by Sue Hickman & Mike Newman

Arriving at Bluehouse Farm at 7.30 on a lovely warm and bright Spring evening, expectations of the evening were high – West Ham Utd. v Man. Utd live on big screens (the last ever game at the Boleyn Ground); surely the Hammers would prevail! - anyway, that was the atmosphere in the bar.

In the hall where the our finals were to take place we were all looking forward to a great evening of top-flight table tennis and free of charge too! Having played and/or watched some of the League's top players in the tournaments the previous week we knew we would not be disappointed … and we weren't ....

Matches were played on a central table with spectators supporting from the sides.

The evening kicked-off with a showcase of the league’s youth, starting with a very closely fought five set match between Peter Windley (Writtle) and Louis Brown (Buttsbury) in the Under 21s category. The match swung from one player taking the initiative to then the opponent taking the lead. This was to be expected, as they had played some very close games in the group stages. Eventually it was Peter who came away with the win. I am sure that these two will have many a battle over the coming years.

Result: Peter Windley bt Louis Brown 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7


Peter Windley & Louis Brown

The next two competitors on to the table were both from Buttsbury Table Tennis Club for the Under 18s, our youngest category. The two players involved were Matthew Elliot and James Hughes. This was another 5 set battle with both players trying hard to get over the finish line. Eventually it was Matthew who crept ahead in the fifth end and took the title.

Result: Matthew Elliott bt James Hughes 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8


Matthew Elliott & James Hughes

The next match on the table was the first semi-final of the open singles event. This was a rare contest between Keith Adams (the organiser of the tournament) and Babul McLeod (his teammate from 2015/16 Premier Division Champions, Billericay Sports A). With both players playing all-out attack, the match went to 4 ends with some quick fire rallies between them, with Keith using his heavy top-spin attacking style to good effect and eventually overcoming his teammate to play in the final later in the evening.

Result: Keith Adams bt Babul McLeod 11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3

OSemi 1

Keith Adams & Babul McLeod

The second semi was between Reece Seddon of Selex and Keith Phillips of Sports “A”.  Keith, not being phased by Reece's lightning quick offensive style, used his unconventional combination bat style, with a mix of offense and defence, to out-fox Reece in the first end.   With a bit of coaching between games, however, Reece adapted his game to come back strongly, just taking the second end from Keith.  Both players continued to produce their best table tennis to give us a five-end treat in which Keith finally predominated in the fifth.

Result: Keith Phillips bt Reece Seddon 11-3, 10-12, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8

OSemi 2

Reece Seddon & Keith Phillips

Next-up was the Mixed Doubles final, featuring second seeds and Essex County Veterans teammates Lin Attridge & Keith.Adams in a contest against the top seeds, hard-hitting former National Veterans Masters champion Debbie Auvache paired with Reece Seddon.  In a fast-paced action-packed close contest, the top seeds prevailed, taking the match in three straight ends.

Result: Auvache/Seddon bt Attridge/Adams 11-9, 11-7, 11-8

Mxd Dubs

Lin Attridge/Keith.Adams & Debbie Auvache/Reece Seddon

The following Over 60s final also featured the top two seeds: Trevor Carter (Brentwood) v Peter Pond (Billericay Sports). The action, though understandably not as fast-paced as the previous few matches, was engaging to watch, as the players utilised their vast experience in a battle to impose their respective strategies upon each other. The atmosphere was quite tense, with three of the four ends being very close indeed and Peter taking the match in the fourth.

Result: Peter Pond bt Trevor Carter 13-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8


Trevor Carter & Peter Pond

The Open Doubles final was between top seeds Keith Adams & Babul McLeod and the left-right combination of Paul Brown and Reece Seddon.  In spite of a valiant effort in fighting close games in two of the three ends, some 'antics' and humour from Paul, the heavy top-spin attack of Keith and Babul eventually proved too much for the opposition.

Result: Adams/McLeod bt Brown/Seddon 11-8, 11-3, 11-8


Keith Adams/Babul McLeod & Paul Brown/Reece Seddon

Finally the two “Blue Ribbon” events:

The Ladies’ singles final featured top seeds Debby Auvache and Lin Attridge. These two nationally ranked teammates, very familiar with each other’s game, provided a hard-hitting treat in the preliminary round-robin and similar was anticipated this evening.  In an intense battle of aggression, Debby's attacks vs Lin's counter attacks, Lin had the edge for the first two ends, with Debby over-hitting on a number of shots.  In the third end, after some pause for thought, Debby adapted her game and found her form but this was not to last, as Lin came back strongly to prevail in a close fourth.

Result: Lin Attridge bt Debby Auvache 14-12, 17-15, 7-11, 11-9


Debby Auvache & Lin Attridge

In the final event of the evening, the Open Singles final, contested by the two singles semi-final victors, Keith Adams and Keith Phillips, a quality game was guaranteed.  This match, with the two contrasting styles of Adams (heavy top-spin attack) against Phillips (backhand pimples with forehand counter-attack) proved to be a fitting finale – a five-ender with many high-octane top-class rallies.  Phillips struggled to tame the heavy top-spin in the first two ends with Adams on top-form. Taking stock and adapting his game, however, proved very fruitful for Phillips, earning him ends three and four. In a scintillating final end, however, Adams took back the initiative and powered his way through to victory.

Result: Keith Adams bt Keith Phillips 11-2, 11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 11-2


Keith Phillips & Keith Adams

A fantastic evening of top-class table tennis with all participants behaving very sportingly and with good humour.

Thanks go to Keith Adams, Anton Ranjit-Singh and their assistants for running an excellent tournament, capped by a very entertaining evening of finals.

                                                  (and a classic 3:2 win for WHU too).

                                                         For what more could you ask!

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