The eagerly awaited inaugural club championship of the Joe Wilson Table Tennis Club proved to be a tense and exciting affair.
The event at Taylor High saw all three singles tournaments going to the wire which presented a great spectacle for players and spectators alike.
All tournaments started with group stages with the top two from each group going forward to the semi-finals.
In the Development singles, Declan Noble and Declan Tobin progressed to the semi-finals from group 1 winning three matches each, while Nathan Noble and Sophie Ho won through with three match wins and two match wins respectively.
The first semi-final pitched the Noble brothers together with Declan winning the first end before Nathan came back winning the next two ends to take his place in the final.
In the second semi-final Declan Tobin proved to be too much of a challenge for Sophie, winning by two straight ends.
In a nervous start to the final, Nathan Noble took the first end 11-3, while Declan Tobin fought back in the second end to take it 11-5. The final end saw both players give of their best with very little between them, with Nathan taking the honours 11-9.
The Junior singles saw Liam Docherty, Martin Cameron and Winston Siu all finishing with two wins apiece in group one. On countback Liam and Martin just edged Winston to make it to the semi-final.
Group two saw Aidan Beattie and Josh Brown progress with two wins each.
Semi-final one pitched Liam versus Aidan. Although Aidan won in two straight ends, the tightness of the scores of 11-8 and 11-9 served up a thrilling game.
Josh won over Martin in the second semi-final by 11-3 and 11-9 in another stirring encounter. So the final matched Aidan and Josh in a rerun of their group encounter.
In the best of five ends, Josh stormed into a 2-0 lead, winning a tight first end by 12-10 and the second end by 11-6.
The third and fourth ends gave us an inkling of just how closely matched both players were, with Aidan winning both ends by the smallest of margins: 12-10 and 12-10.
So once again the final went to a decider. In a fabulous display of skills, Aidan and Josh served up a cracker, with Josh taking the final end by 11-6 and with it the match and the championship.
The Juniors and Development players all took part in a fast and furious handicap singles. With all players receiving a number of points start (depending on their finishing positions in the tournaments), each game was decided over a single end, first to 11.
From the 16 players taking part, the final came down to cousin versus cousin as Winston Siu took on Sophie Ho. In a stirring tie, Winston made up for his disappointment in the Junior singles, by winning and taking the trophy.
The Seniors tournament showed competition at its best. In group 1 John Feeney (3 wins) and Drew Aitken (2 wins) won through over Kelly Zhang and Carla Rankin.
In group 2 John Brown (3 wins) and Dave Marshall (2 wins) progressed to the knock out stage, over John Harty and Ross Campbell.
The semi-finals were both decided in two straight ends: with John Feeney getting the better of Dave by 11-2 and 11-9; and John Brown overcoming Drew by 11-7 and 11-6.
The final pitched John Feeney with his mastery of spin against the power play of John Brown, an intriguing set-up. In the best of five ends, the first end saw John Brown just edge it by 11-9. In the second end, John Feeney’s spin proved to be decisive taking the end 11-5.
John Brown responded by firing his way to an 11-4 win in the third end. So far, all ends had gone against the first server, and the fourth end continued the trend with John Feeney taking it 11-5 to level the match.
The final end saw the play toing and froing, with John Brown edging in front, but another fight back by John Feeney saw him pull the score back to 10-10. At that stage each player received one serve and had to win by two clear points, which John Feeney eventually did with a fabulous forehand topspin winner to take the end 14-12.
The club would like to thank all helpers, spectators, umpires (especially Martin Rankin and Clare Rankin), the Taylor High janitors for their patience and help, the trophy maker – Silver Swan Crafts, and to all the players who made such a wonderful competition.
All the trophy winners are pictured receiving their prizes from club chairman Alan Wilson.
ROLL OF HONOUR —
Junior/ Development Handicap Champion: Winston Siu
Junior/ Development Handicap Runner-up: Sophie Ho
Development Champion: Nathan Noble
Development Runner-Up: Declan Tobin
Junior Champion: Josh Brown
Junior Runner-up: Aidan Beattie
Senior Champion: John Feeney
Senior Runner-up: John Brown.