MIGHTY DIXON STORMS TO SIXTEENTH BAND 1 TITLE
Steve Dixon was crowned Band One singles champion for an incredible sixteenth time in the Kendal and District Table Tennis League’s annual tournament finals night at Ibis Sports and Social club on Tuesday evening.
Dixon, who plays his club table tennis for Kendal side Ibis, opened the night in winning style, eclipsing John Fearon 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 in the Veterans Singles. The Ibis maestro bagged his second title when he teamed up with Louisa Bevan to beat Burton’s Bryan and Shelley Rhodes in the Mixed Doubles final. Then came the event that Dixon has made his own over the years: the Band One singles. His opponent in the showpiece final was Natland’s Roger Pimblett, who is widely considered to be Dixon’s understudy and nearest rival. Pimblett started off in prolific fashion, snatching the first set 11-6, in a game which Dixon had no answers to. Dixon edged the crucial second set 11-9, after Pimblett had been 8-6 in front and then comfortably took the fourth set 11-5. In a pulsating match that had seen the ball sprayed around the table with immense speed and spin, Dixon squeezed through the fourth set 13-11- having been 6-4 down- to be crowned champion yet again.
Pimblett gained revenge in the Open Doubles when he teamed up with tournament organiser Bob Bagot to beat Dixon and Trevor Nicholson. The Ibis duo took the first set 18-16, only for Pimblett and Bagot to draw level with an 11-9 success in the second. Dixon and Nicholson once again went in front when they triumphed 11-5 in the third set, but Pimblett and Bagot still would not capitulate and netted an 11-8 win in the fourth. The fifth and deciding set was evenly poised throughout, however Pimblett and Bagot snatched the title with an 11-9 victory in the fifth set.
Burton’s Aidan Branch had a memorable night as he won three titles. The young Burton star swept aside Kirkby Stephen’s Mike Sunderland 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 in the Band Three final and then followed this up by overwhelming Srikanth Gandavaram 11-3, 11-10, 11-4 in the Handicap singles, after giving away two points on the handicap.
Branch netted his third title of the evening when he teamed up with Burton team mate George Pickering to defeat Dallam’s Thomas and Anna Parkinson 3-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 in the Junior Doubles.
In the Junior Singles event, Thomas Parkinson prevented Branch claiming his fourth victory of the night when he beat the Burton player 9-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6 in a five set classic. Parkinson demonstrated a cool head and a steely determination to fight back from two sets to one down to take the title.
Meanwhile, Louisa Bevan beat Shelley Rhodes to win the Ladies Singles and Kirkby Stephen’s Dan Stringer defeated George Pickering to snatch glory in the Band Two singles event.