'High Flyer' Keiran Lally - with the Mayor and League President
2001 Colchester Junior Champion Keiran Lally completed his first Men’s title win in a pulsating final against 2010 winner Steve Joslin from H20 Rowhedge. Lally, a pilot with Ryan Air had missed several years in Colchester but returned two seasons ago to play for Tollgate and immediately made an impact beating Joslin on his debut. It was Lally who came out of the blocks with jet propelled speed unleashing a series of seemingly un-stoppable hooked-loops racing into a 6-1 lead. But Joslin is made of stern stuff and fought back to level at 7-7. Lally however, came out on top 12-10 and continued his bombardment especially probing with his backhand before driving back across the forehand catching Joslin out on several occasions to take a two-set lead. With some members of the crowd thinking it may be all over, Joslin, the master tactician steadied the ship playing with more control, keeping Lally tied down successfully to take the third end 11-4. Joslin had now effectively strangled Lally’s attack and showed all his considerable skill to counter, winning an incredible rally with a rasping return of the Lally forehand and ran out an 11-8 winner. At two sets all the final was taking on a ‘James-Cole-esque’ marathon as Lally once again wrestled back the momentum, doing his customary ‘jig’ following every big point now playing on ‘auto-pilot’! He lead at the changeover 5-4 but Joslin somehow managed to hang in and leading 9-8 seemed to be heading to his second title. Lally then once again upped the tempo to come through 11-9 in what was the best final in recent history, a credit to both participants but in the end Lally had the desire and power to deservedly win.
Earlier Lally had knocked out two previous champions, Greg Green in three straight sets in the quarter-final and Andy Warner (both Tollgate) in four in an entertaining semi-final. Joslin beat the ever-improving James Denyer (St James) and club-mate Kevin Gowlett (H20 Rowhedge) in the other semi.
In the Ladies final Aimee Sparkes (Gt Horkesley) had to pull out all the stops to beat Gill Locke (St James) in four highly competitive sets. Locke took the first set 11-8 counter hitting Sparkes loops with her trade-mark off the bounce flat-hitting. Sparkes fought back with style to take the second 11-9 and then entered into a marathon third set that she eventually won 21-19 with both players squandering a serious of game points. The fourth was no different as Locke personified the spirit of the match pointing out her service was a let at thirteen all that would have given her set point as Sparkes then capitalized to win 15-13 and take her fourth consecutive Ladies title.
Lally teamed up with Greg Green (Tollgate) to win another five-set final against two-time winner’s Antony Greenwood and Michel Andrews (H20 Rowhedge) in the Men’s Doubles. This was a credit to the Colchester coaching set-up as all four came through as juniors, now all in their twenties, boding well for the future.
Gill Locke and Annabelle Rodriguez (St James) won the Ladies Doubles coming back from two sets to one down to win another close encounter against Janet Faiers and Aimee Sparkes (Gt Horkesley).
In the strongest Mixed Doubles probably ever fielded holders Gill Locke and James Denyer overcame the stern resistance of Sue Welham (Tollgate) and Gary Young (Gt Horkesley) in yet another five set match.
Kevin Gowlett won the Veteran’s 40+ title defeating Charlie Fulcher (Tollgate) in three straight sets with Fulcher winning the 50+ beating Ian Whiteside (Pegasus) who in turn won the 60+ defeating a spirited run from St James Terry May.
James Denyer showed his class in the Junior Singles final against Jermaine Fearon who beat H20 Rowhedge teammate Josh Sidki on the way to the final. Jane Li (Tollgate) completed a double of winning both the Junior Girls and Cadet Singles in both cases against the rapidly improving Gracie Edwards (St James). Denyer and Adam Cuthbert (H20 Rowhedge) beat Fearon and Sidki in the Junior Doubles Final.
In the Divisional Singles Patrick Gilbert beat Wudong Liu in Division Two and in one of the best finals of the weekend Oli Reynolds (H20 Rowhedge) came back from two sets down to beat UOE’s Oli Pink to win the Third Division crown. Neil Huatan rounded off events with a win over John Colvin (Pegasus) in the Division Four event.
This was the first time the event had been held at the Tollgate Table Tennis Club, based at the Holmwood House School which proved a resounding success despite the inclement weather!
Men’s Singles Semi-Finals:
Steve Joslin bt Kevin Gowlett 5, -8, 1, 8.
Keiron Lally bt Andy Warner 12, -3, 14, 7.
Junior Boys Final:
James Denyer bt Jermaine Fearon 5, 5, 6.
Ladies Doubles Final:
Gill Locke & Annabelle Rodriguez bt Janet Faiers & Aimee Sparkes 9, -8, -9, 3, 3.
Veteran’s 40+ Final:
Kevin Gowlett bt Charlie Fulcher 9, 7, 9.
Mixed Doubles Final:
Gill Locke & James Denyer bt Sue Welham & Gary Young -8, 9, -9, 7, 7.
Men’s Doubles Final:
Keiron Lally & Greg Green bt Antony Greenwood & Michael Andrews 5, -9, 9, -6, 7.
Ladies Singles Final:
Aimee Sparkes bt Gill Locke -8, 5, 19, 13.
Men’s Singles Final:
Keiran Lally bt Steve Joslin 10, 9,-4, -8, 9.
Saturday’s Events: Winner Runner Up
Cadet Singles Jane Li Gracie Edwards
Junior Girls Singles Jane Li Gracie Edwards
Junior Doubles James Denyer & Adam Cuthbert Jermaine Fearon & Josh Sidki
Junior Handicapped Singles Matthew Rogers Chloe Andrews
Junior Handicapped Doubles Lewis & Morgan Bardell James Denyer & Adam Cuthbert
Senior Handicapped Singles Adam Cuthbert Oliver Pink
Senior Handicapped Doubles Nathan Nicol & Oliver Pink Colin Beaumont & John Hatley
Division 2 Singles Patrick Gilbert Wudong Liu
Division 3 Singles Oliver Reynolds Oliver Pink
Division 4 Singles Neil Huatan John Colvin
Veteran’s 50+ Singles Charlie Fulcher Ian Whiteside
Veteran’s 60+ Singles Ian Whiteside Terry May