Joe Wilson Table Tennis Club crowns champions

Junior championship (l-r) runners-up Aidan Beattie and Declan Noble and winners Sophie Ho and Max Baird.
Junior championship (l-r) runners-up Aidan Beattie and Declan Noble and winners Sophie Ho and Max Baird.

The Joe Wilson Table Tennis Club held its senior and junior championships at Taylor High in New Stevenston.

The senior championship saw seven competitors split into two groups with the winner and runner-up from each group going to the semi-finals.

In Group A saw reigning champion John Feeney endure a scare in both matches, but eventually overcame newcomers Richy Nailen and Paul Sloan, with Sloan winning their head-to-head to finish second.

Group B matched the effervescent John Harty, Jennifer McCormick and Alan Wilson with newcomer Gerry Maguire.

Although in his first season at the club, Maguire is no rookie having played in his younger days and won all three matches to top the group.

Harty proved too powerful for McCormick and Wilson beating both of them to claim the runners-up place.

The semi-finals pitched Maguire and Sloan together and with both players on full-attack mode it was Maguire who took the three ends to progress.

The other match enabled Feeney and Harty continued their long association and using a variety of spin it was Feeney who made it to the final.

Feeney had no desire to give up his title easily and won the first end 11-6, the second end was much closer, but in the end Feeney took it to go 2-0 up.

Maguire changed his tactics, adopting a more defensive backspin approach rather than go toe to toe with Feeney’s powerful attacking topspin, and claimed the end to pull the match back to 2-1.

His brought this approach into the fourth end and early on it was working, but Feeney showed his experience to take a commanding 10-5 lead.

Maguire pulled it back to 10-9, but Feeney was able to get the point he needed to claim the title for the second year in a row.

The junior competition was graded with players who had participated at junior league level in the band A contest, and junior league development players and non-league players in band B.

Both grades were split into two mini leagues, with each player playing each other, and the winner and runner up from each mini league progressed to the semi-finals.

In the band B competition Matthew Daniel dominated his mini-league winning all three matches, with Declan Noble claiming the runners-up spot The second mini league was a similar story with Jaden Platt winning all three matches and Sophie Ho in second place as they progressed.

The semi-finals pitched Ho against Daniel and Platt against Noble and in something of a shock it was the two mini league runners-up, Ho and Noble, who made it to the final.

Noble took the first end 11-8 and then did the same in the second to go 2-0 up, however Ho found form to take the third leg comfortably and the tied things up winning the fourth 11-8.

In the deciding end each player matched each other point for point until halfway, when Ho regained her momentum and completed a marvellous comeback to claim the title.

In the band A competition mini league 1 saw Winston Sui managed to gain the advantage in all four of his matches to top the group and was joined in the semi-final by Martin Cameron.

Mini league 2 saw Aidan Beattie repeat last year’s performance to win his group, with newcomer Max Baird in second place.

The semi-finals brought together Sui versus Baird and Beattie versus Cameron, with Baird and Beattie going through to set up a rematch from the mini league which Beattie had won.

This time it would be a different story as Baird took the first leg 11-5 and his constant attacking proved too much for Beattie as he took the second and third too to lift the championship.

Coach Alan Wilson said: “Competition brings out the best in players, and while we have champions and finalists, I as a coach look at each individual player to watch how their play is developing.

“I have got to tell every single player in the competition that I saw big improvements over the course of this season in all your play. So I give my sincere congratulations to every player and tell you well done.

“Thanks also to all the parents and friends and senior players who helped on the day with organising and moving equipment and umpiring. Your help is very much appreciated, we couldn’t do it without you.”

The Joe Wilson Table Tennis Club was established in September 2012 in memory of Joe Wilson and is open to everyone of any level of ability.

The club meets in Taylor High on Tuesdays at 6.30pm and Thursdays at 7pm) during term time and Wednesdays at 6.30pm in New Stevenston Community Centre during the summer holidays.

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