NMTTC Mixed Doubles (Handicap) Tournament Report (10th June)
There was a terrific turnout for New Milton Table Tennis Club’s Mixed Doubles tournament at Mudeford Wood Community Centre on Monday 10th June. Initially there were 23 competitors compared to last year’s 18 participants, but there was still a last minute scramble to make the numbers up to an even 24. After a number of frantic phone calls, Kai Major’s mum Nicola delivered an unsuspecting Kai to be paired up with Malcolm Floyd, who had initially offered to stand down (nothing at all to do with him wishing to spare his poor old back!).
The Mixed Doubles is always a bit of light relief in between the club’s more “serious” singles events, with the pairings being drawn out of the hat on the night. The individual’s handicaps are then averaged to give a handicap for each pairing. The 24 nicely lent itself to two groups of 6 pairings, and once again it was decided to restrict the group stages to two sets.
One group comprised Keith Kensley & Bob Fagan (+18), Les Smith & Phil Handy (+14), Fern Daish & Chris Pusey (+19), Matthew & Peter Daish (+15), Sylvia Smith & Ian Linney (+19) and Eddie Tompkins & Bev Scott-Johns (+20). The explosive pairing of Matthew and older brother Peter Daish only lost two sets to win the group, one of them against Les & Phil in their last match of the group stage. The brothers Daish lost 26-31 in their first set against Les & Phil but came back to win the second by the mind-boggling 38-36, a real crowd-pleaser. Their only other loss was at the hands of Eddie & Bev who came runners-up.
The other group contained Gerard Redman & Roy Hobbs (+15), John Parkhouse & Geoff Biggs (+21), Andrew Stainton & Simon Daish (+21), Andrew Daish & Terry Jenvey (+18), James Lewis & Shaun Newcomb (+12) and Kai Major & Malcolm Floyd (+17). The very tricky combination of wheelchair player Shaun and fellow Div 1 player James only dropped two sets all evening, including one against runners-up Gerard & Roy. It is fair to say that Malcolm and Kai struggled a bit, but Kai’s head never went down and he played some lovely shots (can’t say the same for Malcolm!). Their consolation came in their last match of the evening as they claimed a set against Gerard & Roy, the eventual runners-up.
The winners and runners-up go straight through to the semi-finals which were held over to the Grand Finals Night on 24th June. Brothers Matthew & Peter Daish take on Gerard Redman & Roy Hobbs, while Shaun Newcomb & James Lewis will face Eddie Tompkins & Bev Scott-Johns. Roy came runner-up with Dave Sutton last year, and as the only “surviving” finalist he is looking forward to a second bite of the cherry with new partner Gerard.