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Tressa Armitage is seen presenting the awards.

Winchester Table Tennis League: Finals Night 2012

You know Spring has arrived when you find yourself in the superbly-appointed Itchen Abbas and Avington Village Hall. The only things that remind you of winter are the table tennis table and the friendly faces of the players that you met over the preceding 7 months! Oh, and this time the weather did, too.

The individual match reports and presentations are included below; all I have to do is thank those who made it happen, and made it very enjoyable, too. Adrian Reeves was assisted by Cameron Brealey, Antony Moore and Allan Bransgrove, as well as Andy Prince and Suzanne behind the bar. Tressa Armitage very kindly presented the awards - Tressa has been bothered by injuries which have hampered her progress through the England Women's top ten ranking list (and she's still a Junior!), but the silver lining to this cloud (for us) was that she was able to come along and even have a cautious knock in the Interval with some of the local Juniors.

The raffle doesn't usually make it into these reports, but this one was surprising in that a book appeared among the prizes. That's a rarity in itself, but even rarer was the fact that it was 2 copies of the same best-selling book, from 2 different donors: "Bounce", by former Number 1 England player, Matthew Sayed. I think the donors are telling you it's worth reading, if you haven't yet done so!

  • Tournament Heats were on Sunday 4th March at IBM Sports Hall.
  • See the Heats Results and Report here
  • Video: See an excerpt from the Open Singles Final
    Event Match
    Under 15 Junior Singles Ben Cawston (South Wonston) beat Alex Amies (South Wonston)
    11-6, 11-6, 11-8
    Ben and Alex showed in the opening match of the evening that the South Wonston Club is continuing to find and develop good young players! Both players were understandably a bit hasty and nervous in front of what was probably their biggest audience to date, but they both settled down well and showed us some good moves. Ben in particular was very quick on his feet and hit some fine forehands. These looked even better when he had a knock-up with Tressa Armitage in the Interval a bit later! A well-deserved win for Ben, and good performances from both players.
    Under 18 Junior Singles Morgan Smith (South Wonston) beat Matt Byers (IBM)
    4-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8
    Matt has played two seasons in Division 1, whereas this was Morgan's first season there, and previous results suggested that Matt might have the better chance of winning, especially as Matt won the Handicap at Finals Night last year. Indeed, Morgan took a while to adjust to the big-time atmosphere, while Matt started confidently and showed us how well he can hit the ball. However, Morgan stayed calm (at least outwardly!) and defended well, and after going down in the first two games he steadily worked his way back to a winning position, hitting just as well as Matt, and appearing to have plenty of time to handle Matt's own deceptively speedy hits. Matt has been troubled with a knee injury, but that doesn't in any way detract from Morgan's own performance - he played excellent competitive table tennis, showing skill and judgement throughout.
    Veterans Singles Nick Webb (IBM)
    beat Paul May (IBM) 3-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6
    Paul had been playing in another tournamemt all day, so perhaps it wasn't too surprising that he was faster out of the blocks than Nick. His backhands were hit very hard and were nearly always winners in the early stages. However, like Morgan in the previous match, Nick stayed in contact, and by keeping the ball low and short he denied Paul the chance to get the match over quickly with short ralleys. Backhands started to misfire slightly and frustration set in, while Nick got on with gathering points. Not to say that victory for Nick became inevitable - getting over the line can be harder than the rest of the match! - but the odds gradually mounted in his favour.
    Handicap Singles Ross Lingard (Kings) beat Adrian Reeves (+2) (Kings)
    21-13, 21-14
    The handicapping committee (with Adrian closing his eyes and blocking his ears) spent several precious minutes discussing whether Adrian should be given a +2 start or +3. Oh dear! He should have been given a few extra points to allow for the fact that he was managing the whole Finals Night event, as well as trying to fit in a couple of games of table tennis. Ross, meanwhile, has improved hugely over the past season and has all the shots and a great match temperament. On those grounds alone, Adrian would have needed a bigger start. Finally, Ross knows Adrian's game well from Kings practice nights, and knew just how to stifle his opponent's big swinging forehand, which can be devastating when it's on song.
    Doubles Dave Menzel (IBM) and Nick Webb (IBM) beat Julian Walton (IBM) and Matt Byers
    11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 12-10
    Dave and Nick combined well here, with Nick's left-handedness helping to unsettle the opposition. Any pairing that includes Julian Walton is going to be hard to beat (he had 13 out of 14 Doubles wins in the recent League season), but Dave and Nick generally had the upper hand and managed to avert a comeback that the others appeared to be mounting in the later stages.
    Division 2 Singles Ross Lingard (Kings) beat Adrian Reeves (Kings)
    13-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9
    No handicap this time, and scoring up to 11 instead of 21, but changing the rules didn't help Adrian to win this one either. Actually the scoring was considerably closer, but Ross's confidence was sky-high by now and he wasn't going to throw things away by showboating - the main difference from the Handicap final was that we did see occasional flashes of the Reeves forehand, which was nice. A few years ago Reeves Junior (Martyn) also played in both the Handicap and Division 2 Finals against the same man (John Vinnell, in that instance), and won them both in close-fought matches. History may repeat itself sometimes, but not in every detail.
    Open Singles Julian Walton (IBM) beat Dave Menzel (IBM)
    11-9, 11-9, 11-9
    Both players mixed aggression and caution well, and the skill level was as high as you'd expect from the two most successful players in the League this season. After holding his own in the early and middle stages of each game, Dave found himself a couple of points down towards the end of each, and almost got back to parity after that, but never quite. The crowd would have loved it to go to a 4th, and to a rousing finale in a 5th, but it didn't quite happen. Julian was a very worthy winner, and Dave would have been, too!

    See a video clip of the opening points of the 3rd game here

    Division Awards
    Division 1 IBM A IBM B
    Division 2 Kings C Kings B

    Team Competitions
    Team Eliminator IBM A IBM C
    Hursley Shield ('Division 2 Championship') South Wonston C Kings B
    Conder-Winnall (handicap) IBM C Hursley A

    Individual Awards
    Arthur Richards ('outstanding achievement') Paul Martin (Kings)
    Owen Booker (top averages across Divisions) Julian Walton (IBM)
    Colin Sly Giantkiller (most surprising win by an underdog) Ryan Johnston (South Wonston))