a couple of
upsets in the groups, with Daniel Prakash beating third seed Rowell 3-0 and in a
mini-upset Pullinger beat Weigelt 3-1. In the quarters top seed Prakash Varsani
beat Agnihotri, Pullinger had a great win over Rowell 3-0, Weigelt beat Daniel
Prakash and Adams beat Wicks. In the semis Varsani won in straight serts over
Pullinger and fourth seed Weigelt upset the seedings to beat second seed Adams
3-1. The final went all the way with Varsani stumbling over the line 11-9, 6-11,
14-12, 7-11, 11-9, with Weigelt actually winning three more points than his
opponent.
 
Division 1 Singles:
There were five groups of three in this event. In group 1 Chan just held on
to the runners-up spot with an 11-9 in the fifth set win over Guile. However div
2 player Billy Keegan had a great win over div 1 player Wicks also 11-9 in the
fifth. Third seed, Oliver Davis lost to both Zhihong Zeng and Matthew Johnson in
the group to complete a miserable day, having entered 4 events & not won a
single match. In the quarters Bracey beat Harshad Chinchakikar, Agnihotri beat
Burns, Zeng beat Austera and Omane-Kodie beat Chan all in straight sets. The
semis were also 3-0 with Bracey too strong for Zeng and Omane-Kodie making short
work of Agnihotri. The final was more competitive, with Bracey coming through
5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 to win his second title of the day (out of two
entered).
 
Division 2 Singles:
There were initially 12 players in four groups of three, but following the
withdrawal of five players and the fact that it had been a long day for the
players, a decision was made to change to a knockout draw. There were three
quarter finals with Ian Peggs accounting for Johnson, Guile taking out Ian
Fowlds and favourite Wong (with 92% in the league) ending Austera’s hopes 11-4
in the fifth. Ed Taylor, who was fresh, as he had only entered the div 2
singles, beat Peggs in the first semi 11-6 in the fifth and Guile, who was
destroyed 4-11, 2-11 in the opening two games in his semi vs Wong, came back
from the dead to win the next three 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 to get to the final. The
final was almost the reverse of Guile’s semi, as he won two very easy games
(11-4, 11-1 in the third and fourth games) but lost the other three 13-11,
14-12, 12-10, as the title went to Taylor.
 
Best Performance Award:
This was a close call with Ollie Guile having had some excellent results,
Chris Pullinger having had two great wins over Tony Rowell and Faldie Adams and
Junyi Loo having beaten Mark Collins, but in the end it was decided to give the
award to Daniel Li for his quality wins over Tony Rowell and Jan Collado in
getting to the semi final of the men’s singles.
 
Final Results:
Men’s Singles:
Rory Scott (Hollingbury) beat Tim Holtam (Brighton City) 14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9
 
Men’s Consolation
Singles:
Ernest Omane-Kodie (Hollingbury) beat Viral Varsani (Hollingbury) 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7
 
Ladies Singles:
Sally Hughes (Hollingbury) beat Bethany Pemberton-Hill (Lancing) 13-11, 11-3, 11-7
 
Handicap Singles:
Rory Scott (Hollingbury) beat Jonathan Theodoridi (Hollingbury) 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9
 
Handicap Doubles:
Jan Collado (Hollingbury) and Simon Knivett (Lancing) beat Minesh Agnihotri and Danny Burns (both Hollingbury) 12-10, 11-9, 14-12
 
Men’s Doubles:
Tim Holtam and Dave Pringuer (both Brighton City) beat Dave Steel and Ben Cooper (both Hollingbury) 11-7, 11-9, 11-4
 
Mixed Doubles:
Rory Scott and Sally Hughes (both Hollingbury) beat Simon Knivett and Bethany Pemberton-Hill (both Lancing) 11-5, 11-9, 11-6
 
Ladies Doubles:
Sarah Wong (Hollingbury) and Amy Choi (Brighton University) beat Sally Hughes (Hollingbury) and Bethany Pemberton-Hill (Lancing) 11-5, 6-11, 13-11, 11-6
 
Junior Singles:
Marcus Bracey (Lancing) beat Ollie Guile (Brighton City) 11-8, 11-9, 11-6
 
Veterans Singles:
Prakash Varsani (Hollingbury) beat Lee Weigelt (Hollingbury) 11-9, 6-11, 14-12, 7-11, 11-9
 
Division 1 Singles:
Marcus Bracey (Lancing) beat Ernest Omane-Kodie (Hollingbury) 5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10
 
Division 2 Singles:
Ed Taylor (Railways) beat Ollie Guile (Brighton City) 13-11, 14-12, 4-11, 1-11, 12-10
 
Best Performance Award:
Daniel Li (Hollingbury)
 
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