Garry Dodd maintained his 100% local record this season by winning the Lions Spot for Sport Open Singles tournament. Having already won the Senior Group and Whistlers Open Singles titles this campaign, Dodd clinched the 3rd title and his 2nd Spot for Sport crown with a 4 game victory over Adam Langlois in the final.
The tournament saw some good performances and results from the local juniors who continue to progress at a steady rate. Ben Foss, at the age of just 11 played some excellent table tennis and managed to progress through the group stage as runner-up. His route through the group included 2 high quality 3-1 victories over tricky experienced 2nd division opposition in the form of Chas Elliott and Dave Finn. He also put in a good showing against the seeded division 1 player Paul Hainsworth, despite losing in straight games.
Another youngster to impress was 16 year old James Rabey who navigated his group as winner courtesy of victories over Ben Foote and Theo Lepp. He followed up on his success by defeating Rose Powell to make the Quarter finals of an Open tournament for the first time, where he came up against Hainsworth. The first 2 games went the way of the higher ranked player, but Rabey showed no fear by edging the 3rd game. He was well set to take the match into a decider at 10-8 up in the following game, but a few costly errors enabled Hainsworth to win 4 consecutive points and reach the semi-finals.
The only other surprise result of the group stages came as Keith Opie secured a good 3-1 victory over his team-mate and long term doubles partner Kay Chivers to advance to the last 16, where he was beaten by Hainsworth in straight games.
Dodd made his run to the final look easy against tough opposition, the CI number one making no mistake against Liam Robilliard or Jez Powell in the knockout stages, dropping just 13 and 14 points in each respective encounter. Powell had earlier come through a tough quarter final clash against Josh Stacey and he needed to use all of his experience to overcome the junior in a 5th and final game.
Langlois’ route to the semi-finals was smooth as he defeated Ian Fitchet 3-1 in the last 16 before impressively putting Lawrence Stacey out of the tournament via a ruthless straight game win. The match against Hainsworth in the semis was far from comfortable for the Cenkos Panthers player, who found himself facing a 2-0 deficit after a strong start from the Lions player. The 3rd game proved to be pivotal in the encounter, as Hainsworth held a 9-8 lead and was just 2 points from victory. Langlois dug deep and managed to win the leg 11-9 to get back into contention. The next 2 legs were more comfortable for Langlois, although he was pegged back to 7-7 in the decider, before winning the decisive points to come through 11-8.
The final was a closely fought encounter which saw Langlois looking to take the game to Dodd, attacking at every opportunity. The first 2 games were shared over the full deuce distance, evidencing the tightness of the encounter. The 3rd and 4th games were equally close, but to Dodd’s credit he kept himself composed and managed to win the important points and closed out the final games to record a 13-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 win. Although being far from his best performance this season, Dodd showed why he remains to be the man to beat in the Channel Islands, with his unbeaten record this season talking for itself.