The 6th Natwest Jersey Open took place over the weekend with a whole host of top British players on show including Darius Knight, Chris Doran, Damien Nicholls, Matt Ware, Hannah Hicks, Alice Loveridge, Emma Vickers and many more. With the local islanders also looking to make their mark on the circuit, who came out on top in Jersey?

Singles Champions Chris Doran and Alice Loveridge

Doran and Loveridge victorious at 6th NatWest Jersey Open

It was another good day for the hosts as five local players got through difficult groups comprising experienced and high ranking UK opposition to reach the knockout rounds in the Men’s Singles. Once there some seriously ruffled the feathers of some top ranked visitors.

Craig Gascoyne led the way by winning Group 9 and was joined by Josh Band, Hugo Tupper, Mariusz Cieminski and Grzegorz Frankowski who all took the runner-up positions in their respective groups. Hugo Tupper beat Cieminski in a preliminary match to reach the knockout proper where he faced the number 1 seed Darius Knight, [England No.3]. Tupper took the first game off his illustrious opponent and played superbly but eventually fell to Knight’s power and precision of shots 3-1.

Frankowski almost pulled off the shock of the tournament as he was two games to one up with Paul McCreery before the Ireland No.2 struck back 11-4, 11-8 to take the match. Band produced another brilliant performance this time against Victor Guang Shi [Lancashire] and with the final score of 3-1 (12-10, 13-15, 11-6, 11-8) a relieved Guang Shi reached the last eight. Gascoyne had to face his recent nemesis Garry Dodd from Guernsey but with his renewed match practise it showed dividends and along with some great mental toughness, the Jersey No.1 won 3-1 with close game scores of 12-10, 7-11, 14-12, 13-11. Gascoyne progressed to the last eight where he faced number 2 seed Chris Doran where local interest was snuffed out as Doran; the England No.6 won 3-0 (11-2, 13-11, 11-8).

In the top half of the draw the No.1 seed Darius Knight was having a difficult time having to dig in after having been two love up to take the fifth 11-9 after McCreery had battled back. Knight’s match against Matt Ware [Hampshire, England No.8] was less of a struggle but still not straight forward with an 3-1 (11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9) result reached with some of Knight’s bewildering serves at crucial times as he reached the final. Doran meanwhile, in the bottom half of the draw after having eased past Gascoyne, faced former NatWest champion Damien Nicholls. After an edgy start the England No.6 took control and reached the final with an 3-1 (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5) win.

The final itself was enjoyed by an absolutely packed table tennis centre and was without doubt the most exciting and high class encounter ever seen. Doran took the first two games 11-9, 11-8 and the writing looked to be on the wall for Knight. But the uber-talented England No.3 roared back taking the next two games 11-7, 12-10 and seemed to have the advantage until Doran with some fantastic retrieval and a touch of fortune kept his nose in front to nick the deciding game 11-8 to claim the title and the winners’s cheque for £ 550.00!

The Women’s Singles also had local interest as Sofia Uddnas and Kelsey le Maistre battled through their groups as runners-up. As fate would have it this meant that they had to play each other in the quarter-finals. Uddnas’s greater experience at a high level stood her in good stead and she beat her local counterpart 3-0. Uddnas went on to meet the reigning champion Alice Loveridge in the semi-final and gave her a rocky ride before the Sarnian emerged the winner 3-1 (11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7). In the final, Loveridge faced Emma Vickers, [England No.4] who had finally seen off Wales No.2 Charlotte Carey 11-9 in the fifth after having been pegged back twice and then Hannah Hicks [England No.2] 3-0 in the semi-final. Loveridge was not to be denied her hat trick of titles in the NatWest Open and emerged the victor after a tight last two games 3-0 (11-3, 16-14, 12-10).

The Restricted Singles, [for ages between 21 and 40] was won by No.1 seed Mike Marsden from Durham who beat Craig Gascoyne in the final despite a spirited performance from the Jersey player 3-1 (11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5) after both had emerged from the three groups of players and the early knockout rounds

More local success was to follow as Eugene Ellis powered his way through the pack of experienced UK Veterans to beat England’s popular and enigmatic No.1 Vett Sue Collier in the Veterans final 3-0 (11-4, 14-12, 11-3).

The Under 21 Men’s Singles saw no fewer than five Jersey players in the last eight. Hugo Tupper gave Chris Doran a huge fright before bowing out 3-2 (4-11, 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 1-11). Sibling Max however beat fellow Islander Chris Morshead to make the semis but Matthieu Fisher and Tom Marsay for Jersey were outgunned by the illustrious Paul McCreery and Matt Ware respectively.

Ireland’s Paul McCreery saw off Matt Ware in the other epic semi-final 3-2 (12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9) but found Doran [who had put pay to Max Tupper’s chances in their semi 3-0] in superlative form once again as the 6ft 7 inch player from Northamptonshire took his second major title of the tournament 3-1 (11-7, 11-8, 3-11, 12-10).

The Under 21 Women’s title played eventually as a round robin went to England’s No.4 Emma Vickers with Charlotte Carey [Wales] in second place. Alice Loveridge could only manage fourth place behind Hampshire’s Hannah Hicks with Jersey’s Vicky Barnes and Emily Robins gaining valuable experience in fifth and sixth respectively.

“It has been a truly wonderful NatWest Open tournament now in it’s sixth year,” said organiser and JTTA President Chris Band afterwards. “ We have welcomed a huge number of players accompanied by their supporters and families to our biggest festival of table tennis ever and the feedback is that they have all had a wonderful time. Indeed, many are extending their stay by way of a holiday so I am delighted that our sport is once again doing it’s bit for the Island’s  tourism and economy. Many are going back saying that they want to book for next year’s event now which is hugely encouraging and bodes extremely well for 2013!”

You can also read the first two days’ reports at the links below for the Banded events as well as the under-21s and veterans tournament.

6th NatWest Jersey Open Day One Report

6th NatWest Jersey Open Day Two Report