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Winchester Table Tennis League: Finals Night 2019

Pictures (by Alan Man) and Report (by Martin Healey)

Pictures will come later!

Finals Night matches

Event Match
Division 3 Singles Barry Dobson (Hursley) beat Tom Wood (IBM) 11-8, 11-13, 11-4, 11-8
Tom Wood
Barry Dobson

See more Div 3 Final pictures here
Tom Wood was making his first appearance in a Final, while Barry features about 14 times on the Honours Board over the past 20 years or so - and he still seems to be improving! Just one defeat in 54 Division 3 matches says a lot about his consistency and determination. Tom has similar consistency and determination, but he was unable to undermine Barry's apparent confidence that he would be the eventual winner.
Division 2 Singles Sorin Lakatos (Five Tees) beat Antony Moore (Swanmore) 11-7, 14-12, 11-9
Sorin Lakatos
Antony Moore

See more Div 2 Final pictures here
Sorin has had an excellent first season in the League, and on paper he was a hot favourite to beat Antony. Finals Night is very much home ground for Antony, though, and we were soon seeing his trademark long, relaxed and reliable forehands backhands in action. Sorin's serve is full of twists and turns, but Antony seemed comfortable in the way he dealt with it. However .. the scores tell us that Sorin came through the crunch points around deuce that little bit better, and that's what counts.
Sandpaper Bat Cameron Brealey (Kings) beat Tom Wood (IBM) 15-8, 15-6
Tom Wood
Cameron Brealey

See more Sandpaper Bat Final pictures here
The Sandpaper Bat is used in a variant of table tennis called "Ping-Pong", promoted by Barry Hearn of Darts, Boxing and Snooker fame, and featured every year on Sky TV as the "World Championship of Ping-Pong". It makes a good fit for Finals Night with its razamataz nightclub atmosphere recalling the Lakeside Country Club, the Crucible and even Caesar's Palace.
The sandpaper surface means the great spinners and smashers of the modern game don't have their usual advantage: banana skins lie in wait for anyone who thinks they can hit their way out of trouble. Softly-softly is the approach, and one that suits Cameron's game perfectly. Sooner or later most opponents will see a nice easy ball to whack - and yielding to that temptation lures you into the whirlpool which quickly drags you under!
Tom worked hard, but missing a few apparently easy shots led to exasperation, and that exasperation only led to more exasperation.
Doubles Cameron Brealey (Kings) & Paul May (IBM) beat Andrew Bawden (Medstead) & Ben Tombs (Medstead) 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6
Paul May and Cameron Brealey
Andrew Bawden and Ben Tombs

See more Doubles Final pictures here
Andrew had been injured after the Heats, but fortunately he was OK for Finals Night, which came a month later. We therefore had a good match to watch, with scratch pairing Cameron and Paul working well together. The turning point came in the third set, when they recovered from a 1-7 deficit to win the game 11-7 and take a 2-1 lead in sets.
Veterans (over 40) Singles Micky Lang (Medstead) beat Andy Prince (Kings) 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-1, 11-9
Micky Lang
Andy Prince

See more Veterans Final pictures here
The only five-setter of the evening was a real rollercoaster ride! Micky is an entertainer as well as a very good player, and making his first appearance at Finals Night. Asides, wisecracks, banter - this isn't what we expect from a player in a Winchester League final, but it was certainly refreshing and brought a touch of pantomime to the proceedings. Andy at the other end of the table took it all in good part, but he was up against someone with good table tennis skills as well as a talent for exhibition-match humour.
Handicap Singles Ben Tombs (Medstead) beat Steve Coltman (Swanmore, +13 start) 21-19, 8-21, 21-16
Ben Tombs
Steve Coltman

See more Handicap Final pictures here
Ben is a newcomer to our League, a skilful and quick young player who will surely make an impact wherever he plays. Steve has reached a Final before, but he was understandably anxious at the prospect of playing a top Division 1 player, even with a +13 start in every 21-up game. As it turned out, he was fine and took the second game quite comfortably. Ben came back decisively in the third, though. There was just no stopping him.
Open Singles Paul May (IBM) beat David Wills (Five Tees) 4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9
Paul and Dave
Paul May
Dave Wills

See more Singles Final pictures here
This was Paul's third shot at winning the Singles Final - previously he's met 5-times winner Ed Slot , which was asking a lot! With Ed not entering this year, Paul found himself facing David Wills , who has had 3 successful seasons with Five Tees A.
They both had averages of 85% this season, and a 1-1 record in head-to-head matches, so anything could happen. David roared through the first set comfortably, winning some exciting ralleys, but while Paul settled down, David seemed to me (at least) to rush things a bit in the later sets.
See what you think in this YouTube video
Arthur Richards Cup Cameron Brealey won the Arthur Richards Cup for 'best achievement'

See more Awards pictures here

See more Happy Days pictures here
Cameron has been organising the Tournament for several years now, both for the Heats and Finals Night. His easy-going manner makes everyone feel everything is under control - and so it is! There's a lot to organise - entries, draws, handicaps, hall bookings, a table for Finals night, making sure everyone knows what they need to do and where they need to be, refreshments, raffle - the list goes on. Cameron seems to enjoy it all, and everyone enjoys doing what he asks for, so it all runs smoothly!


Presentations

These were made by Roy Bright .

Division Awards
 ChampionsRunners-Up
Division 1 IBM A Medstead A
Division 2 Five Tees C IBM B
Division 3 Hursley Five Tees D


Team Competitions
 ChampionsRunners-Up
Team Eliminator Kings A IBM A
Hursley Shield ('Division 2/3 Championship') Five Tees CSwanmore A
Conder-Winnall (handicap) Kings BHursley


Individual Awards
Arthur Richards Cup ('outstanding achievement award') Cameron Brealey
Owen Booker Cup (top average in any Division, and played at least 75% of matches) Barry Dobson 98% after 54 individual legs
Colin Sly Giantkiller Cup (most surprising win by an underdog) Steve Brown With a 33% 'Wins' average, Steve beat someone on 85%!


As ever, the organisation and running of Finals Night was highly polished and efficient, and thanks are due to Cameron Brealey (the Organiser) and his team of loyal supporters - Allan Bransgrove , Antony Moore , Kevin Muldowney , Andy and Suzanne Prince behind the bar, and the umpires. A special mention and thanks to Alan Man, standing in for photographer Tim Humphrey, who was unfortunately unavailable this year. We're very lucky to have two such expert and experienced photographers on hand for what is a gruelling task.