The 2013 Divisional Singles Championships took place at the NSC last Wednesday. Players were seeded based on their league average and were systematically allocated into groups. Round robin matches were played and the top two performers proceeded to the knock-out rounds. All the matches were played over the best of five sets and thanks to the slick organisation of Maggie Mulhern and Mike Bayley the tournament was successfully concluded that evening.


The 18 competitors were divided into three groups of four players and two groups of three. Group one included the current Island Champion Ronan McDonnell who duly dispatched Darren Smethurst and Tim Baker in straight sets to go directly through to the quarter finals. Baker bashed ‘Smasher Smethurst’ 11/9, 11/6, 11/8 which enabled him to proceed to round one of the knock-outs.


Group two was a tight tussle. Danny Hamill lost to Becky Bayley and Mikhail Tamarov but beat Malcolm Cummings who crashed out even though he overcame one of the eventual finalists, Tamarov, in straights. Tamarov topped the group by beating both Hamill and Bayley who qualified in second place following a marathon match with Cummings which she eventually won 11/9, 7/11, 13/15, 12/10 11/7.


The third group had to be decided on game difference as three players won two matches each. Marc Townsend lost all his matches and so was placed fourth in the group and his results were not included in the countback calculations. Ruth Bailey beat Mason McLarney 3-0 and narrowly lost to Julian Briercliffe 2-3 so won the group with a game difference of +2. McLarney finished 3-3 to go through second after beating the countback casualty Briercliffe 3-0.


Paul Corran dominated the fourth group winning all his matches. Jason Quirk came second by beating both Jane Kneale and Sean Drewry who had their own battle to avoid the wooden spoon which went to Kneale who lost 8/11, 7/11, 9/11 against Drewry.


Ewan Watterson took the final group with a narrow 11/13, 11/9, 6/11, 11/2, 11/8 victory over third placed Hadyn McLarney and a straight sets win over John Magnall who had beaten McLarney over four sets. Becky and Mason met in round one with McLarney prevailing 8/11, 11/4, 11/8, 6/11, 11/5. Magnall won the other round one match 3-1 against Baker.

McDonnell was the first successful semi-finalist beating Mason McLarney 11/3, 11/9, 11/9. Tamarov was the next through after coming back from two sets down to disappoint his Arbory team-mate Magnall 11/13, 7/11, 11/9, 11/7, 11/9. Corran conquered Watterson 11/2, 6/11, 11/5, 11/6 and after the longest individual leg of the night Quirk quelled Ruth 18/20, 15/13, 11/9, 11/5.

McDonnell advanced to the final with a thrilling three sets win over Corran where, after another Arbory affair, Tamarov joined him having jinxed Quirk 4/11, 15/13, 11/7, 11/9. McDonnell, who is unbeaten this season in the league, played at his devastating best to win the singles title 11/7, 11/5, 11/4 against the pen-holder Tamarov, who being ranked 9th, exceeded his own expectations by reaching the final.



The fourth seed Paul Kozlowski won all his group matches and was joined in the semi-finals by Graham McFarlane who had also beaten the first seed Mike Bayley, as well as Colin Barron and Steve Curtis. Bayley battled back to beat Barron and Curtis to finish third with two wins and two losses. Curtis and Barron chopped and chipped their way through their wooden spoon decider which went to a fifth set where Barron capitulated against the ultra-steady Curtis.

In the other group, second seed Nigel Beattie smashed his way through to the semi-finals without dropping a set, whilst his sixth seeded Salmon River Spinner’s colleague, Tommy Cowin, also went through as he only lost to Beattie. Third seed Neil Quane could only finish third in the group after beating Steve Ellis-Pearson and Dave Callow who unfortunately propped-up the group by losing 11/4, 4/11, 7/11, 4/11 to Ellis-Pearson.


Beattie won the first semi-final in typical top-spinning style against the counter attacking McFarlane who went out 4/11, 5/11, 10/12. The left hander, Kozlowski was caught cold by Cowan in the first set of their semi but Kozlowski cranked-up his slicing forehand to power through in four sets. The final was full of fast and furious rallies and although Kozlowski won the opening leg, Beattie secured the second division title 5/11, 11/9, 11/7, 11/5.


Fraser Dorling beat Pat Halliwell 11/9, 12/10, 11/6 to lead group one and they both went through to the quarter finals as top seed Malcolm Lambert managed to lose both his round robin matches.


Second seed Aaron Faragher came through his group unscathed and tenth seed Pedro Cardoso was placed second on countback as he had beaten his Copy Shop team-mate Henry Hyde 3-1 and lost to Alex Buck 2-3 giving him a +1 games difference.  Hyde was placed third having beaten Buck 3-1.


Third seed Rob Sim sailed through his group and George Melvin was placed second after an 11/6, 11/6, 11/5 win over Nathan Evans. In the final group fourth seed Kevin Drewry was just too canny for the hard hitting David Buck and young Juan Moore who lost out on second spot to Buck 4/11, 7/11, 11/7, 6/11.


Copy Shop’s Cardoso cruised through to the semi-finals in straight sets against Dorling and Sim did likewise by beating David Buck over four close sets. Breakaway’s Faragher justified his high seeding by halting Halliwell and Drewry dispatched Melvin in their all Copy Shop D quarter-final.


Cardoso played some inspired shots to make the final in a free flowing encounter with Drewry which was settled 13/11 in the last leg. Sim won his first two legs against young Faragher but managed to lose the next three, so Faragher faced Cardoso in a closely contested final full of attacking play. The third set proved pivotal, it went to Faragher who won the divisional title 11/7, 7/11, 13/11, 11/8.




Author: via Isle Of Man Table Tennis Association
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