SASHA THOMAS SERVES UP A SHOCK
The preliminary stage of the DLP Adapted Bathrooms sponsored Divisional Singles Championships took place at the NSC on Wednesday 21st January. The biggest upset of the night was served-up by Sasha Thomas who plays for Peel B in Division Two. Thomas played some canny games to turn the form book upside down and reach the quarter-final stage. Similarly, Copy Shop’s Freya Melvin unexpectedly topped her group in Division Three.
Players were seeded based on their current league average and were systematically allocated into groups. Round robin matches were played over the best of five sets and the top two performers proceeded from their groups into the knock-out rounds. The IoMTTA chairman Maggie Mulhern was celebrating her birthday but that did not stop her from organising the event in her customary efficient manner. Next week the surviving players meet for the quarter-finals and the event should be concluded with the crowning of the new champions.
There were a couple of no-shows so fourteen competitors played in their original four groups. Group A included the current Island Champion Ronan McDonnell who was putting his studies on hold in order to defend his divisional title. The eighth-seed Mike Tamarov from ABC Arborsts and the ninth-seed Andy Horne from Strathy were unlucky enough to be drawn in that group, particularly as Tamarov was last year’s runner-up. The results went to form with Copy Shop’s McDonnell dropping just one set whereas Tamarov needed five sets and two tie-breakers to edge out Horne 5/11, 12/10, 5/11, 11/5, 12/10.
Group B also went to form. The second seed, Breakaway’s Paul Corran, was involved in three tie-breaks but only dropped one set for his three wins. Strathy’s Julian Briercliffe, the seventh-seed, went through with wins over Jane Kneale and Ben Christian who finished bottom of the group despite an exciting 12/14 leg against Corran.
The top seed in Group C, Hadyn McLarney, was not a ‘happy chappy’ after finishing fourth with no wins. The group was won by the Arborist Sam Bailey who was seeded eleventh based on just two matches following his recent return from working in Shanghai. However, the runner-up Keeran Chan from Breakaway really upset the form book, seeded fourteenth; he was not expected to beat either McLarney or sixth-seed Jason Quirk which he did 9/11, 11/8, 6/11, 11/3, 11/7.
Tower’s Paul Kozlowski was the top seed in Group D, so it was no real surprise that he won both his matches. However, Kozlowski afterwards announced that he would be unavailable to play in the quarter-finals. As a result twelfth-seeded Mike Bayley, was promoted to be the group winner following his narrow 6/11, 11/6, 13/11, 14/12 victory over fellow Tower A member Graham McFarlane who then went through by default.
The divisional quarter-finals to be played next week are:
Ronan McDonnell v Julian Briercliffe
Paul Corran v Mike Tamarov
Sam Bailey v Graham McFarlane
Mike Bayley v Keeran Chan
There should have been twenty two players split into six groups but in Group C two competitors failed to appear so third-seed Colin Brown representing Travellers B and thirteenth-seed Harry Walters from Peel B played their match, which Brown won 11/2, 12/10, 11/5. Both went through to the knock-out round.
In Group A the top seed, Surestrike’s Tim Baker went through without dropping a set. Max Walker beat his Copy Shop colleague Pedro Cardoso 8/11, 11/9, 11/8, 12/10 to take the runner-up place after they had both beaten Tower C’s Heather Kennett.
Group B also went to form with second-seed Travellers B’s Paul Mathieson-Nelson dominating proceedings. Peel’s Matty Evans was placed second with wins over Kevin Drewry and Alex Buck who was out of luck losing 10/12, 5/11, 11/6, 8/11 to twelfth-seed Drewry.
Fourth-seed Adam Davies from Copy Shop smashed his way to victory in Group D but it was a tight tussle for the runners-up spot between Tower’s Simon Radcliffe and Sasha Thomas who both out-hit hard bat specialist Margaret Forsyth. Fast improving Thomas turned the form book upside down to disappoint Radcliffe 9/11, 11/6, 7/11, 11/7, 11/9.
The fifth-seed, Manx Youth Games Table Tennis Co-ordinator Malc Lewis, made short work of David Buck representing Travellers and Tower’s Barry Jenkins in Group E. Fifteenth-seed Buck top-spun his way to the runners-up spot 12/10, 11/7, 11/7 against Jenkins.
In the final group sixth-seed Copy Shop coach Malcolm Lambert spun past Peel’s Nathan Evans and then overcame another Peel player seventh-seeded Steve Curtis 11/7, 11/0, 11/5 to top the group. Curtis chopped out Evans to take second spot.
First Knock-Out Round
As there had been six groups a knock-out round was needed to whittle the players down to the final eight. Harry Walters beat David Buck 11/8, 11/9, 9/11, 11/8. Sasha Thomas played brilliantly using controlled top-spin to negate the cut spin of Steve Curtis and go through 14/12, 12/10, 11/6. Malc Lewis was just too steady for Max Walker and similarly Malcolm Lambert used his experience to oust Matty Evans.
The quarter-finals to be played next week are therefore:
Tim Baker v Malcolm Lambert
Adam Davies v Harry Walters
Colin Brown v Sasha Thomas
Paul Nelson v Malc Lewis
There should have been twenty-one players split into seven groups. One person was unable to attend but it was too late to redraw the competition. Six of the top seven seeds progressed as expected but there was a slight upset in Group C where the third-seed Surestrike’s Frank Feeney was beaten 6/11, 11/8, 9/11, 7/11 by the twelfth-seed Freya Melvin. Feeney defeated Kyle Dodd from Copy Shop D to go through as the runner-up.
In Group A top-seed Matt Harvey representing Victory Roll Saints dropped just fifteen points over six sets to make it to the knock-out round. Fourteenth-seed Tiernan Garvey from the Junior Development squad had a titanic battle with Surestrike Ramsey’s Fin Hill to progress 6/11, 14/12, 14/12, 8/11, 12/10.
Second-seed Billy Cain went through in Group B accompanied by Tyler Hannay who eventually overcame Matthew Emison 8/11, 7/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/6. Fourth-seed Zac Walker made it through in Group D together with Junior Development’s Cameron Dudley who beat Copy Shop’s Pat Halliwell, over sixty years his senior, 11/9, 4/11, 11/8, 12/14, 13/11.
In Group E the fifth-seeded player Matty Kelly from Victory Roll Saints beat Billy Coulter of Copy Shop D 11/6, 11/5, 13/11 but both players went through due to the earlier mentioned ‘no-show’. Surestrike’s Kerenza Baker progressed from Group E as the sixth-seeded player and Breakaway’s ninth-seeded Jack Christian followed suit by beating Scott Horne from the Junior Development squad 8/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/3.
Jack Craik gave Surestrike another representative as the seventh-seed narrowly beat Breakaway’s Steve Walters who was seeded eighth. They both beat JD’s Josh Dudley so Walters went through as well.
First Knock-Out Round
There were no real surprises in the six knock-out matches as the higher seeded players all progressed to the quarter final stage. The results were as follows:
Freya Melvin beat Billy Coulter 11/4, 11/8, 11/3. Zac Walker whacked Steve Walters 11/3, 11/5, 11/8. Matty Kelly conquered Cameron Dudley 11/5, 11/4, 11/7. Kerenza Baker knocked out Tyler Hannay 11/3, 11/8, 11/6. Jack Christian scrapped past Jack Craik 11/8, 14/12, 6/11, 11/9 and Frank Feeney fended off Tiernan Garvey 11/4, 11/4, 11/5.
The quarter-finals to be played next week are therefore:
Matt Harvey v Zac Walker
Kerenza Baker v Jack Christian
Matty Kelly v Freya Melvin
Frank Feeney v Billy Cain
Manx Youth Games
To prove how quickly players progress if they practice it should be noted that Peel B’s Sasha Thomas and Harry Walters, plus the majority of the quarter-finalists in the Third Division, started playing table tennis at the Manx Youth Games and then graduated into the Senior League via the Junior League. This year the MYG takes place on Saturday 16th May and table tennis training sessions for 8-14 year olds begin in the last week of January as set out in the table below:
Region Venue Dates Times
West QEII Gym Tuesday 27 Jan: 18:00 – 19:00
East NSC Wednesday 28 Jan: 17:30 – 18:30
North RGS Gym Thursday 29 Jan: 18:30 – 20:30
South CRHS Friday 30 Jan: 19:00 – 20:00
All children are welcome and we coaches look forward to seeing you there.