A large crowd enjoyed some of the finest table tennis ever seen at the Geoff Reed Table Tennis Centre on the final day of the tournament.
Number 1 seed Ryan Jenkins from Wales was simply superlative in the Men’s Singles and on this form must surely be knocking on the door of GB selection for 2012. He beat his brother Stephen in the first of the Men’s Singles semi- finals 3-0 (11/7, 11/2, 11/1) whilst Damien Nicholls, the defending Champion from Shropshire, and Matt Ware from Hampshire battled out an epic match with Ware getting the verdict in the fourth game. Nicholls had just got the verdict over Ryan Owen from Wales in the quarters 11/9, 10/12, 13/15, 11/7, 11/9. Jenkins was then too strong for Ware in the final putting on a high quality 3—0 show, 11/5, 11/3/ 11/9 and taking the trophy and the winners’s cheque for £535.00.
Alice Loveridge from Guernsey took the Ladies crown defending her title from last year with her characteristic steely determination beating Derbyshire’s England No.6 Emma Vickers to claim the title 5/11, 11/7, 11/9, 9/11, 11/4.
Jersey’s own “Yogi” Ellis won the Veteran’s Singles beating Dorset’s Sanja Clements [England No.4 Ladies veteran] in the final 3—1 and more local success came with Craig Gascoyne winning the Restricted Singles against Derbyshire’s David Arrowsmith 3-0.
Jersey’s Josh Band made it into the semi finals of the Under 21 Men’s Singles only to go out to eventual winner Matt Ware who was on a mission! Ware proceeded to beat Damien Nicholls in the final with some rasping shots from the back court and great retrieval to win points 7/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/9.
Emma Vickers gained revenge over Alice Loveridge by beating her to the Under 21 Women‘s Singles title in an entertaining match with both players rallying well. Vickers showed her mental toughness in coming back from 2—1 down to prevail 6/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/9, 11/7.
13 year old Victoria Barnes was the toast of Jersey in the ladies section taking the runner up slot in the Women’s Band 2 behind England No.4 Veteran Sanja Clements and then winning Women’s Band 3 with Kelsey le Maistre in second place for an Island one-two.
The Men’s Band 1 went to Ryan Owen from Wales who just got the verdict over David Arrowsmith from Derbyshire 3-2 with both men exchanging powerful smashes throughout their encounter.
Men’s Band 3 was the closest result with it being decided on countback on points when three players all finished with just one loss and equal on games. The winner by two points was Jersey’s Luke Walker with Josh Band in second spot achieving their excellent result with impressive wins over experienced mainland opposition.
Danny Lawrence from Kent made up for his disappointment in Band 3 by winning Men’s Band 4 beating Jersey’s Max Tupper in a closely fought final 3—2 full of excellent shots and rallies.
Max Tupper turned things round in Men’s Band 5 though negotiating his group as winner and then fighting through the knock out stages to finally defeat Chris Morshead also from Jersey who had had a fantastic win against Jac Jenkins from Wales in the semi final with his chop proving too much for the young Welsh player.
Men’s Band 6 was an all local final with Ollie Griggs coming back from 2—0 down to beat the unlucky Jack Mills who held one match point in an enthralling match between attack and defence which could have gone either way.
The tournament was set alight from a local perspective on Good Friday the first day of competition when Luke Walker and Josh Band gave the number 2 seeds Matt Ware (England No.7) and Damien Nicholls (England No.9) a real shock in the semi finals of the Men’s team. Nicholls just got the verdict against Band 5/11, 11/7, 11/5, 9/11, 11/5 and then Walker took Ware to four games 4/11, 11/9, 10/12, 9/11. The England players prevailed to make the final but were beaten 3—0 by the number 1 seeds Ryan and Stephen Jenkins from Wales in a pulsating match with breathtaking rallies, especially in the doubles. Many onlookers (including the referee Mick Strode) commented that this was one of the best table tennis matches they had ever seen!
The Women’s team in the all England final also went with the seeding as Emily Bates (England No.4) and Sanja Clements (England No. 4 Veteran) claimed the winning slot from Jane Vickers and Diane Kirkwood with some great attacking shots and accurate winners.
In the Veteran’s team “Yogi” Ellis and Bobby Vincent kept their nerve following a 3-2 win in their semi final to repeat the performance to beat Dean Rose from Kent and Geoff Ware from Dorset 3-2 to deservedly take the title on Ellis’s birthday!
There was more local success in the Junior Team as Max and Hugo Tupper beat Danny Lawrence from Kent and Josh Band in a match which went to the wire with Max winning in the final game of the last match 11/9 against Band.
“It was a fantastic 5th NatWest Open,” said JTTA President Chris Band afterwards. “Huge thanks go to all of those who helped during the three days of tournament and the preceding week of Masterclasses. The tournament goes from strength to strength and we expect an even bigger entry at Easter next year following the very complimentary words from all of the visiting players and supporters.”