Garry Dodd continues to reign as the leading player within the local and CI table tennis scene after picking up the Lions Spot for Sport title on Monday evening at the GTTA Centre. Dodd recently obtained his 7th CI Open Top 12 crown and is yet to lose an individual singles match since the season commenced in September last year. This has resulted in 3 Open tournament singles wins so far this season along with an Open Doubles crown alongside Joshua Butler.His 4th Open singles title collected here came with few issues and he overcame Joshua Stacey over 4 ends in the showpiece final.
The event was fairly well contested with a healthy entry of 24 players, however this would have been more had it not been for a few entrants scratching from the tournament for various reasons.
As anticipated, there were very few surprises during the initial group stages and each expected player made it through to the knockout stages, with the exception of Group E, where a Division 1 player failed to make it through. The player in question was junior Joseph Bourgaize and the Whistlers player missed out to Ravenscroft Panthers player Steve Martin, who went through as group runner-up behind seeded player Butler. The group ended in a countback situation as Bourgaize, Martin and GTTA Tournament Secretary Ian Fitchet had all won 1 of their 3 singles matches. Martin took the spot in the main draw due to having a better games ratio than his rivals.
Completion of the Last 16 ties made way for a healthy selection of Quarter final encounters comprising almost entirely of the Island’s leading players. The only unseeded player to make it to this stage was Craig Dunning, who had done superbly to defeat Martin over 5 sets in their Last 16 clash. The Division 3 player’s run would ultimately come to an end at this stage, but he gained good experience during his straight game defeat to Joshua Stacey.
The other match from the bottom half of the draw pitted 2017 Green trophy player Lawrence Stacey and the rapidly improving Junior Ben Foss. This was by far the match of the round and it was Foss that came through the epic, 13-11 in the deciding end of their tussle, preventing a clash between the twins in the semi finals.
The top half of the draw saw Dodd make light work of Paul Hainsworth in straight games and he was joined in the penultimate stage of the tournament by Butler, who battled through against Phil Ogier in 4 games after dropping the opener.
The encounter between Dodd and Butler was gripping and despite Butler edging a close second 13-11, Dodd was always in control and came through over 4 ends. The other semi final saw Stacey overcome Foss, also over 4 ends. This was a much tighter affair though and Foss will rue missed chances due to having led in each of the 4 ends contested. The first end in particular saw him holding a trio of game points at 10-7, before being edged out 12-10. All of the remaining ends could have gone either way, but each was taken 11-9, with Foss taking the 3rd end of the match to keep his hopes alive.
The final was a strange encounter which saw Stacey incredibly pinch the first leg 11-9, having faced a large deficit of 2-7 early on. Dodd was far from his best, but did more than enough to comfortably come through the match in 4 games and reclaim the title he won last year.
The Jack Carrington tournament is the next local event and will be contested on 6th March. This event precludes any player that has competed for Guernsey in the annual Green Trophy Inter-Insular event during the past couple of years.