NMTTC Handicap Singles Tournament Report (3rd June)
Following a break for the bank holiday, the New Milton Table Tennis Club’s annual tournaments resumed with the “Handicap Singles” event at Mudeford Wood Community Centre on 3rd June. The 23 entrants, slightly up on last year’s 22, were split into three groups of six and one group of five. Because of the high entry, once again it was decided to restrict the group stage to two sets per match.
The first group of six comprised Kai Major playing off a handicap of +21, Shaun Newcomb (+13), last year’s winner Phil Handy (+6), Dan Williams (+21), Terry Jenvey (+15) and Bev Scott-Johns (+21). The Premier’s Phil breezed through the group, dropping just the one set, while Shaun only lost to Phil and Bev to go through as runner-up.
In the second group of three were Dane Major (+25), Julie Smillie (+13), Richard Barrett (+23), Malcolm Floyd (+14), Ian Linney (+19) and Andrew Stainton (+24). Ian won the group, and Julie pipped Malcolm to second place. Malcolm played tentatively after a lay-off with a bad back but beat Julie 31-29 in their first set. It was nip and tuck throughout the second set, but Julie eventually won 34-32 to deprive league teammate Malcolm of a place in the quarter-finals.
The final group of six comprised Sylvia Smith (+20), Lucy Craddock (+25), Fern Daish (+23), Matthew Daish (+12), Angela Farmer (+23) and Mike Roberts (+20). Matthew fought valiantly to try to overcome the high differentials, but in the end Mike won the group with Lucy coming runner-up.
The group of five contained last year’s runner-up Peter Daish (+19), Bob Fagan (+16), Andrew Daish (+21), Chris Pusey (+16) and Steve Hemmings (+6). Steve won the group to join Premier teammate Phil in the quarter-finals and Peter Daish came second.
The quarter-finals reverted to “best of three” and Ian Linney’s match with Peter Daish was the only match to go all the way. Playing off the same handicap (+19), Ian took the first set 31-26 but then Peter turned the tables to win the second 31-26. Ian’s forehand attack proved more consistent in the third and he shaded it 32-30 to proceed to the semi-finals.
It was opposite ends of the spectrum as Phil Handy from the Premier took on Lucy Craddock from Div 5. Lucy had to accrue 6 points to win each set as against Phil’s mammoth 25 points target, but it was not to be as Phil won both sets 32-30.
Shaun Newcomb (+13) booked his place in the semi-finals as he saw off Mike Roberts (+20) in two straight sets 31-26, 32-30.
Julie Smillie (+13) was looking for revenge against Steve Hemmings (+6), as she had already lost to him in this year’s Vets 40+ (Handicap) semi-finals and last year’s Vets 40+ (Handicap) final. Normally Steve’s stoic defence is the perfect counter to Julie’s forehand loop, but Julie appeared the fresher after a long evening’s table tennis and overcame Steve in two straight sets, 31-29, 34-32.
The semi-finals were held over to the Grand Finals Night on 24th June when Ian Linney will take on Phil Handy, and Julie Smillie will face league teammate Shaun Newcomb. Shaun who plays off the same handicap as Julie (+13) will be looking for revenge as he lost to her in this year’s quarter-final of the Vets 40+ (Handicap) event.