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Annual Guildford Tournament - Day 1

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Mon, 02/04/2019 - 13:11 — john callcutNew

The first part of the 84th Guildford Closed Table Tennis Competition took place at Christ’s College on Sunday, 3rd February. Before proceedings started we remembered four table tennis players who have sadly passed away in the last year. Carole Ingram, Mike Willimott, Colin Henderson and Ron Stracey.

The day’s competition consisted of the Divisional Singles and Doubles, the Veterans Singles and Doubles and the Masters competition.

The Divisional Championships are always keenly contested and this time we had entries from the Premier and Divisions 1, 2 and 4.

In the semi-finals of the Premier section Rory Scott beat Phil Harrison three straight and Phil Snelson beat Richard Seymour also three straight. In the final Scott went one up with a 13-11 win but Snelson came back strongly winning 11-6, 11-6 and 11-7 to become champion. In the doubles Phil Snelson and Julie Lawrence had a fine win in five over Simon Vine and Rory Scott before playing Vijay Bhaskar and Richard Seymour in the final. This they won 5-11, 14-12, 11-5, 11-8 to complete an excellent double for Snelson who is in the form of his life.

The First Division saw Chris Pullinger and Stuart Vincent move strongly to the final with wins over Peter Palmer and Steve Collins. The final was an ’up and down’ affair with Pullinger winning the first two matches 11-3, 11-6 but then Vincent upped his game and won 11-2. Well, what was going on? Pullinger who is in fine form buckled down and took the fourth set 11-5. That man Chris Pullinger with his scratch partner Adrian Cretu reached the doubles final when they had to play Stuart Vincent and Adrian Sharp. This proved to be a very tense encounter with Vincent and Sharp winning 21-19, 7-11, 11-4, 2-11, 11-8.

The Second Division competition was played in two groups of five. Brian Mitchell was undefeated in Group A and Ansh Richharia was unbeaten in Group B. This anticipated final looked to be plain sailing for Mitchell as he took a two set lead, 11-2 and 11-7 but Richharia was made of firmer stuff and battled back by winning 11-9 and 11-8. Anyone’s game you would have thought but Mitchell, playing very consistently, took the fifth set 11-2 as Richharia’s challenge faded. Another tense doubles final took place between Mike Caudrey & Paul Tanton and Carsten Horne and Ansh Richharia. Horne is somewhat of a doubles specialist and he together with his partner won 6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9.

The Fourth Division competition was played in two groups and the young guns Owain Osmond-Gillam and Vince Quiambao came through to the final. This proved to be a tight encounter with Quiambao emerging as the winner 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8. Veteran umpire Jim Faulkner reported that this was an excellent match played by two young players in a fine spirit. The doubles final saw the youngsters playing, let’s say, experience and it was the youngsters who emerged victorious. Vincent Quiambao & Owain Osmond-Gillam beating Richard Abbey & Rich Clement 11-7, 11-4, 5-11,11-5.

The Masters event for over 60s was played on a straight knock-out basis. Simon Vine beat defending champion, Phil Harrison 11-5, 11-5, 11-5. This was a reversal of last year’s result and a delighted Vine was happy to announce that this was his first Guildford Championship since he won the open singles as a young lad in 1976.

The Veterans Championship for over 40s is always a hard-fought contest and the standard gets higher every year. There were two stand out quarter final matches. Simon Vine beat the fancied Richard Tanner 9-11, 11-8, 11-6,11-6 and Julie Lawrence put up a terrific display against a rattled John Robinson before running out of steam and losing 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 3-11. The semi-final was a classic between Phil Snelson and the mercurial Rory Scott. Scott won a nail-bighting first game 15-13. It was then up and down before Scott came through by winning 4-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9. The other semi-final saw Simon Vine nearly taking a two-set lead against John Robinson but Robinson is a fighter and he won 8-11, 16-14, 11-6, 11-1.

The final between Robinson and Scott was another dramatic affair with the supporters on the edge of their seats. Scott was dominant in the first game winning 11-8 but Robinson snatched the second 11-9. The third game was vital and often when it gets tight Scott’s variation of serves, pendulum, tomahawk etc. gets him out of trouble (as it had in the semi-final). Robinson had to control these and also keep the ball off Scott’s terrific backhand smash which is a lethal weapon. He kept his nerve and concentration and nicked the game 12-10. The fourth game could have gone either way but Robinson maintained control and his composure and won 11-7 to become a worthy winner.

The final events, the Veterans Doubles, saw some more high class matches. John Robinson & Richard Tanner played Simon Vine & Rory Scott in the final. Robinson and Tanner had not dropped a game in getting to the finals and this pattern continued as they won 11-5, 11-7 and 11-4.

In total 136 matches were played over the day. Next Sunday we do it all again when we will stage the Open Singles and Doubles, Junior and Ladies events