Haywards Heath & District Table Tennis League
60th Annual Closed Tournament
The League’s 60th Annual Closed Tournament was held at Warden Park Academy on Sunday, 2 April 2017
As usual the day started with the ever-popular handicap competition which allows the lower division players to test their skills against higher ranking players and have a chance of winning silverware. There were 24 entries and some of the handicaps, especially for Division Two players against Premier players, left little margin for error.
Three Premier players, one Division 1 and four Division 2 players reached the quarter finals where one of the season’s best Division 1 players, Oliver Neil, took full advantage of his +6 handicap to overcome Matthew Caddy. Gavin Pitts, from Division 2, also made the best of his +8 start to beat Charlie Hough in 4 sets.
The first semi-final saw a thrilling 5 setter as Annick Lieutaud (+3) took on Oliver Neil, with Oliver just managing to win. In the other semi over 4 sets Richard Cosens was unable to overcome an 8 point deficit so Gavin Pitts made it through to the final.
Gavin started with +4 but Oliver, playing some excellent table tennis, took a 2-0 lead before Gavin fought back to level at 2-2. The impressive form Oliver has shown throughout the season returned for the deciding set and he was a well-deserved winner
This was an eight entry straight knockout competition with Andrew Sharland overcoming Dennis Hayden in three sets in the first semi-final and David Champneys taking 4 sets to beat Eric Smith in the second.
In the final Andrew proved too strong for David, winning in three sets to take the trophy for the fourth year in succession.
The Junior competition ran concurrently with the Vets with a 16 player format in four groups designed so that 8 reach the main knockout with the other 8 moving into a Consolation knockout.
The Group qualifiers were Keigo Burnham, John Strang, Charlie Hough, Tommy Worley, Ben Worley, Riccardo Bagaini, Patrick Neil and Oliver Neil. The pick of the quarter finals was between Patrick and Riccardo as they won alternate sets before Patrick prevailed in the fifth.
The semis went to form as Premier players Ben and Keigo beat the fast improving Neil twins, Oliver & Neil respectively. In the final Keigo proved too strong for the 2015 champion Ben, winning in four sets.
In the Consolation competition eight year old Oscar Wiseman won through to the final but met his match against Claudia Hough who won in 3 sets.
The standard of play was exceptional; we should be really proud of our junior section and I am sure we’ll see more of all these juniors in the years to come.
All the Juniors played to the best of their ability and were a credit to themselves and to the unceasing work of Brian and Lyle and our coaches Marc Burman, Tomas Pomej and Dennis Hayden. The future of our league is looking good!
This year the Singles was divided into 2 competitions, one for Premier players and another for Divisions 1 & 2, with 12 competitors in each.
In the Premier event, the Veteran finalists Andrew Sharland and David Champneys had another go in the quarter finals and this time David found extra reserves to win in four sets. In the others, Michael Bridger beat Dennis Hayden in four, Keigo Burnham beat Matthew Caddy in straight sets, as did Marc Burman against Richard Cosens.
Marc beat Keigo in three sets but in the other semi Michael and David had an epic battle. Michael swept into a 2-0 lead before David summoned those reserves again to win the next three, 14-12 in the fifth.
In the final Marc was too powerful for David and won his eighth Singles title at Haywards Heath. Who will be the first to beat him?
In the Divisional competition the stand out games from the group stages were Annick Lieutaud’s victory in five sets against John Strang and Andy Steel’s five set win over Asim Khan. In the quarter finals Cathy Seiderer came from two sets down to beat Andy and was joined in the semis by Ross Knowlson, Asim and Bob Watson.
In the semi-finals Cathy overcame Ross in straight sets and Asim took five sets to beat Bob Watson 11-8 in the fifth. The final, between Cathy and Asim, was another close five setter which Asim just managed to win.
Eight pairs entered the final event of the day, the Doubles. This was played in two groups of 4 with the winners of each contesting the final. In Group One Dennis Hayden and Ben Worley won all their games to set up a final against Charlie Hough and Keigo Burnham who also won all three of their games.
The final was a great end to the day as Dennis and Ben battled to come back from 2-0 down only to lose in the fifth as Charlie and Keigo rediscovered their form just in time.
All in all, a very successful day with thanks to all participants, those who helped set up and put away and those who willingly volunteered to umpire matches. The biggest thanks are due to Colin Cooper and Lyle Cyster for the handicapping and the draw and to Phil Harvey for preparing the scoresheets and collating the results on the day, critical to ensuring the smooth running of the day.
The trophies for these events, along with those for the league and other cup competitions will be presented at our presentation evening on Saturday, 29 April at United Services Club, Haywards Heath (tickets still available).