Steve Bushell is the new 2014 Town Open Singles Champion of the Barrow and District Table-Tennis League, following a superb display in the annual tournament, held this year at Hawcoat Park.
The Hawcoat Park player won all his group games in round one, but was pushed to the limit by St. Columba’s ever-improving Ben O’Flynn, with Steve just pulling through 11-8 in the deciding end. His other victory was against Tony Whitehouse which he won three-straight.
In the second round of matches, Stephen Cairns got the better of Steve- winning in three ends. However, Steve’s hard-fought win over Alan Turner Junior eased him into the Semi-Finals where he met Paul Ackred. The two attacking players provided a feast of table-tennis, but Steve edged out as the winner.
In the final, Steve met Tony Whitehouse, and a classic game of table-tennis ensued, with the match swaying one way and then another. With scores of 12-10, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11 and 11-4 and some tremendous rallies, this game was a feast for the eyes.
This was Steve’s first singles’ title in the Town Championships.
The other semi-finalist was Chris Knowles. Chris had narrowly beaten Keith Mallinson in five in the first round, before getting the better of Stephen Cairns in three. He beat Matthew O’Flynn in four ends, before losing to Tony Whitehouse three straight.
Paul Ackred, meanwhile, was on fire in the group stages, winning all four of his games against Alan Turner Junior, Matthew O’Flynn, Keith Mallinson and Ben O’Flynn. Only Steve Bushell could extinguish the threat posed by Paul.
Ben O’Flynn became 2014 Town Handicap Champion following a great performance on the Tuesday evening. In his group, he defeated Jake Croft (a rapidly improving player with a very bright future ahead of him), Stephen Cairns and Ben’s dad, Matthew O’Flynn, to set up a final with Keith Mallinson who, in turn, had beaten Paul Croft and Roy Gordon.
In the final, Ben handled Keith’s pimples brilliantly to run out the winner with scores of 21-13, 21-13.
The new 2014 Town Veterans’ Champion is Tony Whitehouse who clinched the title after being the losing finalist on two previous occasions. Tony, fresh from a bowling competition, was on terrific form throughout the evening, with his deft touch and befuddling top-spin left-handed loop causing his opponents all manner of difficulties.
Tony comfortably beat Steve Bushell and Stephen Cairns, but had a thrilling encounter with Paul Ackred, just pipping him 12-10 in the fifth end. Elsewhere in the group, the other stand-out match was Steve Bushell’s revenge over Stephen Cairns from two evenings’ earlier- Steve winning 11-7 in the deciding fifth end.
Tony met Chris Knowles in the first semi-final. The two left-handers provided great entertainment with some wonderful rallies throughout. Tony edged-out Chris in four ends.
Chris had reached the semi-final thanks to wins over Keith Mallinson and- narrowly in five- Les Shaw. But it was Matthew O’Flynn who topped the group, with fine wins over Les, Keith and an excellent three-straight win over Chris Knowles.
The second semi-final saw Matthew take on Steve Bushell, but it was the new town champion who came out as victor in four ends.
The final saw Chris and Tony go head-to-head. The ensuing match was a far closer encounter than their previous meeting in the singles, with Chris becoming an ever-increasing threat in the game. However, Tony just forced a few more errors from his opponent, and rode out as winner 11-9 in the fourth end.
Thanks to all the participants, and a special thank you to everyone who helped in any way especially Stephen Cairns who yet again orgainised an excellent tournament and Hawcoat Park who provided an excellent venue.