Halifax Table Tennis Centre hosted the first-ever Tri-League Super 8s competition on Sunday 9th February, and it did not disappoint.
Eight elite players from Halifax, Oldham and Huddersfield would compete in a 24-man event, organised into four groups of six and a knockout round to determine the overall winner.
Group one saw the impressive top seed Amirul Hussain live up to expectations, finishing top of the group by winning all his matches and only dropping two sets in the process. One of those sets was dropped to Alex Shaw, who caused a couple of major shocks by defeating an out of sorts Ben Fillingham 3-0 and Jacob Reilly-Cooper 3-1. He finished 3rd in the group after an impressive showing.
Group two proved to be a challenging one for Sam Clayton, but a challenge he overcame as he topped the group despite being taken close by Huddersfield’s Sky Sim, Oldham’s Kyan Chin and Halifax’s Steve Brailsford.
Richard Aitken topped Group 3 after a closely contested battle with top seed Tim Dyson and Kristof Pinter. All three players won four matches and defeated one another, which meant placements had to be decided by set difference. Aitken came out on top due to a 3-0 win over Pinter, with a 3-1 defeat to Dyson meaning he edged the head to head after Pinter defeated Dyson 3-1.
In the 4th and final group, Shaun Ellis dominated his group after only dropping one set in five matches. The eye-catching result on his path to the top was a 3-0 victory against Darryl Meredith. Matthew Shaw took the solitary set off Ellis in the group stages.
As the knockout rounds began, players who finished first and second in each group received a bye into the next round, with the remaining 16 players competing to reach the next round. The pick of the games was a thrilling five-set encounter between Halifax’s Ben Fillingham and Oldham’s Kyan Chin, with Chin taking the last set 12-10 having been behind 2-1 on sets and 8-2 behind in the fourth.
The last 16 saw no real shocks but some top quality table tennis nonetheless Every player who finished first or second in their group advanced to the quarters. Underdog Alex Shaw pushed Sky Sim close but to no avail as he was defeated 3-1. Tim Dyson ended Mark Ramsbottom’s run in a close-fought contest which ended 3-2.
In the Quarter-Final, title favourite Amirul Hussain showed no signs of slowing down. He superbly dispatched Daryl Meredith 3-0. Sean Ellis defeated Sky Sim 3-1 to set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Hussain. The most entertaining quarter-final match saw Nick Ryder edge Richard Aitken 3-2. He would go on to play Sam Clayton who impressively beat Tim Dyson 3-1.
The semi-final was a step too far for Ellis, who bowed out against an unstoppable Hussain who won the contest 3-0 with some terrific forehand and backhand attacking shots. The second semi-final between Clayton and Ryder ended in a 3-0 victory for Clayton whose game plan worked to perfection which set up a highly anticipated final.
Hussain of Oldham and Clayton of Halifax would go to battle in the final and provided a fantastic spectacle for the audience watching on. Endless open, attacking rallies with both players determined to win. However, Hussain came from 10-7 down to win the first set and proved to be too strong as he ran out 3-0 winner and was crowned champion of the first-ever Tri-League Super 8s.
After a successful inaugural event, it has been agreed to make the competition an annual event.
1. Amir Hussain
2. Nick Ryder
3. Alex Shaw
4. Ben Fillingham
5. Jacob-Reilly Cooper
6. Damian Galka
1. Sam Clayton
2. Sky Sim
3. Steve Brailsford
4. Miles Benjamin
5. Kyan Chin
6. Jonny Heslop
1. Richard Aitken
2. Tim Dyson
3. Kristof Pinter
4. Lewis Palmer
5. Cameron Sandhu
6. Keith Skarz
1. Shaun Ellis
2. Darryl Meredith
3. Mark Ramsbottom
4. Matthew Shaw
5. James Foster
6. Russell Senior
James Foster 3-1 Lewis Palmer
Kristof Pinter W/O Jonny Heslop
Alex Shaw 3-0 Keith Skarz
Jacob Reilly-Cooper 3-1 Miles Benjamin
Kyan Chin 3-2 Ben Fillingham
Steve Brailsford 3-0 Russell Senior
Mark Ramsbottom 3-0 Damian Galka
Matthew Shaw 3-0 Cameron Sandhu
Amir Hussain 3-0 James Foster
Darryl Meredith 3-0 Kristof Pinter
Sky Sim 3-1 Alex Shaw
Shaun Ellis 3-0 Jacob Reilly-Cooper
Richard Aitken 3-0 Kyan Chin
Nick Ryder 3-1 Steve Brailsford
Tim Dyson 3-2 Mark Ramsbottom
Sam Clayton 3-0 Matthew Shaw
Amir Hussain 3-0 Darryl Meredith
Shaun Ellis 3-1 Sky Sim
Nick Ryder 3-2 Richard Aitken
Sam Clayton 3-1 Tim Dyson
Amir Hussain 3-0 Shaun Ellis
Sam Clayton 3-0 Nick Ryder
Amir Hussain 3-0 Sam Clayton
By Ben Fillingham