Winner last in 1986, Gt Horkseley's Ipswich legend Richard Hutchinson returned home on Sunday night from Colchester Table Tennis Tournament with the prestigious Mens Singles Title, the longest ever gap in Finals Wins in Colchester Table Tennis history. This topped of the weekend for Richard as he took a double snaring the Veteran Singles title as well.
The field was extremely strong and young Sam Hume from St James did himself proud as the runner up in the Mens Singles event.
Still the star of the tournament has to be 16 year old Gracie Edwards from Rowhedge TTC who left the event with a box of trophies, having scooped the Junior Girls Singles, Junior Doubles with Sam, Mixed Doubles with Andy Warner, Ladies Doubles with Dawn Baldry and the Ladies Singles beating Annabelle Rodriguez in a tremendous final.
The evening started with a truly epic battle between two of the stars of the future... and of Colchester National Cadet League team... Toby Deng and Ollie Rampton from Tollgate TTC, in a match full off attacking play, the games swung this way and that and it all came down to a little bit of experience, something you don't think to say with a 12 and 14 year old at the table. Toby played the big points brilliantly to take the title 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10.
Next up was the first Mens Semi final and it was a family affair as St James pair Sam Hume played his brother Paul, Paul was the surprise of the tournament as an unseeded player he beat Suffolk Number 1 Junior Gt Horkesley's Dan Shelley and then in the quarter final took out the 9 times champion and number 1 seed, Rowhedge's David Cole. In a match that always saw Sam just ahead but never actually totally comfortable due to Paul incredibly consistent game, Sam got home in three entertaining games 11-6, 11-4, 12-10.
This match was then followed by the other Mens Semi final and this pitted Gt Horkesley team mates Richard Hutchinson with the charismatic Andy Warner and a highly enthralling match took place with the hitting of Andy countered by the defence of Richard. After a final 5th set that with Richard 8-6 down looked to be going Andy's way Richard turned up the pressure to take the win. 4-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9
Junior Doubles up next and the line up was impressive Sam, Essex Number 1 Junior, Dan Shelley, Suffolk Number 1 Junior, Gracie Edwards, Essex Number 2 Junior and Tollgate TTC Arran Hutchinson a star of the day with some fantastic wins, one to catch the eye against ex Mens Singles Champion Greg Green in the Mens Singles. The final was a exhibition of top class table tennis with Sam and Gracie coming home 13-11, 11-9, 11-4.
The games were coming thick and fast and in the Junior Boys Singles Sam and Dan returned to the table and it really was all guns blazing from the start with the right had attack of Dan and the left handed spin of Sam, on this occasion the spoils went to the left hander Sam, although from 2-0 up Dan certainly made him sweat eventually loosing 11-6, 11-7, 11-13, 12-10.
From the youngsters to the slightly older 'youngsters' in the Over 40s Veterans Singles with Dave Cole against Richard Hutchinson, many thought the all out attack of Dave could be a problem for the defence of Richard but Richard has the most amazing attack in his defensive game and when his chance came to win points he certainly took them and the title in four entertaining games 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5.
Next up was the entertaining Ladies Doubles which saw Tollgate TTC Annabelle and St James Kayley Rodriguez play number 1 seeds Gracie Edwards and Tollgate TTCs Dawn Baldry, from a unseeded position in the draw Annabelle and Kayley played superb to the final and many thought this was the end for them, they both made it clear from the very start this was not going to be the case and a smash from Gracie was blocked back by Kayley so quickly that Dawn didn't have time to react. The game was a rollercoaster of hitting and smashing and eventually it was Gracie and Dawn... triumphant in the 5th. 11-7, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6.
Mens Doubles followed and it was a repeat of the Mens Semi Final only the opponents in those matches were now the partners as Sam and Paul Hume took on Number 1 seeds Richard Hutchinson and Andy Warner, however seedings went out the window as the Hume brothers were fantastic both in control and their positiveness to triumph in 4 ends 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8.
Much was expected of the Mixed as it was a repeat of last years brilliant final but Annabelle Rodriguez and Tollgate TTC Colin Stallwood just couldn't stop the hitting of Gracie Edwards and Andy Warner and lost in 3 entertaining games 11-7, 12-10, 11-6.
Last two games of the evening were the Ladies Singles Final between Gracie Edwards and Annabelle Rodriguez, Annabelle gave everything and with every tactic but Gracie was flying by this stage and with quick attacks and punishing hits from both wings she took the title 11-4, 11-5, 11-5.
And so to the final match of the evening the Mens Final, Sams' out and out left hand attack gave everything to try and defeat the brilliance of the combination bat player Richard... only last week crowned Ipswich Champion. Sam is such a naturally gifted player and at 17 years old his time is literally around the corner. From the age of 13 Richard has played with a combination bat with a fast rubber on one side and a short pimples on the reverse, it is a combination that is build to disrupt the rhythm of an opponents attack and Richards tactics were spot on against Sam and with his backhand really 'plugged in' he absorbed Sams attack and counter punched with one off attacks.
Richard twiddles the bat so the opponent doesn't know when he will defend or suddenly attack... something no one over the weekend could deal with and after a mesmerising 4 games he was crowned a truly deserving champion 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 13-11 to top of a great weekends table tennis at Tollgate TTC.
All the trophies on the evening where presented by Colchester Table Tennis Special Guest, the Colchester Mayor Cllr Gerard Oxford and his wife Beverley.
Over the weekend there were some great performance in the events and the pick of them was last years loosing finalist and Number 3 seeded Tollgate TTC Colin Stallwood loosing to Rowhedge TTC Davis Moss in the group and with Greg loosing to Arran saw Colin and Greg them play one another very early in the draw.
In Round 2 winner Colin played 12 year old Ollie Rampton. It went to five ends with Colin just winning 11-9 in the fifth. A great attacking performance from Ollie who knew he had nothing to loose.
9 Times Champion and Number 1 seed David Cole had a real tussle in his group match with Tollgate TTC Junior Ethan Lloyd winning 12-10 in the fifth... from 10-9 down in the fifth a game where he did look to be down and out but Paul Hume then put paid to David in the quarter finals 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.
Brilliant to see League Chairman John Andrews with his name on a trophy in the over 60's Veterans Singles.
Other results of the weekend include:
Division One Singles: Arran Hutchinson beat Jan Fuller
Division Two Singles: Steve Scholz beat Bright Bedding
Division Three Singles: Tim Huxtable beat Chloe Andrews
Division Four Singles: Liam Harris beat Darren Heppel
Veterans 50+ Singles: Trevor Lloyd beat David Moss
Veterans 60+ Singles: John Andrews beat Andy Holmes