Cippenham Table Tennis Club held its annual Team 2-Star Open on Saturday January 25 and Organiser Graham Trimming clamed that it was the best yet in its 14th year.
Such was the demand for places that the maximum possible number had been reached nine days before the official closing date and many potential entrants were left disappointed.
The standard of play was very good and a pleasing aspect was the absence of any particularly weak teams with the result that all matches in the final rounds were closely contested. In fact, only two of the 12 matches in the final round were won 2-0 and did not require a decider.
The concept of the tournament is thought to be unique in English table tennis with matches being contested between teams of two players. During the preliminary round group stage, the teams are split into eight groups. The following rounds are played using the progressive knock-out format in which each team plays through to the conclusion of the event and establishes its final position amongst the 24 competing teams.
Each of the favoured eight teams won their preliminary group with the exception of Yolo who lost out to Ashford New Boys. The eight group winners survived two more rounds and were then firmly established as the quarter-finalists. That stage saw the run of Ashford New Boys come to an end when beaten by top seeds Woodford. Second seeds The Improvisors saw off Swag Lads, a team with a definite New Zealand flavour to it, while third seeds Fusion beat Somerset Sabres and, to make it a full house, fourth seeds Mauthoor Brothers beat Lillington Free Church A.
The Mauthoors went 1-0 up in the semi-final against Woodford when Umair Mauthoor beat Bryan Kwan. However, Josh Nashed was too good for Zayd Mauthoor and Kwan finished the match in Woodford’s favour against the same brother. The other semi-final also featured a pair of brothers but Robert and Ryszard Pelc, in the guise of Fusion, were just not able to down The Improvisors who won 2-0, even though Daniel Moses only beat Robert Pelc 16-14 in the fifth and deciding game.
If that was a close-run thing for Moses in the semi-final, he took it up a few more notches in the actual final. After winning the first two games against Bryan Kwan, and then losing the next two, the fifth game was not settled until Moses had won 25-23, a scoreline that is very rare in the modern era when games are played up to 11.
Woodford restored parity when Josh Nashed, the unbeaten star of the whole tournament, eclipsed Lewis Waddup’s challenge 3-1 and Kwan made sure of the winners’ trophies for Woodford with a similar scoreline in the deciding rubber against Waddup.
- Woodford (Bryan Kwan; Joshua Nashed)
- The Improvisors (Daniel Moses; Lewis Waddup)
- Fusion TTC (Robert Pelc; Ryszard Pelc)
- Mauthoor Brothers (Umair Mauthoor; Zayd Mauthoor)
- Swag Lads (Mitchell Barker; Craig Dye)
- Ashford New Boys (Phillip Smith; Rupert Bole)
- Somerset Sabres (Marcin Szram; Bertie Kelly)
- Free Church A (Sammy Kaye; David Ramsey)