NMTTC GRAND FINALS NIGHT
New Milton Table Tennis Club’s closed annual tournaments culminated in a Grand Finals Night at the Grange School, Somerford on Thursday 15th June in front of a large appreciative crowd.
Ben Greene travelled all the way up from Shaftesbury to take part in three of the finals but despite playing consistently well throughout, he had to content himself with one out of three titles.
In the first event of the evening, Greene received a +10 start against rising starlet Jack Trafford in the Under 40 Handicap but lost tantalisingly 20-21, 20-21. Trafford, displaying a maturity beyond his 14 years, had overhauled the handicap to catch up at 20-20 in both sets, clinching the second with a vicious net-cord. Greene is shown below on the left sportingly congratulating Trafford on his close victory.
Greene gained solace by beating Andrew Stainton in the Handicap Singles final, having received a +3 start. Greene blew Stainton away 21-11 in the first set, but Stainton recovered his composure in the second to take it 21-15. It was nip and tuck during the third and final set but Greene won it 21-17 to take the title.
Stainton then turned the tables on Greene by joining with Stuart Burton in the Handicap Doubles doubles against Greene and new signing Sid Daynes. Receiving a +2 start, Stainton & Burton just edged the first set 21-20, only to lose the second 16-21. The Stainton & Burton combo got back into their stride in the third and final set to hammer their opponents 21-11 to take the doubles title.
Former Cadet European Champion Simon Heaps made it through to two finals but came away empty handed. He had to give away a staggering +14 start to Steve Cheesman in the Over 40 final and lost the first set 13-21. Heaps really dug in in the second set and did well to catch up at 17-17 only to go on to lose 19-21 against a much relieved Cheesman.
Heaps’ second crack at a title came in the Open Singles final against last year’s runner-up Matthew Daish, who had already beaten Jack Trafford to take the Junior title. Heaps took the first set 11-9, then Daish came to the fore to take the next two sets 11-7, 11-7. The fourth set had all of the qualities of an exhibition match, drawing gasps of appreciation from the crowd, but Daish won 11-8 to secure the prestigious title. Daish is shown below on the left with Heaps after their crowd-pleaser.
As with the Junior final, the Ladies Singles final was played earlier in the tournament because there were only two entrants in each event. It was a repeat of last year’s final between Sylvia Smith and Lynn Willrich, with Smith gaining revenge this time around.
Thanks to Club Secretary and Tournament Organiser Bev Scott-Johns for yet another set of very well organised and enjoyable tournaments. Bev is a Table Tennis England qualified Tournament Organiser and County Umpire, both skills being very much in evidence during the tournaments.