Post date: Sep 13, 2020 10:21:19 AM
The Guernsey Table Tennis Association successfully held their first tournaments this week following the exit from lockdown. The highly popular summer league was run during July and August and this saw 70 different players compete over the 9 weeks.
With the winter leagues due to commence on Wednesday 16th September 2020, it was the turn of the Divisional Championships last week which usually fall at the end of each winter league season. As with several tournaments scheduled towards the end of last season, these will now be held over the next few months and this includes the Island Championships, which will take place in November.
The Divisional championships themselves were well represented and saw an impressive 83 entrants across the 4 Divisional tournaments. The format is such that each player is able to enter a maximum of 2 events, being the Division they competed in during the 2019/20 season and also the event for the immediately higher division. It is only therefore players in the First Division who are only able to enter 1 event.
The Division 1 championship was well attended by the leading players in the Island and the only noticeable absence was Phil Ogier, who came runner-up in the Division 1 averages for the 2019-20 season. It was 3rd seed Lawrence Stacey that came through the field with a 3-1 win over 2nd seed Ben Foss in the final. Given the high caliber of entry level, there were a number of very competitive groups, including a very strong Group B which consisted of 4 Division 1 players. That group in question contained 2nd seed Foss as well as fellow youthful players Ryan Bichard, Ryan Gilson and Charlotte Casey. It was Foss that won the group with 3 wins, whilst Gilson did well to battle through with a 3-1 win over Bichard in the final match in the group. From the other 5 groups, it was the seeded Division 1 players which successfully navigated their groups as winners. The only 2nd Division player to reach the knockout stages was Jez Powell and he went one stage further after battling past Andre De Carteret in 5 sets in the opening knockout round. Another notable opening round encounter saw Gilson overcome fellow left hander Andy Gill in 5 sets. The top 4 seeded players all came through their Quarter Final encounters relatively comfortably. Top seed Josh Stacey did however drop the opening end to Matthew Casey before winning in 4 sets, 11-8 the score in the final set. Foss also had a tough clash with Powell but battled through to win in 3 closely contested sets. 3rd seed Lawrence Stacey overcame Gilson in straight sets, whilst 4th seed Paul Hainsworth did likewise against Dawn Morgan.
The first semi-final was a comfortable affair for Foss who cruised past Hainsworth in straight sets, however the other was a hard-fought encounter between the Stacey twins. Lawrence looked well on top after winning the first 2 ends comfortably, however Josh battled back well to take the match into a deciding end. Despite remaining close, it was Lawrence that surged through at the end to take it 11-8. Stacey played some super table tennis in the final to win the first 2 ends and this included coming back from 7-3 down in the first end to take it 11-8. He was finding particularly good effect with his backhand counter spins/drives in the longer rallies. Foss did battle back well to comfortably take the 3rd end, however Stacey was the main man on the night taking the 4th end and title 11-7. The second Division championship was won by second seed Ben Sharp after he defeated 4th seed Martin Sarre 3-1 in the final. Sharp had withstood a mighty fightback from Steve Ozanne in the semi finals and despite leading 2-0, just about creeped through the monumental deciding 5th end 15-13. Sarre on the other hand had been embroiled in a 5-set classic of his own in the other half of the draw. Top seed Kay Chivers looked in absolute control when leading 2-0, however Sarre raised his game considerably to win the final 3 ends 11-7, 11-6, 11-7. The final was a similar pattern to the Division 1 championship as Sharp took a 2-0 lead, before Sarre won the 3rd. Sharp then finished the job in the 4th with the score of 11-7. The Division 3 championship saw some of the hardest fought matches across all events as there were a large number of 5 set matches throughout the group and knockout stages. One such group took over 2 hours to complete.
It was 4th seed Ian Fitchet that rolled back the years to claim the honours after battling past top seed Brian Ferbrache in the final. Fitchet came through the topsy-turvy final 12-10, 11-2, 7-11, 2-11, 12-10. The Division 4 championship was won by 2nd seed Shelby Timms after she defeated team-mate from last season and top seed Oscar Pearson in the final. The final was an identical story to that of Divisions 1 and 2 as Timms won in 4 sets, with Pearson keeping the match alive by winning the 3rd end.