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posted 1 May 2018, 15:57 by The GTTA   [ updated 1 May 2018, 16:00 ]

     Guernsey  57 - 53  Jersey     


Guernsey have reclaimed the Horace Mallett Memorial Aggregate Trophy following a 57-53 triumph, concluding with a 7-3 win in the showpiece Green Trophy event on Saturday evening.

Jersey pinched the Aggregate trophy by a single match last year due to their 56-54 win and looked to be in control to retain, when leading 33-17 following the conclusion of the matches in the morning session. The Sarnian players put in an excellent shift in the afternoon session however and incredibly left the score tied at 50-50 ahead of the Green, which was wrapped up in style.

The Green trophy is the most prestigious event locally each year and pits the best 3 male players from each Island against each other in a standalone battle. The match is completed in the same playing format as local league matches, albeit with a slightly different playing order.

The Guernsey team was unchanged from last year’s winning team of Garry Dodd, Joshua Stacey and Lawrence Stacey, whilst Jersey’s team was completely changed and comprised entirely of debutants in the form of 2008 CI Top 12 winner Grzegorz Frankowski, Tyler Gosselin and Luke Greenfield.

Guernsey had clinched the Green trophy in 7 of the previous 10 seasons and a 7-3 victory this year makes it 3 consecutive years of wins.

Lawrence Stacey made his debut last season and failed to register a win and he had the daunting task of opening the tie this year against Greenfield. It was a topsy-turvy encounter, but Stacey was always in front and came through the decisive 5th end 11-5 to put the Greens ahead.

Dodd was next up and in merciless form against Tyler Gosselin, dropping just 17 points along the way.

Frankowski steading the ship for the visitors and got them onto the board courtesy of a dominant straight sets win over Joshua Stacey, but Dodd was soon up once more to evidence his dominance once more, Greenfield seen off for the loss of just 13 points. Frankowski once more showed his quality in the next rubber after he comfortably came past Lawrence Stacey in straight sets, leaving the match at 3-2 in favor of the Sarnians.

The doubles rubber is often a crucial encounter and Dodd teamed up well with reserve Ben Foss to come through against Frankowski and Gosselin in 4 sets.

Joshua Stacey was up next and he was a completely different player than the one that went down to Frankowski in his opener, blitzing Gosselin in straight sets. This result was also significant in that it ensured that the Green trophy would be staying in Guernsey as it put Guernsey 5-2 up and whoever holds the trophy reclaims in the event of a drawn match.

Dodd was up next against Frankowski in a repeat of the previous evenings CI Men’s Singles final and the aggregate trophy was also on the line could Dodd repeat his victory. The match was almost an exact mirror of the previous evening, with Dodd far too strong for his Polish opponent. He had won all 4 sets 11-4 in the Men’s Singles final and he added another 2 of these during his 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 win. The result gave rise to rapturous applause in the GTTA Centre, with the members all well aware that the sought after Horace Mallett Aggregate trophy was back in Sarnian hands.

Once a rubber is dead and the aggregate settled, it is always tough to contest the remaining matches, but both Stacey twins played their part in a couple of hard fought battles to finalise proceedings. Josh Stacey was first up against Greenfield and this turned out to be the closest matches of the night. The first 2 games were shared, before Stacey battled through an epic 3rd game 20-18. The 4th game had a peculiar ending as Gosselin dropped his bat when serving at 9-8 up, which caused a distraction and led to Stacey failing to return the serve. The Jersey player then followed up with an unreturnable edge to complete the fortunate conclusion and send it to a deciding end. Stacey regrouped well and finally managed to edge past 11-9 in the decider having let 4 match points slip from 10-5 up.

Lawrence was up against Gosselin in the final match of the evening and Gosselin looked to be in cruise control at 1-0 up in games and with a seemingly unstoppable 9-0 lead in the 2nd. Stacey somehow managed to claw it back and 10 points later held an unlikely game point at 10-9. Gosselin finally managed to get his 10th point, but Stacey closed it out 12-10, before also taking the 3rd 11-9. Gosselin to his credit was not discouraged by the disappointment of letting his control of the match slip and played some excellent table tennis to come through the final games 11-6, 11-7 to restore some pride in his team’s ultimate 7-3 loss.

Jersey’s commanding 33-17 lead was almost entirely built due to their 10-0 whitewash in the Under 11 Open category. In Taylor Roche, John Le Fondre and Hannah Silcock, they have 3 high quality players for that particular category. Silcock was actually awarded with the President’s trophy for best performer outside of the Green by GTTA president Derek Webb following her performances over the course of the weekend.

Jersey also clinched the Under 21 Open title 8-2 in the morning session, but this was via the aid of Green players Gosselin and Greenfield, who directly contributed to 6 of the 8 rubbers.

The Under 15 team also lost out 8-2, with Corey Brouard and Ben Sharp each beating Max Roche.

Sarnian successes in the morning came courtesy of the Women’s ‘Margaret’ Trophy and the Over 40’s event. Kay Chivers, Charlotte Casey and Ridunian Marli Barker made sure of the 6-4 win, whilst Phil Ogier, Jez Powell and Andy Gill did well to come through 7-3 against their counterparts.

The afternoon saw utter dominance from Guernsey after claiming trophies in 4 of the 5 events contested. 7-3 wins were obtained in the Under 13 Open, Under 18 Boys and Over 50’s, whilst the biggest winners were the Under 18 Girls, made up entirely of Alderney players. Marli Barker, Amy Wesley and Melissa Johns put in a great shift and managed to win 8-2, all crucial rubbers towards the aggregate trophy. The only reverse came in the Over 60’s, who were narrowly edged out 6-4.

Alderney table tennis stalwart Keith Ives took the honour of receiving the Horace Mallett Memorial Aggregate trophy on behalf of Guernsey. Ives has been influential in the development of table tennis in Alderney and players have been representing Guernsey at these events for many years with great success. In this year alone, their players directly contributed to 11 of the 57 Guernsey rubbers and without them, it would have been a Jersey triumph.