Lions Spot for Sport

Post date: Feb 12, 2019 5:25:59 PM

Lawrence Stacey claimed his second major Open Singles title of the season with victory in the Lions Sport for Sport tournament. Stacey is having a fine season of table tennis but was pushed all the way by brother Josh and then Phil Ogier to earn the trophy.

The seeded players navigated through the group stages with little fuss, although there were a few surprise qualifiers as Callum Gilson upset the odds to beat both Ian Fitchet and Sam Kershaw to qualify second in his group, while 3rd Division average-topper Craig Dunning beat two Second Division players to progress from Group D. Dunning and Gilson were then drawn against each other in the next round and it was Dunning who progressed, with his long-pimpled backhand rubber causing problems for his young opponent. Elsewhere Chas Elliott beat Ben Foote in a close 5-game encounter, eventually prevailing 11-7 in the deciding set.

The quarter finals were surprisingly one-sided as Dunning, Elliot, recent Ping Pong Champion Dan Collenette and Ryan Gilson all succumbed to their higher-ranked opponents. The semi finals provided more of a spectacle as Lawrence Stacey had to dig deep to overcome the battling qualities of Paul Hainsworth in straight games, while on the next table the second semi-final between Josh Stacey and Phil Ogier will go down as a modern classic. Stacey appeared to be in control after winning the first 2 ends 11-6, 11-3 but the Lions man had other ideas and upped his game to great effect, making Stacey work for every point. Eventually Ogier's excellence in retrieval and blocking was too much for his top-seeded opponent and Ogier completed the comeback 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 to progress.

The final also did not disappoint and despite the cool conditions as the time approached 10pm, the standard of play still remained very high. Ogier has won the Spot for Sport title a record 10 times in his career, the last being in 2015 and despite the long semi final, he showed he no signs of tiredness, with combinations of blocks and counter attacks often forcing Stacey to make uncharacteristic errors. The 4th end proved crucial as Ogier had fought his way to a 2-1 lead and looked poised to wrap up the match but Stacey rallied well and eventually won out 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7.