On Sunday 26 February the Paperstation Malvern Table Tennis League held its 73rd annual tournament. Spectators were treated to a day filled with very high quality table tennis from players of all ages.
The main singles was contested by defending champion Craig Preece and former junior champion Dominic Weston (2 of 8 finalists who have come through the league’s highly successful coaching club) in one of the best finals in the tournament’s history with some great attacking play from both players. Dominic started well in his first senior singles final and won the first two games. Craig fought back well to take the third and then after saving a match point in the fourth went on to complete the comeback, winning the final game 11-7.
Dominic also reached the final of the Express TV doubles. He and partner Ben Meredith came up short in their first final as a pairing, losing in straight games to the more experienced team of Simon Claxton and Matt Hodges.
The number one ladies player, Anthea Knight, experienced mixed fortunes. She successfully defended her ladies singles title, beating Liz Hallam in the final. She didn’t fare so well when she and Colin Dolding attempted to defend their mixed doubles title against Jude Tyson and Graham Thompson, with Jude and Graham coming from behind to win the title for the first time. Anthea and Colin had a chance to put that defeat behind them in the Merediths division 2 doubles final. They started well by taking the first two games against Leon Claxton and Tom James, but Tom and Leon fought back to win the next three, clinching the title 12-10 in the fifth game. Colin did get a measure of revenge in his third final by beating Leon in four games.
The ladies doubles saw the sister pairing of Zoe and Natasha Snee go one step further than last year and win their first title with a come from behind victory over defending champions, Collette James and Jude Tyson. The youngest Snee sister Thea also competed in her first final but came out second best against Reece Taylor-Lock in the Payton Solicitors junior singles. Reece also competed in the final of the division 3 singles, a competition he won last year. His final with Neil Angell was a match of the day contender with Reece’s attacking play being well countered by Neil. Neil eventually emerged victorious in five games.
The senior singles saw Craig Preece hold off a spirited fightback from Patryk Kowacz to win in five games. Last year’s runner-up Simon Claxton went one better and clinched the Roy Holland veterans singles title narrowly edging out Nigel Foreshew in a five game thriller. Trevor Davies bested Graham Collier in a repeat of last year’s super-veterans singles final.
The division 3 doubles event saw four first time finalists. James Palmer and Bob Rhodes came from a game down to defeat Niels Eiriksson and John Redmond. The inter-divisional doubles event sees players being paired together according to rankings. Will Jones became a three times winner of the event when he and Martin Snee beat former champion John Stalker and his partner Mark Shouler in the final.
Many thanks to everyone who sponsored an event, Bill Nelson for arranging the tournament (get well soon Bill), everyone who helped move tables and barriers etc., everyone who helped out on the stage(Dave and Liz, Colin, Anthea, Ken, Gerald, Dave and Graham) and especially all competitors for their co-operation and the sportsmanship and spirit shown during the day. We look forward to doing it all again next year.