SHAW Table Tennis League 2016 Closed Tournament Report 19 May 2016
As usual the tournament was run at St. Michaels Table Tennis Club and Richard Anderson, Vadym Krevs, Tony Murrell, Ian Hamilton and others of St. Michaels kindly setup and put away each evening. Many thanks to them.
We had more entrants this year over last, 53 instead of 44 in 2015. So it looks like putting the weeks for the tournament into the handbook and publicizing via a mass email encouraged entries.
We also had 53 in 2014 and actually the total number of event entries in 2014 was 140 over 125 this year. I don’t know how we had time for all those entries in 2014 given how late many of the events finished this year. Vadym said that he’d noticed that games were taking longer with the new plastic balls so maybe that explains it.
The number of event entries may have been lower this year than it could have been due to clashes with Barnet and Hemel league games.
The Vets singles was the most popular event this year, up a lot on 2015 but the Mens doubles, Handicap singles and Open singles entries were all down. This could have been due to clashes.
The number of Division 1 singles entries remained low, I may need to publicise that more, especially to ex-premier players who are not used to being in Division 1 and don’t realise that the competition exists.
The Division 2 singles had a big jump up to 13 entries. Ladies singles, Ladies doubles and Mixed doubles all increased, and for the first time since 2012 both the Juniors singles and Division 4 singles had entrants.
As for the results, in the open singles the seeding based on league averages was defied in some key cases. The winner Akash Shah was only seeded 7. He actually lost to John McCance in the initial group stage and was fortunate to get to the next round as a runner up. Then, despite complaining of headache and exhaustion (no gamesmanship suggested), he got better and better though the evening. Angela Smith took him to 5 in the quarter finals then he beat Radovan in 4 in the semi-final and Gary Keers easily in 3 in the final. Gary got to the final despite being unseeded.
In the Ladies singles Angela Smith did not have it all her own way this year thanks to new entrant Sarah Lockwood who won the final against Angela in a very entertaining and close 5 setter.
Due to the number of entries in the Vets, I had to arrange a separate evening for the Supervets, so this year was the first where the tournament was run over 6 evenings instead of 5. The Supervets final was the usual re-match of Ken Stonebridge vs. Dave Wackrill, but this year Mike McGarry took Dave to 5 in the semi-final in what must have been the longest game of the tournament. Ken then triumphed in 3 in the final.
In the Vets, seeding was respected with first seed Tony Murrell and second seed Mike Boardman reaching the final. Tony won the final convincingly in 3.
Richard Anderson and Vadym Krevs were not able to hold onto the Mens doubles trophy that they won in 2015, thanks to being beaten by resurgent stalwarts Gary Morgan and Gary Keers in the semi-finals. Gary and Gary then took out the potentially strong scratch pairing of Mike Boardman and John McCance in 3 in the final.
In the Ladies doubles group final, June Nelson and Sarah Lockwood saw off Angela Smith and Elaine Hanworth, and Faith Frankel and Gil Salter.
The Division 1 singles final was a repeat of the 2015 Division 2 final and the 2014 Division 3 final between rising stars and Townsend teammates Kevin Brothwood and John Milner. John won this year as he did last year, this year in 3.
The Division 2 singles was hotly contested between the record 13 entrants.
One group stage was so close that it had to be settled by count back of both legs and points difference. Keven Du of Townsend squeezed through that group and then beat Andy Reeves in 4 in the semi-final and then impressively beat Peter Groves in 3 in the final. At last, a way to beat Peter Groves – change to a pen holder grip!
Unstoppable John Stock won the Division 3 singles group final over Mike Kilner (1st seed) and Mike Harber.
It was good to see 3 first time entrants contest the Division 4 singles group. Jake Dearman from Elliswick, 1st seed, came out on top and Dominic Jayawickrama won a close 5 setter against Trevor Sidery (both from Kings) to take the runner up spot.
Dominic Jayawickrama also won the Juniors final in 3 against Henry Pring of Elliswick A.
It was good to see these young players from Kings and Elliswick taking part.
In the Mixed Doubles, Angela Smith and Nigel Finn retained the title for the fourth year despite June Nelson and Richard Anderson taking them to 4 in the final and Faith Frankel and Dave Cocks taking them to 4 in the semi-final.
Finally, new entrant Bob Sapuan of St. Michaels F did well to beat all-comers to get to the final of the Open Handicap singles and then in a late finish edge out John Stock in 3 (to 21) in the final.