Southend & District Table Tennis league’s
2013 Annual Closed Report
Kevin Read, Caroline Cole and Charlie Bates star at the Southend & District Table Tennis League's 2013 Closed Championships' Final Night
Many said this year's Final Night was one of the best ever. The evening commenced with the 2 Men's Semi Finals and immediately there was a major upset. Chelmsford Men's Singles Champion, Alex Abbott (Thorpe Bay) was a hot favourite to reach the Final and, as last year, make a big challenge to the 2012 Champion, Kevin Caldon. Rawreth A's Kevin Read had other ideas and simply played out of his skin, totally dominating the match to run out a 3 Sets to 1 winner to reach the Final, winning 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7.
In the other Semi Final, former England ranked and current Southend Champion, Kevin Caldon, proved too strong on the day for Keith Adams, dominating the match and reaching the Final to play Kevin Read: on this form there seemed little doubt where the title was going to go, Kevin wining 11-1, 11-2, 11-6
On to the Final, where Kevin Caldon was a hot favourite to retain his title. Kevin Read then amazed us all, as he took complete control. Kevin Caldon’s deadly spin attack on both sides, usually proves too much for opponents at local League level, accounting for his 100% record in the Premier Division this Season. But on this occasion, Kevin Read's powerful topspin attack on both wings was simply too strong. As captain of Premier Champions, Rawreth A, Kevin has been a popular member of our League, always one of our top players, but never quite clinching the big prize. Quite simply this year, Kevin outplayed everyone: a very popular Champion; winning the title in 4 sets 11-9,10-12, 11-8, 11-9
The Ladies Final also produced an upset. Champion for the past 2 years , Essex County player and Southend Premier Star, Rawreth 's Emily Godfrey, was expected to repeat her 2011 success over Ressc - Rawreth's Caroline Cole. In 2011 their match went to 5 sets and this was to occur again. Emily has a great loop attack, but she was pegged back on her backhand for long spells and when she was able to attack, Caroline produced some great counter hits. With a set each, a long 3rd set went 12-10 in Emily's favour and the title looked hers; but back came Caroline to take the 4th set and it was neck and neck until 10 all in the 5th: anyone's title, but Caroline took the final 2 points and the title, winning 5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10
The under 21s, our new event of the past 2 seasons, has proved very popular. This year we had 20 entrants and had this not been limited to those who had played 3 league matches, there would have been many more. The top 2 seeds duly reached the Final: Charlie Bates (Lentern) and Keiran Skeggs (Thorpe Bay). Both have improved immensely over the past 12 months. Charlie has 75% in the Premier and Keiran 50%. No doubt the future will see many close encounters between them, but at present, Charlie just shades it and this was to be the case in the Final. Both have powerful attacks, with Charlie's just a little stronger. In this match, the 3rd Set was won by Keiran 23-21, but Charlie maintained control, winning the title 11-9, 11-5, 21-23, 11-3
Alex Abbott made up slightly for his disappointment in the Men’s Singles by having a comfortable win over Dave Bowles in the Vet’s Singles Final; winning 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4. Flamboyant Dave, never really produced the excellent level he reached in the earlier rounds. At one set all we were all looking forward to a tight game, but Alex took control and won the final 2 games with ease. At the interval Dave Bowles told the spectators that he and Stuart Gibbs had now been representing Essex for 50 years (he didn't mention all the trophies they had won, gaining many friends on the way): everyone gave a great ovation.
In the Men's Doubles, Dave Bowles moved up a gear and with regular Finalist, George Reeves they won a thrilling 5 setter against reigning Champions, Duncan Taylor & Kevin Read, winning 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5: in the Mixed Doubles, we saw a return, after many years, of former England Number 3 Cadet, Maxine Abbott, who with her talented brother Alex, beat Caroline Cole & George Reeves 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6. The final Doubles match, the Vet’s, saw Alex Abbott take his 3rd title of the evening, this time with his Partner and club mate, John Poysden, beating the current Champions, John Monk & Gary Baker 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9.
The other match to be played on the night was the Division Three Restricted Final between Hullbridge juniors, Dan Payne and Zoe Davies. As they were both Hullbridge Juniors, their coach, Howard Grant, felt it would be nice if they played their Final, at the Venue where they are coached and that we agreed to. We were not disappointed in that these 2 juniors, neither seeded in this event, gave us all a glimpse of what is going on in Southend’s fabulous junior scene at Hullbridge (Howard Grant, Lee Grant & Matt Rolfe) and Rawreth Juniors (Andy Nunn & Mel Jones). Dan and Zoe displayed emerging talents, Zoe with constant forehand attack, whilst Dan countered with a very impressive defence for someone new to the game. In the end Dan's defence won the day winning the title 11-5, 11-9, 11-7
During the preceding week and weekend other events were concluded:
On Tuesday at the Warehouse Centre Caroline Cole and Emily Godfrey beat Maxine Abbott and Ro Brett to take the Ladies Doubles title 11-9, 11-7, 11-9
In the Restricted events the Premier saw Charles Sweeney beat Adam Brewer in a very close encounter winning 9-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11: the Division One title went to the ever consistent and talented Roy Thomas who beat Mick Tappenden 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 and finally the Division Two title went to Craig Harris, who beat Peter Cray in a tough 5 setter 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8
In the Over 60s, popular Maldon Chairman, John Cleasby, beat the ever consistent Peter Saunders 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, Peter making up for his disappointment by taking the Over 70s title beating former Premier star Peter Pond 11-7, 11-6, 11-7
The final events were put on by us to provide extra matches for ‘Competition and Fun’; theses were
1) The new Handicap Team event, run along the old Rose Bowl Competition lines, this was won by Stuart Gibbs, Charlie Bates and Ben Matthews who, in the Final beat Andy Seabrook, Richard Stubbington and Craig Harris.
2) The Handicap Singles, couldn’t be finished on the day. Due to our Commitments, we would not be able to play the outstanding 2 matches for several weeks and as it was intended to be a fun event, we decided that a fair outcome, would be to call the event a three way tie and award winning trophies to James McDowall, Glen Johnson and John Tendler.
3) The popular Drawn Doubles again didn’t disappoint, with plenty of good matches, none less so, than the Final, which saw Juniors, Charlie Bates and Zoe Davies just lose out to Barry Delf and Peter Cray in four sets.
4) The final event was the Men’s Singles Plate. This event is for all those knocked out in the first round or earlier. A surprise defeat by Django Fung over seeded Duncan Taylor relegated Duncan to the Plate. In consequence the Men’s Plate Event produced its highest quality winner ever, with Duncan defeating his Rayleigh Mill’s team mate, Russell Mills in the Final.
Many of the 120 participants said that this was the best Southend Closed Championships they have ever been too: we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did running it.
Thanks go to many and if we missed some out, you were still much appreciated. To Graham Back of the Warehouse Centre and his colleagues, to Howard Grant, Jayne Johnson, Danny Gatehouse of the Hullbridge Sports Association, to the staff at Rayleigh Leisure Centre, to the Rawreth Table Tennis Club, to the various Umpires during the weekend and particularly on Finals night, to the Basildon Table Tennis League for the use of their Dividers and to Anthon Ranjit-Singh for all the help he gave, to Topspin for the Tables, Nets and Dividers, to Karl Dorn for running Friday at the Warehouse Centre, to Lou Hopkins for running the over 70s, to Kevin and Carol Caldon for running the Friday at Hullbridge and to Howard Grant for setting up and taking it all down on the three days there; to Berti for our Web Photos, To Kevin Read, George Reeves and John Poysden our Seeding Committee; to all those who helped put up and take down the Tables etc. Finally to all our Members who supported these Championships and made this such a memorable Championships.
We thoroughly enjoyed running this event, seeing some great matches from Vets, Seniors and Juniors and meeting many of our friends during the week.
We feel that these Championships are a ‘Legacy for the Future’: where have we heard that before?
Lou Hopkins, Jayne Johnson & Ken Field
Southend & District Table Tennis League’s 2013 Closed Championships Committee