Channel Island number 1 Garry Dodd completed his devastating unbeaten record this season by securing a 5th consecutive CI Men’s Singles crown at the FB Fields on Friday evening. Dodd’s victory came in the climatic showpiece event of the CI Finals night, in which the Sarnians gained 11 trophies to Jersey’s 8.
In the Men’s Final, Dodd came up against one of the Caesarean’s many top Polish players in the form of Gregorz Frankowski, a previous winner of the CI top 12 competition. Frankowski has recently returned to competitive action in Jersey this season after a few years out and has been one of the top performers in their domestic league, dropping just 2 matches. Dodd realised the threat that the Pole could pose and made his intentions clear when powering his way through the opening 2 legs for the loss of just 8 points. The third end was tighter, however Dodd never looked like losing and was regularly on the front foot, leaving his opponent bewildered on occasions by some thunderous backhand top spin winners. Fortune was on Dodd’s side in the 3rd though when he experienced a shot that trickled over the net at 10-9 to seal the game. The 4 th game followed a similar pattern to the opening 2 and Dodd was well on top when holding 4 match points at 10-6. A few uncharacteristic errors followed to reduce the lead to just 1 point at 10-9. Frankowski had the serve and was looking poised to extend the leg further. Dodd had other ideas and played an exquisite backhand sidespin return winner that left the Polish player rooted to the spot and ensured another CI title was his.
This was however just a single part of Dodd’s evening where he also claimed the Mixed and Men’s Doubles titles.
Victory in the Mixed came in the opening session of the evening as alongside Dawn Morgan the pair came out on top against JTTA development officer Craig Gascoyne and Kelsey Le Maistre in straight games.
Even sweeter was the win in the Men’s Doubles alongside 16 year old Joshua Butler. The pair has been unbeaten locally this season and they faced an extremely tough challenge against the Polish duo of Gregorz and Marcin Jurkiewicz. The encounter was filled with expansive rallies with all 4 players attempting to get in with their powerful forehand topspin strokes. The Sarnian duo did well to regain focus throughout despite ‘distractions’ and ran out 4-2 winners.
The evening had opened in perfect fashion with wins in all 3 of the opening matches. Alongside the Mixed Doubles win, Chloe Le Tissier crucified Caitlin Fitzsimmons for the loss of just 10 points en route to the Under 15 Girl’s Singles title. The best win though came in the Under 18 Open Doubles which was claimed by the Stacey twins Lawrence and Joshua (pictured). The pair performed superbly to see off the strong combination of Hugo Tupper and Jordan Wykes in 5 games.
The second round of games was not a fruitful one as all 4 titles were claimed by Jersey. Tupper and Wykes both made up for their doubles loss in the previous round by winning singles titles. Tupper was a 4-1 winner over Lawrence Stacey in the Under 21 Open Singles after some rapid forehand topspin’s. The score line was the same in the Under 15 Boys Singles where Wykes was victorious over Sam King. 5 games was again the margin of defeat in the Over 50’s Open Singles where Eugene ‘Yogi’ Ellis beat Phil Hunkin. Bruce Gallichan was the other Jersey winner in the round as he defeated Ian Fitchet in the Over 60s Open Singles without loss. The
A few pivotal encounters were held in the 3rd round and it was Jersey that won these to extend their trophy advantage. Luke Bichard was the unfortunate benefactor of defeat in the Under 11 Open Singles in a match that looked his. He held a 3-1 lead over Luc Miller and had 3 match points at 10-7. Miller dug deep and saved all of them to fight back to deuce where he was also required to save a few more. When the Jersey player nicked it 15-13, he went from strength to strength to complete a comeback win over the full distance.
Le Tissier was aiming for her second CI title of the evening in the Under 18 Girl’s Singles and she also looked set for success when leading 3-2 and just a few points from victory over Kelsey Le Maistre. Le Maistre experienced a fortunate net cord late on in the crucial 6th which appeared to spur her on in that leg. In the 7 th she played with much more confidence to complete the win in style. Tupper was again sublime in his Under 18 Boy’s Singles match against Joshua Stacey, where he ran out a 5 game winner. There was better news in the Under 13 Open Singles where Ben Foss made no mistakes in his match with Phillip Quinn in which he powered to a 5 game win.
With Guernsey trailing the trophies 7-4, they put in excellent performances in the 4 th round of matches by claiming all 3 titles. Aside from the previously mentioned Men’s Doubles win for Dodd and Butler, Morgan and Kay Chivers were also comfortable 4-0 winners in the Women’s Doubles over Sofia Uddnas and Le Maistre. The other encounter came in the Over 40’s Open Singles and was a classic between Mark Pipet and Ellis. The duo have played each other on numerous occasions and know each other’s games well. Both players were firing and it was Ellis that pinched the first 2 in deuce, before Pipet responded in the 3 rd, again in deuce. Parity was restored after a comfortable 4th for Pipet, however Ellis regained his advantage after another deuce game in the 5th. Pipet’s experience was evident in the following 6th and 7th ends which he claimed to complete an epic 7 game win, controlling the game with his backhand to great effect.
With the evening now being tied at 7 each in trophies, Guernsey smelled the opportunity to take advantage and did this by winning 2 of the 3 matches in the penultimate round. Alice Loveridge ran out a comfortable 4-0 winner in the Women’s Singles against Uddnas to win her 6th CI Women’s title. Fitchet has won the Over 70’s Open Singles each time since its inception in 2008 and he made it 6 on the bounce after beating Malcolm Gallichan in an entertaining 6 game encounter. Ellis and Bobby Vincent were the Jersey victors in this round with their 4-1 win over Pipet and Hunkin in the Over 40’s Open Doubles.
Dodd’s success against Frankowski followed to leave the total tally of trophies on the evening to 10-8 in Guernsey’s favour. The final total was actually 11-8 to Guernsey though as Jersey did not have a Veteran’s Women’s Singles player to compete against Dawn Morgan, who was the victor of the Guernsey event.
The Inter-Insulars resulted in rare defeats of both the Green trophy and the Aggregate for the Guernsey contingent. This has not happened this decade and last occurred in 1985, however perspective must be taken as both losses were incurred on the outcome of just a few matches. The overall aggregate score was 62-48 in Jersey’s favour and just 7 matches were the difference between Guernsey retaining the trophy and Jersey’s success.
The Green Trophy ended as a 6-4 victory for Jersey and their International team comprising Poles Frankowski and Jurkiewicz and English Gascoyne. Jersey took the lead courtesy of Gascoyne’s 3-1 win over Phil Ogier and this was followed up by Frankowski’s 4 game win over Scott Romeril. Dodd stepped in and steadied the ship with a straight game win over Jurkiewicz before Frankowski again extended Jersey’s lead to 2 with another 4 game win, this time over Ogier. Match 5 saw the hotly anticipated clash between Dodd and Gascoyne and was again marred with controversy. With the match tied at 1-1, Gascoyne was bouncing the ball on the table numerous times prior to serving which led to Dodd stepping to the side of the table at which point a let should have been in effect. Gascoyne then proceeded to serve the ball on the table, which incredibly led to the point being awarded to the Jersey player by the umpire. Spurred on by this perceived injustice, Dodd kept his head well and fought back in a determined fashion to win 3-1. The momentum was now clearly with the Sarnian’s and Dodd teamed with Adam Langlois in the pivotal doubles clash where they saw off the strong pairing of Gascoyne and Frankowski in 5 games. With parity restored it looked like the lead could go Guernsey’s way when Romeril was in a deciding 5th end with Jurkiewicz. Credit must be given to the Pole who held his nerve well and played some effective blocks to clinch the leg 11-8 and restore the Caesarean advantage. Dodd was up next and he completed his unbeaten weekend in style with a straight game victory over Frankowski. With the match poised at 4-4, Ogier was up against Jurkiewicz in a big clash. Ogier was near his best in the opener which he won comfortably, however the Pole increased his level to open a 2-1 lead. Ogier was again playing some high quality table tennis in the 4th and won an exceptional rally when leading 9-8, retrieving numerous shots from the deep that looked like lost causes, eventually forcing the mistake. Marcin kept his cool though and won the next 4 points to put his side on the brink. The final game was between Gascoyne and Romeril and Romeril played well to open up a 2-1 advantage. At 7-7 in the 4th it looked like a draw could be clinched however Gascoyne played some sensible table tennis and this led to him overturning the deficit and winning in 5 games. The less said about Gascoyne’s hostility and attitude throughout the evening and in particular towards Guernsey supporters the better.
The highlights of the team events came via victories in the Women’s ‘Margaret’ Trophy and the Under 21 Open ‘Britannic’ trophy. The outcome in the Margaret was an 8-2 success and saw unbeaten records for Loveridge and Morgan, who each picked up 3 singles wins over Le Maistre, Uddnas and Victoria Barnes. They also combined to beat Uddnas and Le Maistre in a 3-0 doubles win. Chivers beat Barnes, but lost out to both Le Maistre and Uddnas.
Loveridge also contributed strongly in the 7-3 Britannic win with parts to play in 4 of the wins. She did well to defeat Tupper as well as tricky defenders Chris Moorshead and Jack Mills. In the doubles she combined with Matt Stubbington to defeat Tupper and Moorshead in 4 games. Stubbington himself had performed well and earned wins over Moorshead and Mills. Lawrence Stacey played his part in the win too and fought hard to see of Mills in an exciting 5 game encounter.
Draws were the order of the day in the Under 13’s ‘Le Masurier’ Trophy, the Under 15’s ‘Continental’ Trophy and the Over 40’s Veterans Trophy.
Alderney’s Jack Ives was incredible throughout the weekend and none more so than in the Under 13 clash where he contributed to 4 of Guernsey’s 5 wins. He defeated brothers Phillip and David Quinn in Singles competition before teaming with Foss to win the doubles over Phillip and Luc Miller in 5 games. Foss himself picked up an important 4 game win over David and this led to Jersey leading 5-4 going into the final match between Ives and Miller. Miller had the full backing of the Jersey support and he was looking good to give them the trophy when leading 2-0 after 2 hard fought games. Ives fighting spirit is commendable and he refused defeat, storming back to a 3-2 win, 13-11 in the decider. This important win ensures that the trophy remains in Guernsey’s hands, having won it the previous year.
King and Foss both won 2 out of 3 in the Under 15 encounter over Luke Greenfield and Phillip Quinn and it was Ives again that chipped in with a highly important 5 game win over Greenfield to obtain a draw. Jordan Wykes did the damage for Jersey as he won all 3 of his singles matches and then teamed with Quinn to defeat Foss and Ives in a straight game doubles triumph.
Morgan and Martin Sarre played big parts in the Over 40’s draw as each posted wins over Tom Quinn and Kevin Allen. Jez Powell claimed the all-important win over Allen and was unfortunate to lose to Quinn over 5 games.
Jersey picked up the other titles over the busy Saturday, with wins in the Under 11 Open, the Under 18 Boys, The Under 18 Girls, The Over 50’s and the Over 60’s.