Welsh wizard Ryan Jenkins was back to his best at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix as he displayed devastating form to win the final event of the season.
The ‘Grand Prix King’ had been struggling for form and fitness earlier in the campaign with just one title to his name from the Bribar Guildford GP. However, the Welsh No.1 found an extra gear in his quarter-final tussle with Mike O’Driscoll to begin the transformation.
It wasn’t easy for Jenkins despite winning his group comfortably. He found himself on the toughest part of the draw with successive knockout matches against Tobias Bergman, Matt Ware and Mike O’Driscoll just to reach the semi-finals.
After beating both Bergman (3-1) and Ware (3-0) he fell 2-1 down to the veteran international O’Driscoll before he clicked into gear. From that turning point onwards – there was only ever one winner in Medway.
In game four of his match, Jenkins decided that attack was the best form of defence and began playing his shots, needless to say, they connected instantly. An 11-1 fourth game was followed up by an 8-0 lead in the fifth as O’Driscoll was blown away.
In the semi-final Jenkins met Tom Maynard, who made the most of fourth seed Paul McCreery’s absence to make the last four. However, he met a brilliant Jenkins in the last four who raced home in three straight games – the second of which was a masterpiece of technically perfect table tennis, Maynard ultimately fortunate that the Welsh no.1 donated him a point at 10-0.
In the final Jenkins met Gavin Rumgay who had shown great heart once again in his quarter-final and semi-final ties which both went to five ends. After defeating Lewis Gray 3-2 (10-12, 11-8, 13-15, 11-9, 11-7) the Scot edged past overall Grand Prix Champion Chris Doran 3-2 (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 13-11) with some help at the death.
It seemed as though the tide of the match had turned when Doran won games three and four to level matters but Rumgay’s counter-attacking brilliance at 11-10 down salvaged the match before a lucky deep edge at 12-11 up gifted the Scot the tie.
Doran, angered at his lack of fortune on match point, could at least leave the venue £1500 richer following his season’s exploits.
After the drama of that semi-final, the final hurdle was much more straightforward as there was simply no stopping Jenkins. Three more superb games later ensured the Welshman would end the season with his second Grand Prix title of the campaign.
Joanna Parker secured a second consecutive Women’s Singles title after beating Melinda Ciurcui in a repeat of the Bribar London Grand Prix final.
Two weeks earlier Parker had won the title without dropping an end, but this time the English no. 1 was tested much more thoroughly throughout.
This examination began in the group stage where she was pushed the full distance by Ingrida Preidziute before finally edging through 3-2 (11-7, 11-3, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8).
Although she raced through two knockout matches in comprehensive fashion, she was once again met in the final by Spaniard Melinda Ciurcui. After a tactical opening game, which Parker won 11-8, the English player raced 6-0 ahead in the second game en route to an 11-2 cruise.
However, that was not the end of the story as Ciurcui replied with an 11-5 third game to close the gap. Unfortunately for her, Parker stepped up to a gear she could not match to once again lead 6-0 and, for the second time, win the game 11-2 to seal the title.
The result didn’t affect the overall rankings with Karina Le Fevre winning the trophy ahead of Emma Vickers, who was unable to attend at Medway.
Lewis Gray won the Men’s Under-21s at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix while, in the process, denying his final opponent Danny Lawrence of a joint-second place overall finish.
With Paul McCreery already well ahead in the standings, the other players were playing solely for the Medway title.
After winning his group, Gray beat Josh Bennett 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-9) and Liam McTiernan 3-1 (11-6, 11-8, 2-11, 11-9). Meanwhile, Lawrence had to work unbelievably hard in his knockout stages to get through three successive five enders.
First he beat Luke Walsh 3-2 (10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2) before also coming from behind to beat Adam Harrison 3-2 (11-6, 10-12, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6) and also Chris Wheeler 3-2 (12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6).
However, when it came to the final he was all burnt out, which allowed Gray to cruise home in straight games.
Ingrida Predziute won the Women’s Under-21s at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix without dropping a game throughout the proceedings.
Earlier in the day the Lithuanian had been the closest challenger to Joanna Parker in the Women’s Singles and she continued this form to race to the Under-21s title.
Having won her group, Predziute beat fellow Lithuanian Modesta Vaitkeviciute 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9) in the semi-final before despatching Jas Ould 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-4) in a one-sided final. It was the second time the pair had met after Predziute had already faced Ould in the group.
The result had no effect on the overall standings with Yolanda King still emerging with the cash prize.
The Open Doubles didn’t end with the grand season finale as it could have done as Matt Ware and partner Richard Andrews were knocked out in the semi-finals by Scottish pair Gavin Rumgay and Niall Cameron.
This meant that Chris Doran, partnered by Mike O’Driscoll, was able to claim the overall doubles prize when the pair beat Tom Maynard and Steve Beerling 3-1 in their semi-final.
Doran confirmed his dominance in the final after his left-hand/right-hand combination with O’Driscoll swept aside the Scots in straight games to win the Bribar Medway GP prize outright.
Rumgay was able to make the money but it was not to be for partner Cameron who missed out on a small payout by one place.
Jimmy Walsh added the Bribar Medway Grand Prix Veteran’s Singles title to his overall prize after a comfortable final victory over Paul Beck.
Similar to the remainder of the season, Walsh was impressive throughout and deservedly won another Veterans title.
After winning his group he beat Tony West 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-7) in the semi-final and then a very tired-looking Beck 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-7) in the final at the Medway Sports Park.
Luke Walsh ensured that there was a brand new winner in the Sudden Death competition after beating surprise finalist Paul Beck.
Beck, ever the entertainer, played to the crowd en route to victories over Noor Owadally, Helmuth Osborne, Ethan Walsh and Ryan Jenkins. However, Walsh was efficient in disposing of Federico Viterbo, Tobias Bergman, Josh Bennett and Danny Lawrence before driving down the line off ‘The Octopus’ serve to seal the £32 prize in the final.
– Thanks go to all those referees, umpires, organisers and volunteers who helped to make this season a success. Thanks also to our photographers including Alan Man, whose pictures are used above.
A full list of all Grand Prix points and standings will appear on the ETTA website next week.
Bribar Medway Grand Prix Final Results
Ryan Jenkins bt Gavin Rumgay 3-0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-6)
Joanna Parker bt Melinda Ciurcui 3-1 (11-8, 11-2, 5-11, 11-2)
Ingrida Predziute bt Jasmin Ould 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-4)
Chris Doran/Mike O’Driscoll bt Gavin Rumgay/Niall Cameron 3-0 (11-4, 12-10, 11-7)
Jimmy Walsh bt Paul Beck 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-7)
Luke Walsh was the winner, Paul Beck runner-up