In the first Group stages, the 8 top seeds all managed to get through but not without a couple of surprises, most noticeably as Millie Bennett defeated Abby Wighton to win Group 8.
The second round was played in four groups of four with the first two from each group progressing to the next stage. The 2nd stage group winners and runners up were Greig McDonell (-13), Louis McLeod (+7), Rachel Petrie (+7), James Wighton (-4), Louis Myatt (+7), Luke Hennessey (+5), Abby Wighton (-1) and John Bald (+3) who then competed in the Quarter finals. Major casualties included the number 2 and 3 seeds, Iain Johnstone (-8), who on count back lost out to Abby and John and Clive Liddiard (-4) who lost out to Luke and Louis.
The 1st Quarter final saw Greig take on Abby in what was regarded by many as the best match of the day with both players playing some great table tennis. Greig gave Abby a 12 point start to 23 and it seemed in each end that it was only after that advantage had been overturned that Abby’s determination and great attacking play really came to the fore. In a terrific deciding end, Greig caught Abby up at 18-18 before Abby as she had done in the previous ends kept the pressure on by taking the game to deuce before just losing out 24-22 in the final end - a match that would have been fitting for the final.
Quarter final number 2 saw Rachel take on son Louis in a tense family affair. Rachel had come through probably the most difficult 2nd round group and had knocked out the number 5 and 6 seeds in Gary Mcdougal and Tony Brentnall. We’re not sure whether harmony has been restored to the household yet after mum showed her experience in a game which was a straight fight to 11 points by putting out Louis, who many thought was one of the pre-tornament favourites for the title!
The 3rd Quarter final saw John take on Louis McLeod with Louis having a 4 point start in a fight to 11 points. Louis, one of the Club’s youngsters who has improved greatly after his first competitive season in the Edinburgh League, was up against a player, however, who had about 50 years more experience than him and John’s defensive style proved just too tricky as John progressed to the semi-final.
The final quarter final saw Luke (+5) take on the number 4 seed, James (-4) with Luke having a 9 point start to 15. Luke has had an excellent first season in the Edinburgh League and having started the season with a +7 handicap has improved significantly resulting in the League taking notice of his results and cutting his handicap by two points. Luke had already taken care of the number 3 seed, Clive in the previous round and he again showed what an improving talent he is by competing well against James. When James won the first end fairly comfortably 15-12 it looked like Luke’s day was over but he bounced back to take the next end 15-10. In the deciding end Luke’s ability to keep in the rallies proved the difference between the two as he took advantage of James’ mistakes to win 15-12 and progress to the semi-final stage.
In the first semi-final, Luke faced John (surely the ringer of the tournament with a +3 handicap) and with only a two point start to 11, the match was always going to be difficult for young Luke. A defensive style is not one that the youngsters are used to training against and this proved the difference as John’s ability to generate a lot of backspin proved too difficult for his opponent. Although Luke rallied towards the end of the match, John’s experience told as he comfortably progressed to the final.
In the other semi-final Rachel took on Greig with Rachel having a 20-0 start to 24. In front of a big crowd, Rachel found Greig’s serves virtually impossible to return and nerves seemed to play a part as she went into her shell somewhat and didn't attack as much as she had done in previous rounds. Greig’s consistency saw him through in straight ends. Rachel did however start the injury woes for Greig as she actually made him move a couple of times causing twinges in his leg muscles (seemingly they do exist)!!
The final was a bit of an anti-climax and a repeat of the first round group match between John and Greig which Greig had won. John had a 16-0 advantage in a match to 24 points. Greig seemed to spend more time receiving injury timeouts than at at the table whilst John did well to keep his concentration whilst his opponent was falling apart! Having won the first end John decided to add to Greig’s pain by somehow managing to lose the 2nd end causing more injury woes! In the final end John did just enough to squeeze home 24-20 for a well deserved victory. Well done to our 2015 Champion, winning his first trophy since about 1985!! As Greig always says to the kids at Saturday morning coaching sessions a huge part of Table Tennis is about fitness and what better example than John - Greig’s convinced he was in his 60s when he first played with him at Lasswade as a 12 year old boy and that must mean he's about to get a card from the Queen - and yet as Greig struggled to remain standing by the end (in fairness he did play 8 matches where he had to win 24 points to win an end!) there was John looking as spritely as he always has and as fit as he was 30 years ago!!
Some thanks to end - to Tom, Greig and Brian (not sure what Brian actually did) for the work done in the run up to the event; to Katharine for her excellent running of the top table (assisted or was it hindered by Tom); to all the Club members and families who took part or came along to support; to all those who brought along a great selection of food and beverages and finally to Maisie for her hard work behind the scenes in getting all the food and drink organised. A terrific and enjoyable day was had by all.