High-class table tennis was the order of the day as the 8th NatWest Jersey Grand Prix climaxed with a pair of dramatic singles finals as the three-day competition came to a close at the Geoff Reed centre in St. Clement.
The result was a double English triumph on the island as Chris Doran and Emma Vickers both emerged victorious following titanic battles against Daniel Reed and Alice Loveridge respectively.
In the Men’s Singles all of the eight seeds won their groups leaving a strong field to contest the knock-out rounds. Daniel Reed, the top seed from Cleveland, made the semi-final with comfortable wins over Englishman Adam Feargrieve and Welshman Ryan Owen.
Kent’s Danny Lawrence also booked his berth in the last four by despatching Jersey’s Max Tupper and Craig Gascoyne to set up a meeting with Reed while Owe Karlsson ensured himself of a semi-final with Chris Doran by seeing off Jersey local Jordan Wykes.
Wykes, who recorded a superb win over the No. 4 seed and former Jersey Open champion Damien Nicholls 3-1, had already beaten Karlsson in the team event on Friday and was favourite to reach the semis.
However, he was unable to stem the tide and counter Karlsson’s whipped backhand topspins leaving the Swede to face defending champion and second seed Chris Doran, who had made the last four at the expense of Jersey’s Tyler Gosselin and David Arrowsmith from Derbyshire.
The top seeds Reed and Doran made the final after defeating Lawrence and Karlsson without either dropping games – setting up an enticing title decider.
The duo didn’t disappoint and produced a fast and frenetic final. Doran took the first 13-11 only for Reed to immediately strike back 14-12. Reed then nosed ahead with an 11-7 game but Doran forced a decider by taking the fourth by the same score. The decider was nip and tuck but Doran kept narrowly in front through the rallies. Finally Doran eked out a couple of forced errors from Reed to secure his title for the third year running.
Men’s Singles Final Result:
Chris Doran bt Daniel Reed 3-2 (13-11, 12-14, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9)
The Women’s final was a re-run of the previous year’s final between Nottingham Trent University team mates; Guernsey’s Alice Loveridge and Derbyshire’s Emma Vickers.
Both players had reached the final by winning their groups followed by comfortable 3-0 semi-final wins against Sue Collier and Clara Chau respectively.
Just like the Men’s final, the Ladies final was of the highest quality. Loveridge took first blood 11-6 only for Vickers to level by the same scoreline. However, Loveridge upped her powerful barrage of smashes to take the third game 11-5 and put one hand on the title.
Undeterred, the English youngster rallied to save two match points in the fourth game before securing an electric fifth game by saving two more match points. In the end the Derbyshire girl kept her nerve to convert the fifth game 12-10 and win the title to rapturous applause from a large and highly appreciative audience.
Women’s Singles Final Result:
Emma Vickers bt Alice Loveridge 3-2 (6-11, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 12-10)
The Under 21 Singles was a mixed competition. Kent’s Danny Lawrence was again in superlative form winning his group and then defeating Guernsey’s Erin de Carteret and Scotland’s Calum Morrison to reach the final.
The runner-up from his group was Jersey’s Jordan Wykes who had also enjoyed a great tournament. Wykes went into the bottom half of the draw and reached the final with wins against fellow islanders Tom Marsay and Max Tupper. In the final the greater experience and firepower of Lawrence was key as he took the title 3-0.
The Restricted singles for players aged between 21 and 40 was won by Chris Doran by walkover against Matt Ware who had played well to reach the final but who had to withdraw with a slight injury niggle as he works his way back to full fitness following surgery.
The Veterans singles was the last to finish with some very close matches. Top seed Eugene Ellis won his group to meet fellow Jerseyman Bobby Vincent who had earlier recorded one of his best wins against the Isle of Man’s John Magnall 3-2. Sue Collier also made the knockouts by defeating Jane Vickers to face Sanja Clements.
Ellis claimed his spot in the final with a 3-1 defeat of Vincent whilst Clements and Collier battled out a five-game thriller. It went to the wire with Collier battling back from 5-0 down in the deciding fifth after having come back twice from a game down. In the end though two unforced errors were her undoing and Clements squeaked home 12-10 to meet Ellis in the final.
Jersey’s legend raced to a 2-0 lead but Clements pegged one back before Ellis upped his smashes and loops to win the fourth 11-6 and take the Veterans title.
Jersey’s 14-year-old Junior Jordan Wykes won the player of the tournament award (£50.00 voucher from Tees Sports) following his excellent wins over the three days of the tournament.
Read the report from Saturday’s bands here
Read the report from Friday’s team event here