Post date: Mar 06, 2018 10:10:57 PM
Ben Foss followed up last year's Jack Carrington Singles tournament success with another win on Monday evening but he it was a real test of character as he was pushed all the way in some long matches.
The Jack Carrington is a unique tournament in that players who have participated in the Green Trophy against Jersey in the past two seasons are ineligible enter. This year it meant that Garry Dodd, Josh Stacey and Lawrence Stacey were absent, opening the chance for other players who are knocking on the door of the senior island team to make their mark and win a major trophy.
The group stage went as expected with the seeded players navigating their groups comfortably, though there were plenty of close games, especially between those fighting for the runners-up spot in each group and with it qualification for the next round. Most notably Jamie Ferbrache edged past young Corey Brouard 11-9 in the deciding end to qualify from Group C and in Group F, Keith Opie squeezed through by virtue of countback, pipping Chas Elliott and Shaun Mosley in the process.
Caden, the younger of the Brouard brothers also impressed on the night and progressed as runner-up from his group, then picked up a good win against Brian Ferbrache in the next round, before succumbing against the experienced 2nd seed Phil Ogier in the quarter final.
The semi-finals pitted top seed Foss against 4th seed Dan Collenette and Foss looked at ease in winning the first 2 ends but Collenette upped his game, producing better attacking strokes to square the score at 2-2. In the 5th game Foss took control and went 6-1 ahead, but Collenette again fought back to 6-6 before eventually going down 11-8. On the next table the scoreline was just as close as 2nd seed Phil Ogier was mixing his iconic defensive retrievals with some good attacking forehands and a ding-dong match was eventually edged by Hainsworth, 11-9 in the deciding game.
With the time approaching 11pm and some long matches already played, you would have forgiven Foss and Hainsworth for dropping their standard of play and indeed there were a few mistakes in the early encounters of the final. Hainsworth pounced on opportunities given to him and used his style of containment and counter attack very effectively to nullify the attacking threat of his opponent and it was no surprise when he took a 2 game lead in the best of 5 final. No one could have predicted what would happen in the next end however. Foss knew that he was in a battle and managed to up his game, improving the consistency of his shots and also playing some excellent angled forehand winners. The game went to deuce and then the crowd saw one of the longest games seen at the GTTA centre for many a year. Hainsworth had a few match points, but Foss somehow found the resolve to save each one, sometimes through good positive play, on other times via a fortunate net or an edge ball. It is seldom in table tennis that the scoreboard runs out of numbers but this was the case in this match as Foss eventually won 24-22 to keep his hopes alive. He capitalised on that and pulled out his full repertoire of shots in the 3rd end to win 11-2.
Both players were tiring and knew that the match would be won by keeping consistency rather than playing rash attacking shots. Foss was still confident after his wins in the last two sets, but at 10-8 up, could not convert and let Hainsworth back in. Eventually, after another match point had come and gone, the 16-year old triumphed 14-12 to complete a hard-fought comeback and retain his title.
Runner-up Paul Hainsworth