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2006-7 Winchester Table Tennis Tournament Heats and Finals

Click here to see the Heats report, results and pictures

Finals Night:
Civil Service Club, Littleton, SO22 6PN, on Saturday 5th May
Pictures are by Mark Kinlocke, text by Martin Healey

A great evening of skilled and at times spectacular table tennis!  The May Bank Holiday reduced the gate,  but the usual spirit of competitiveness and enjoyment was always present.  Garth Kinlocke was unmistakably the star player of the evening, winning or sharing 3 titles and playing with skill, power and patience  - whatever the situation demanded. Gary Longland announced his retirement from the Winchester League after playing with  good humour and much success for 35 years, to concentrate on his very valuable Southampton West Table Tennis Club activities, while Cliff Chevis's 50 consecutive League seasons were also celebrated in style.

Garth Kinlocke, Ruihao Zhang
Junior Final: Garth Kinlocke v Ruihao Zhang
Featuring the Number 1 and Number 2 Seeds of the Open Singles event, this Junior final  could almost be regarded as the Open-Singles-Final-that-never-was.  Garth and Ruihao are both quick and agile, but above all they're skilful, and the opening game displayed all of those qualities to the full.  Garth got home 15-13, and from there on it was always going to be tough for Ruihao, though he stuck at his task well and there was no question of Garth being able to let up on the pressure.
Garth won 15-13, 11-5, 11-4

Edwin Slot
Handicap Final: Mark Knowles v Edwin Slot (+13)  (best of 3 games to 21)
Edwin is another Junior who has made great progress this season.  A 13 start in each game for his opponent was always going to be a challenge for Mark, his best hope being (perhaps) that Edwin would crumble under the pressure of Finals Night and in the face of a more experienced and accomplished player.   You can argue about what winning a  Handicap match means - is it a test of the players or of the Handicappers?  - but  you can't deny that it takes nerve to stay in front when a better player is steadily reeling you in!
 Edwin won 21-19, 21-17

Geoff Pavey
Division 3 Final: Geoff Pavey v Antony Moore 
A close match, but Geoff always seemed to be marginally on top.  Antony has a forehand which is renowned and feared throughout Division 3,  but maybe the worries of being Tournament Organiser interfered with the celebrated forehand's usual silky smoothness.  The organisation was brilliant, though!
Geoff won 15-13, 11-9, 11-9

Don Child, Julian Walton, Ruihao Zhang, Garth Kinlocke. Nigel Lodder in background.
Doubles Final: Ruihao Zhang & Garth Kinlocke Julian Walton & Don Child
Julian and Don provided an interesting mix of styles, as a doubles pairing, and the mix proved very effective in the first game. Don is one of the best exponents in the League of anti-loop rubber, which can invert the opponent's spin and introduce doubt and caution. The result was that in the first game Julian would often be left with a relatively easy kill.  However, Garth and Ruihao quickly adapted, and from then on victory was just a matter of time. Julian showed flair and aggression, but the two Juniors were always in control.
Ruihao and Garth won 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-1


Paul May, Mark Knowles
Division 2 Final: Paul May v Mark Knowles  
Paul and Mark both play for a team that were runaway winners of Division 2 in the League, so it's not surprising that this Final showed some fine table tennis.  Mark's game features a lot of top-spin and power, but Paul showed an exceptional  ability to smother Mark's top-spin, and he hit plenty of winners on his own account.
Paul won 11-3, 11-4, 11-9

Gary Longland
 Veterans Final: Steve Robinson v Gary Longland  
Gary was determined to win his final Winchester Final in his best style - but  Steve is never someone to stand aside and say 'have it your way!'  Gary showed he can still move smartly around the table landing killer blows, while  at the other end Steve was conserving his energy and repeatedly getting his bat in the way so that the 'killed' ball was returned gently to Gary's side for another battering.  Irresistible force prevailed initially, Gary winning the first two games, but Steve took the third and we wondered if Gary would finally run out of steam.  But no - he summoned up a supreme effort  and charged over the finishing line like the true champion he has been for so many seasons.  We'll miss him.
Gary won 11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 11-5

Open Singles Final: Garth Kinlocke v Don Child    
Immense differences in style, age, experience, but they were both in the Final and had both beaten good players along the way. Could Don unsettle current title-holder Garth in the special conditions of Finals Night, with his uncanny reaction speed and mastery of his defensive bat rubber?  Would Garth sweep Don away with sheer power and pace? The first game would be critical - a win for Don might just make Garth  wonder what he would have to do to get back on track.  As it turned out, the first game was indeed very close, but Garth showed great maturity in negotiating his way to 12-10. Neither of the remaining games was plain sailing for Garth, with Don fighting hard all the way and keeping the ball in play when all seemed lost,  but in the end Garth was the very worthy winner.  He showed in this match and the whole Tournament that he has the skills and temperament to take on the very best players in the Winchester area and beyond, no matter what their playing style or level.
Garth won 12-10, 11-6, 11-7   

Heats (22nd April at Kings): See full round-by-round results
(Thanks to Adrian and Martyn Reeves for logging results and keeping things moving all day.)
If the link doesn't work for you, install (free) Adobe Reader . Seek help from your grandchildren if necessary.

See pictures of the day's doings here .


A long, hot day in the Kings Sports Hall saw plenty of action and a few upsets.  

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Don Child, the super-veteran number 7 seed, finishing ahead of outstanding Junior and number 2 seed, Ruihao Zhang, in the Open Singles.  Don had the lightning-fast reactions necessary to cope with Ruihao's big hits, many years of experience against all styles of play,  and a bat with rubber guaranteed to do interesting things to the opponent's spin. The Final pits Don against another of  Winchester League's brilliant Juniors, the current Open Singles title-holder, Garth Kinlocke. Garth has beaten Don fairly consistently in the League over the past couple of seasons - it will be fascinating to see if  he can produce  the calmnesss and patience  needed to overcome Don in the highly-charged atmosphere of Finals Night.  

Fortunately for the spectators, Garth will have ample opportunity to show the flair-and-fireworks side of his game in the Junior Final with Ruihao - who, in turn, will be  keen to show what he might have achieved in the Open Singles Final!  The Juniors is a tough event to enter this year, but others who performed well included semifinalists Francis Armitage and his 11-year-old sister Tressa (undefeated in the Round Robin stage).