Triumphant Ruth Pickering with her prize

Finn on Top and Ruth Rules!

By Geoff Ware.

Finn Morgan-Bayliss and Ruth Pickering, both from Bournemouth, took the top spot in their respective Boys and Girls main events in the Bournemouth Invitation Under 15 Table Tennis Tournament that was held at Waterside Club’s sports hall in Testwood College, Southampton on Sunday the 20th of May 2012.

Tournament Organiser Sheena Feltham has been inspirational and worked tirelessly over two decades to keep this popular local event running and today marked the 20th consecutive year the tournament has been held since 1992.

Forty-two young and aspiring players from as far afield as the Isle of Wight, Weymouth, Portsmouth, Winchester and Bournemouth as well as Southampton took part in a feast of table tennis that all the players thoroughly enjoyed.

Four events were staged simultaneously on 12 tables namely the cadet boys, cadet girls and a Tyro Tournament (beginners event) with consolation competitions to keep the youngsters busy through six hours of competitive play.

As the impressive medals table was laid out for all to witness, it was very interesting to read the previous winners names that were etched on the two magnificent trophies with double consecutive winners that included Neil Cartwright, Matt Ware and George Downing – with David McBeath winning once in the cadet boys and Lucy Pointer, Becky Watts, Sally Smith and Rebecca Kuzu all being double girl’s winners – whilst Yolanda King won the trophy once back in 2006.

Several of these previous winners have gone onto much greater heights and have represented their country at junior and senior international level!

Play got under way at 10am in groups of four in the Boy’s and Tyro events with the top two advancing to the main event and third and fourth places going into a consolation knock-out tournament. The remaining five girls enjoyed a round-robin competition.

Ruth Pickering looked strong and determined as she won all her four matches in the cadet girls event, dropping just two games on her way to taking the title. Anna Joyce from the Isle of Wight played extremely well to take the runner-up spot, winning three matches and losing only to Ruth, whilst Emma Blachford from Bournemouth enjoyed third place taking a brace of wins.

Lilly Cherry from Weymouth took fourth place due to her success against last-placed, Channel-hopping, Temeesha Hobbs from the Isle of Wight who had some tough opposition to contend with.

Seventeen Boys fought out the cadet event with eventual winner Finn Morgan-Bayliss easing into top gear to reach the final enjoying victories against Artur Caltabiano, Sam Millar, Ben Cawston and semi-finalist Alan Dawson to meet his “school chum and good friend” Jamie Trevillion in the final.

Jamie had also enjoyed a smooth passage to the final outplaying Sonny Brooks, Thomas Cherry, Ben Cawston in his group followed by last eight opponent Jacob Elliot and semi-finalist Zac Dowling.

With only a few points separating these two on the ETTA ranking list both Finn and Jamie went head to head in a spectacular final that none of the audience wanted to end.

It was a gripping, thrilling and spellbinding close contest full of top class back from the table rallies. The ‘clever hands’ of Morgan-Bayliss seemed to be able to outmanoeuvre his opponent with his skillful attacking topspin style interspersed with deft off the bounce pushes against the determined defensive chopping and opportunist attacking style of Trevillion.

Finn was patient enough to wait for the right opportunity to make a winner. The final was a great advertisement for table tennis from both these up and coming Bournemouth based players. Finn Morgan-Bayliss came out on top with a final match result of 3-0 (13-11, 11-9, 13-11) and following this epic contest both players received a standing ovation from the assembled spectators.

Winner Finn Morgan-Bayliss with Jamie Trevillion on the podium

The cadet boys consolation trophy headed back to the Isle of Wight in the very capable hands of Blair Hobbs who enjoyed a three games final win over Sonny Brooks from Portsmouth. Losing last four competitors Sam Millar from Weymouth and William ‘Pocket Rocket’ Stevens played their part in an electrifying contest.

In the Tyro beginners competition a nice trophy was presented to Felix Gaul from Southampton taking a straight games triumph over gallant finalist Dan Waterman from the Isle of Wight.

Losing semi-finalists Ben Kinch and Alex Cummins played their part in a brilliant competition with so many competitors having great potential and untapped talent. Another youngster who really impressed in his first ever tournament was Miles Keene (a  brilliant name for a future Olympian) again from the Park School who reached the last eight in the Tyro event – great stuff!

The Tyro consolation event went to Alex Everett from Southampton in a five set marathon final contest against Henry Sherring from the Park School in Bournemouth, who are producing some very exciting young players mainly due to the excellent coaching they are receiving from ETTA local coaches James Lewis and Mike Smith.

The “Sports-Person Award” was presented to James Fielden (Park School Bournemouth) for his fair and honest behaviour throughout the long day’s play.

In closing I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to so many who coordinated the event and did the hard work on the day that included Tournament Organiser Sheena Feltham for all her remarkable efforts plus the endless supply of food and drinks. Also thanks to husband Harold Feltham who presented the prizes. Referee Dave Wiles, ably assisted by John Fox, worked tirelessly with the four county volunteer umpires and several helpers on the day all who made this event the success it was.

A special mention to Alan Man who spent hours taking his professional photographs that enhanced the day and this report.

Jamie Trevillion concentrating on the action


Cadet Boys:

Finn Morgan-Bayliss beat Jamie Trevillion 3-0 (13-11, 11-9, 13-11)

Cadet Girls Round Robin:

1st Ruth Pickering. 2nd Anna Joyce. 3rd Emma Blachford. 4th. Lilly Cherry 5th. Temeesha Hobbs.

Cadet Boy’s Consolation:

Blair Hobbs beat Sonny Brooks 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-8)

Boys Tyro Winner:

Felix Gaul beat Dan Waterman 3-0 (11-9, 11-2, 11-6)

Boy’s Tyro Consolation:

Alex Evert beat Henry Sherring 3-2 (13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8)

Sports-Person Award:

James Fielden.