Second seed Po Huang Chen walked off with the first prize of £150.00 at the BATTS Super League, which was held on Friday 27 November 2009. This event formed part of three days of top class play at the Harlow Club which took in the Premier Division British League matches played on the Saturday and Sunday. Many players taking part in the British League used the opportunity to play on the Friday night as well. As a result the standard of play had a greater depth to it than perhaps it has ever had before with the likes of Clive Carthy (Essex) finding himself outside of the 16 seeds. Neil Charles (Middlesex), a former semi-finalist was in fact seeded no. 16.

The final itself was a fitting finale to a superb evening’s play and  it was Po Huang Chen (China) who came out on top, getting the better of Scottish no. two Qian Hai Song 11-9, 8-11, 16-14, 11-7 in a typical fast and furious encounter, played in good spirit and with both players acknowledging their opponent’s best shots. Interestingly it was Qian Hai Song who came out on top when the same two players met  in their British League clash on the Saturday, evidence if any was needed as to just how well Po Huang played on the Friday night.

Shocks were fairly rare, but there was a big surprise as early as the first round when Fred Dove (Essex) upset the seedings by beating no. 12 seed Costas Papantoniou (Middlesex) 8-11, 11-9, 12-10,  7-11, 11-7. Dong Da Quin, no. six seed came through safely, but, not without a few anxious moments. He needed five games to get the better of Thomas Hughes (Nottingham) 11-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.

The second round featured two titanic battles. Garth Kinlocke (Hampshire) had to pull out all the stops to get the better of  Umair Mauthoor (Essex) 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10 whilst Ritchie Venner (Sussex) came very close to getting the better of David Meads (Durham). Ritchie took a 2-0 lead before England no. eight David eventually eased home 9-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9.

Kinlocke was also involved in the clash of the third round and the England no. 17 threw everything he had at top seed Ryan Jenkins for five ends. This match had everything and Ryan finally edged home 8-11, 16-18, 11-4, 11-9, 12-10. A magnificent effort from Garth. Po Huang Chen advanced to the semi-final by beating David Meads 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 whilst local boy Wang Zheng (BATTS Team Peniel) made no mistake, stopping Dong Da Quin (China) 13-11, 11-8, 11-8. Qian Hai Song didn’t have it all his own way, but he progressed 3-1, beating Mike Marsden (Durham) 11-13, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8.  Further down the draw Junior Luke Walsh (Hertfordshire) who was only taking part as an eleventh hour reserve scored a superb win over Paul Beck (Kent) 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7.

Round four saw the top seed Ryan Jenkins depart from the Competition. The Welsh ace was beaten in four games by his Drumchapel Glasgow British League Team-mate, World ranked no. 368 – Qian Hai Song who triumphed 11-9, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5. Qian Hai was joined in the Final by Po Huang Chen who qualified in a more convincing fashion, blasting his way past Wang Zheng 11-9, 11-7, 11-4. The battles for the minor placings also produced some superb table tennis with the inform Garth Kinlocke getting the better of Mike Marsden 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5 whilst David Meads needed five games to get the better of  Dong Da Quin 7-11, 11-5, 16-14, 5-11, 11-8. Umair Mauthoor was also involved in a real hum-dinger of  a battle and he eventually saw off another local boy – Martin Kubrt (BATTS) 11-2, 11-13, 11-2, 7-11, 11-8.

By round five only the fittest, the young (and the fool-hardy!) are still going strong. Luke Walsh was one of them. He completed a fantastic evening‘s work by getting the better of  Zayd Mauthoor (Essex) 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5, undoubtedly one of the best wins of the Season. At the top end of the draw no. eight seed Garth Kinlocke did well to beat seed David Meads 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 to finish in a superb fifth place. Garth will be welcome back!

By Steve Kerns