Russell Hillier is the new holder of the Clacton and District Table Tennis League’s Handicapped Singles Trophy – but he had to do it the hard way.
Hillier started the day with close wins in five against fellow-Second Division men Tony Edmonds and John Harvey before quickly eliminating Division Three newcomer Debra Found.
But then, making full use of his handicap advantage, he showed consistently good play to out-fox and out-fight top-flight players Martyn Green, James Denyer and, in the final, Kevin James.
It was an impressive performance from Hillier whose idiosyncratic defensive blocking and returning, allied with an increasing tendency to mix his play with attacking forehands, proved too good for his Division One opponents.
Even the determined Kevin James, a winner of this Tournament in 2002 and an excellent handicap player who had got to the final by disposing of Tony Oswick, Terry May, Mike Vilka, and, in the semi-final, Martin Edwards, was unable to quell the irrepressible Hillier.
The final score was 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 and, despite the winning point coming from an outrageous net, it could not deny the fact that Hillier was a worthy victor, the twenty-third different player to take the title in the Tournament’s twenty-nine year history.
So in a Tournament where five top Division One players in a heartening entry of forty-six reached the quarter-finals, it was solid Second Division player Russell Hillier who emerged as the surprise winner, a deserved honour for this modest and likeable young man.
Main results : Final : Russell Hillier (+2) beat Kevin James (-8)
11-5, 11-6, 11-9; Semi-Finals : Hillier (+2) beat James Denyer 11-4, 11-9, 11-8; James (-3) beat Martin Edwards (+1) 11-7, 11-6, 11-7; Quarter-finals : Hillier (+2) beat Martyn Green (-8) 11-5, 11-3, 11-0; James (-13) beat Mike Vilka (+2) 11-9, 12-10, 3-11, 7-11, 11-6; Denyer (0) beat Colin Stallwood (0) 15-13, 13-11, 13-11; Edwards (+1) beat Colin Dearman (-1) 11-8, 11-7, 11-4.
Consolation Doubles : Colin Beaumont and Elliott Attrill (-5) beat Allen Denyer and Gerald Batt (+1) 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 14-12.
* In Division One of the League, Jim Pallett made a welcome return for Windsor Condors and Jenny Binns recorded an unexpected win over Paul Meikle but Red Triangle A ran out 6-4 match-winners.
Windsor Eagles beat Brotherhood B 7-3, Sue Welham’s three for the winners all going to a deciding set, whilst there were a couple of points for reserve Ian Fielder in Windsor Roosters’ 9-1 win over Lawford.
In Division Two Windsor Owls drew with Walton B, Dave Martin’s hat-trick for the Owls including a 12-10 in the fifth victory over David North whilst Nomads Cougars beat Nomads Lions 7-3, John Fenton winning twice for the Lions.
Windsor Kestrels defeated Brotherhood F 10-0 and Windsor Ravens beat Nomads Tigers 8-2 but, in both matches, the losing side was unfortunate to lose all four of the matches that went to a fifth set.
In Division Three Malcolm Caley edged out Barry Allen 13-11 in the decider in match ten to seal a narrow 6-4 win for Windsor Swallows over Brotherhood K, but Brotherhood J defeated Windsor Penguins
8-2, Brotherhood’s Lucy Burton beating Jackie Bunce 11-9 in the fifth.
Nomads Lynx were 7-3 winners over Brotherhood I despite a maximum from Brotherhood’s Alan Fryer, whilst Tony Rayner stayed unbeaten in Nomads Leopards’ drawn match with Nomads Pumas and in their 6-4 defeat at the hands of Brotherhood H.
* The Round Three draw of the Knock-Out Cup is : Red Triangle A v Nomads Lions; Brotherhood G v Nomads Lynx; Brotherhood H v Walton A; Brotherhood A v Red Triangle B; Brotherhood C v Windsor Condors; Windsor Harriers v Brotherhood D; Windsor Falcons v Windsor Eagles; Windsor Kestrels v Brotherhood E.
* For details of the Barn Dance on Saturday 5th February at St Osyth Village Hall contact Viv Rodriguez on 01255 221259.
Red Triangle B 8 Nomads Jaguars 2;
Windsor Condors 4 Red Triangle A 6;
Windsor Falcons 2 Brotherhood A 8;
Windsor Roosters 9 Lawford 1;
Brotherhood B 3 Windsor Eagles 7;
Walton A 10 Windsor Hawks 0.
Windsor Owls 5 Walton B 5;
Nomads Lions 3 Nomads Cougars 7;
Brotherhood F 0 Windsor Kestrels 10;
Nomads Tigers 2 Windsor Ravens 8.
Brotherhood K 4 Windsor Swallows 6;
Brotherhood L 0 Windsor Magpies 10;
Brotherhood I 3 Nomads Lynx 7;
Windsor Kites 0 Brotherhood G 10;
Windsor Penguins 2 Brotherhood J 8;
Nomads Leopards 5 Nomads Pumas 5;
Brotherhood H 6 Nomads Leopards 4.
|(as at 15th January 2011)|
|Red Triangle A||13||5||2||6||63|
|Red Triangle B||11||6||0||5||62|
|Brotherhood F (2)||12||1||3||8||37|
|Brotherhood G (2)||13||10||2||1||91|
|Points deducted in brackets|
By Tony Oswick