Steve Horton of Worcestershire has won the Veterans over 50’s title in the Eastern Masters held in Norwich on 7th and 8th December.
In his previous tournament, the Midland Masters at Tipton, Steve was runner up to Peter Bartram in a tremendous final that went the full distance only to be pipped at the post by some cruel luck and excellent play from his opponent.
His path to glory was not straightforward as Steve survived a 1st round exit by saving a match point against the dangerous Phil Cawser and also breaking his bat in the deciding set whilst retrieving a ball over the court surrounds. He left the court, returned with a reserve bat to save match point and scrape through 13-11.
In the next round against Dennis Robinson, Steve was able to safely negotiate a 3-0 which was quickly followed by a quarter final win over the highly ranked Mark Romano, also 3-0. A tough semi-final battle against Maurice Newman 3-1 set up a second shot at a major title, this time against Vetts International player Joey Kennedy.
Steve had been playing his best ever table tennis throughout the weekend only losing in the quarter finals of the over 40’s to the eventual winner Richie Venner in 5 sets. A blend of stone wall defence, forehand aggression and backhand hits (yes backhands) had made him the form player of the tournament.
This run of form was carried to the final where Steve produced a classic stone wall resilience to retrieve everything thrown at him from the powerful left hander from Kent. Steve was not to be denied this time and won all closing battles in 3 tight sets to achieve his lifetime goal and join the Vetts elite.
Steve had won the over 50’s doubles the previous day with John Payne from Middlesex so it proved to be a very successful weekend.
These results should place Steve in the top 10 in the country when the next set of ranking lists is released.