The big guns were out in force for the Crawley Closed,the top four seeds were Craig Bryant(11 on the current national ranking list),Martin Svensson(180 in Sweden but England Top 20 equivalent),Mark Scutts(no 62) and Wes Bush Harris the senior member of the quartet and a top 50 rated veteran.
All four reached the semi finals without difficulty.In the first semi Craig showed his teammate Wes no mercy winning 11-3,11-6,11-3.
The second match was a classic with Svensson storming into a 11-8 11-4 lead before Scutts staged an impressive fightback winning the next two 11-7 11-8.In the fifth it was nip and tuck all the way with Martin leading by the odd point.When he was caught at 9-9 with Marks two serves to come it looked ominous but he flicked two short serves for winners to come out on top.
In the final three service faults did Craig Bryant no favours and he went down 9-11.In the second he regrouped well winning 11-6,the third game saw Martin able to get his big shots in to push Craig back and win 11-8.When he went 9-3 up in the fourth it looked all over but Bryant slowed the game down and came back too 9-9.This setback did not rattle Martin who played two fine points to win the title.
Some really high quality table tennis was warmly appreciated by the audience and demonstrates how strong the Crawley and Horsham league has become.
In the doubles Adam Daley and Gerry Pugh put up a good show winning the first game against Martin Svenson and Mark Scutts and held a game point in the second before going down in four.In the other semi Dan Pound and Mark Collins took a game and held an 8-4 lead in the fourth before losing to Wes and Craig.In the final Mark and Martin won surprisingly easily with a magnificent display of power hitting to win 11-7 11-6 11-4.
In the consolation event Erik Van Mol recovered from 6-10 down in the fifth against Richard Hazell in the fifth to reach the final.Last years winner Barry Cheer beat Chris Pullinger to win his semi.In the final Erik could get his big shots in to win 11-8 11-4 11-5.
There was further evidence of the quality of the league in the Junior event which was played as a round robin.Bearing in mind that The top two Josh Bennett and George Hazell were representing the league on Carter Cup duty in Hastings the group of Kate Cheer,Alice Hazell ,Luke Gallacher and Ryszard Pelc are very talented players and further evidence that the future of the league is in safe hands.
Kate came out on top with three wins and Luke was the runner up.
In the 55 singles Gerry Pugh had a tough semi against Aivars Vugulis losing a 2-0 lead and falling behind 1-4 in the decider,at this point Gerry gave up hitting and pushed his way to victory 11-5.Barrie Gilbert beat Liam Cuffe 3-0 in the othe semi.In the final Barrie defeated Gerry 11-6 11-3 8-11 11-3.