OLOP IMPACT justify their seeding
A maximum entry of 24 teams battled it out on Sunday in the Cippenham Team 2-Star Open Championship. This unique event, for teams of two players and featuring a progressive rather than straight knock-out format after the preliminary round groups, never ceases to please the participants and usually attracts a full entry.
The seeding committee got it bang on, also, with the top two seeds finishing in the top two positions and only one of the eight seeded teams failed to make it into the top eight section of the draw. The preliminary round groups went almost according to plan. Only Stumpede, a team consisting of current and hopeful Paralympians, failed to top their group and that was hardly a surprise as they came up against a formidable Welsh duo in Scared Hitless. This was far and away the best match in the preliminaries and the result could have easily gone either way. Neil Wright came from two games down to win the fourth and fifth 12-10, 13-11 against the Paralympian star of You Tube Dave Wetherill. Many readers will have watched Wetherill’s fantastic shot during London 2012 that has to date attracted nearly six and a half million views! Martin Perry then equalised the score for Stumpede with an equally close 3-2 win over Sam Meredith with the final two games being 12-10, 11-9. Wright, though, eased his team through with a 3-0 win over Perry in the deciding rubber.
Stumpede showed good value for their seeding by finishing ninth, after pulling out all the stops to push Aldworth (Ed Slot and Patrick Garlick) down to tenth while Scared Hitless rose up the ranks to fifth after an exciting final match in which they defeated their Welsh rivals Oh What’s Occurrin’, a team comprising regular entrants Julie Furber and Claire Flannagan.
Westbury (Andy Hodges and Phil Marshall) claimed third place when they beat Horsham Spinners (Rory Scott and Marios Michaelides) while on an adjacent table the final was being played out between two teams that also carried their clubs’ names. OLOP IMPACT and Fusion had both reached the final by winning all their matches 2-0. Something had to give in the final and when Tyla Anderson put Fusion ahead against Daniel Moses it appeared the title may be heading towards south London. However, Daniel McTiernan resolved to keep it closer and his 3-1 win, which included 19-17 in the third game, over Jamal Dennison evened the score. The rules of the competition required the two losing players to battle it out in the decider and Moses prevailed 11-6, 11-5, 15-13 over Dennison to take the title a short distance down the M4 to Our Lady of Peace club in Earley.
Tony Stead and Steve Smith, two members of the Cippenham second team and masquerading as RAF & R.A.F. were the best of the locals finishing in seventh place. The “future of Cippenham”, to quote Head Coach Ken Phillips, was also on show and the four youngsters acquitted themselves really well gaining valuable experience in the process. Team Ganador, comprising Jemma Walker and Megan Ashfield, finished fourteenth while Team Survivor, Ben Naylor-Smith and Shristi Ghosh, were one place lower. At the other end of the age scale a team comprising newly-weds Dave and Elena Tant finished seventeenth, top of the bottom section of eight teams.
The tournament was organised and refereed by Cippenham’s Graham Trimming.