Just over 100 players contested the recent Sussex Satellite Grand Prix in the Triangle Leisure Centre, Burgess Hill. 15 tables were required to cater for this high entry for a Satellite. As usual Saturday started with the banded events, men’s bands 1-6 & women’s bands 1-3.

Gold for Gergo:
The theme of the day across many of the bands was rather unusually a trend for group runners-up to beat group winners in the 1st/2nd knockout round. Men’s Band 6, which attracted 29 players & where seedings can be thrown out the window due to some very good unranked players, was no exception to this. Runner up of group 7 Gergo Timafalvi, the Hungarian no. 4 U13 beat group 2 winner & 2nd seed, Ken Parradine (Do) in the quarter finals. Gergo’s victor, Mickel Miller (Surrey) lost at the hands of Paul Payen, a Frenchman living in Kent, in the last 16. Winner of group 3, Tamas (Tomi) Banok, the Hungarian no. 3 U13 lost in the last 16 to runner up of group 4, Reuben Albert (Essex), who is making a return to the game. However runner-up of Tomi’s group, Ben Chan (Sy), fared better, as he beat top seed & group 1 winner, Murray Wilson in the quarter finals. Payen faced Chan for a place in the final & came through in 5 sets. In the other semi Timafalvi took on Rajan Waterman (Sussex) & triumphed in 3 games. The final was fiercely contested, but it was Gergo who took the honours winning 7 in the 5th.

Glee for Lee:
Men’s Band 5 was the highest entry of any of the Saturday events, with a sizeable entry of 36. Now quite often in the grand prixs the same players (usually the good unranked players) fare well in both bands 5 & 6, but not on this occasion, as all 4 semi-finalists of band 5 had competed in band 4 in the morning, not band 6. Gergo lost in his group 3-0 to Horsham Junior, Mark Collins (Sussex), meaning he went out in a count back situation. Paul got through his group as runner-up, but then lost in the 1st round to National U12s runner-up Luke Savill (Kent), who beat Collins in the quarters. Interestingly both of the finalists of band 5 had been group runners-up. Lee Barnes (Suffolk) lost to Waterman in the group but recovered & made it to the final. Mike White (Sussex) had been defeated by Josh Robinson (Bedfordshire) in the group, but also managed to get to the final. Waterman was beaten in the Quarters by Lobsang Lama (Surrey) & Robinson fell at the hands of Barnes in the last 16, who went on to beat Savill in the semi final. Mike’s path to the final included wins over Brian Gray (Middlesex), Michael Bates (Lincolnshire) & Lama in the semis. In the final, after 2 close first games, which were shared by the players, Lee pulled away from Mike to win the 3rd & 4th games both 11-5.

Dan the Man:
Men’s band 4 consisted of 13 players & again the trend of group runners up beating group winners in the 1st KO round continued. This happened in 3 of the 4 quarter finals. Top seed for the event Aaron Smith (Kent) finished 4th in his group in a countback & went out. 2nd seed Ed Slot (Ha) came 2nd in his group to Josh Robinson, but made up for this by beating group 1 winner Csaba Balint in the quarters. Daniel Barna (Horsham), who had lost to Lobsang Lama in the group, beat Paul Broxton in the quarters 11-8 in the 5th & Luke Savill a group runner up to Broxton, beat Lama in 3 set in the semi. The remaining quarter final was a win for Robinson, who beat Barnes 9 in the 5th, a result which was to be overturned in band 5 later in the day, as mentioned above. In the semi finals both of the younger players overcame their older opponents, with Barna accounting for Slot in 4 & Savill scraping through vs Robinson 8 in the 5th. The final was a humdinger with the more experienced U16 Barna pulling through over U12 Savill 6 in the 5th set.

The Wright Stuff:
Men’s Band 3 had 16 entrants, but the strange thing was that both the 1st & 2nd seeds lost in the group, thus staying on opposite sides of the draw & both still made it to the final. Top Seed Matt Spero (Essex) was defeated by wily left-hander Gary Young (Suffolk), who then lost to 2nd seed Brian Wright (Scotland) in the quarters. Brian had lost to Aaron Smith in the group, but Aaron then lost to Spero 11-9 in the 5th in the quarters. The other quarters were Andrew Hodges (Wiltshire) beating Andy Warner (Suffolk) in 5 & Fredrik Nilsson (Sussex) beat Alan Cheery in 3. In the semis the top 2 seeds disposed of their opponents in straight sets with Wright accounting for Hodges & Spero taking out Nilsson. The final was a real battle between 2 left-handers & it was the Scot who emerged as champion 11-9 in the 5th.

Super Swede:
Wright again had a good event in Men’s Band 2 (14 entrants). He lost to top seed Owe Karlsson in the group, but recovered from this to beat 2 higher ranked players. He knocked out Spero in the quarters, who he would later beat in the band 3 final & then beat 4th seed Martin Smith (Surrey) in the semis. 2nd seed Fabien Mauroy (K) lost out in the group to Spero & Hodges. Martin had lost out in a count back in the group to Nilsson, but then made amends by beating no. 3 seed Marks Scutts (Sussex no. 3 Junior) in the quarters. On the other side of the draw top seed Owe Karlsson made his way to the final with a quarter final win over Hodges from 2-1 down in sets & a win over Nilsson in the semis. Nilsson had beaten Leo Veinsreider (Surrey) in the quarters. The final went to the last end with the Super Swede clinching it with an easy 5th set.

Walk in the Park for Mark:
Men’s Band 1 started out as 2 groups of 4 but 1 player from each group failed to show up, so it was decided to form 1 group of 6 in the end. Top seed Mark Smith was pretty much untouchable in this event, only losing the 1 end to third placed Jojo Senorin (Middlesex), who had gone out at the group stage in Band 2. 2nd seed Eli Baraty (Middlesex) was pretty dominant in his other matches against the lower ranked players, dropping just 2 ends in the 4 matches. 4th place went to left-handed junior Mark Scutts (Brighton), who played for England Schools last weekend (25th June). 3rd seed Fabien Mauroy only managed 5th place.

Delight for Des:
Women’s Band 3 was a round robin of 5 players & the players did not finish in order of ranking. Top seed Sandra Rider (Yorkshire) finished in 3rd place behind cadet Chrissie Slot from Hampshire in 2nd place & Des Norbury (Surrey) the 2nd seed, who won the event. 1st & 2nd places were decided on a knife edge with Des prevailing 11-9 in the 5th. 4th place went to Sally Cimiotti (Surrey) & Sylwia Drozd (Middlesex) brought up the rear in 5th place.

Jollier Collier:
Women’s Band 2 (9 entrants) was won by top seed Sue Collier (Cheshire), who first won her group at the expense of band 3 winner Des Norbury & then beat band 3 runner-up Chrissie Slot in the semis in 3 straight sets. Chrissie had had a good maximum win vs 3rd seed Barbara Izyk (Middlesex) in the quarters. On the other side of the draw, Kinga Oryl (Surrey) beat Des in the quarters & then group 2 winner Sandra Rider in the semis. 2nd seed Jurate Brazaityte (Kent) bowed out at the group stage. The final was a close contest between 1st & 4th seeds, but won 11-5 in the 5th by the higher ranked player.

King Kong:
Women’s Band 1 consisted of 6 players. Top seed Melissa Wright (Yorkshire South) won group 1 over Jasmine Ould (Kent) & then faced Sue Collier in a match which lasted approximately 50 minutes. This ended 11-9 in the 5th in Sue’s favour. On the other side of the draw 2nd seed Yolanda King (Sussex) won group 2 over Sue & then beat Jasmine in 4 sets. The decisive encounter in this event, as with the other women’s bands went the full distance to 5 sets & as with band 2 it was the highest ranked player who prevailed. Yolanda won 11-4 in the 5th.

Majestic Jenkins:
Sunday brought the Men’s Singles which was the largest event of the weekend with 38 entrants. The standard at the top was high with Ryan Jenkins, the Welsh no. 1 seeded 1 & Gavin Rumgay, the Scottish no. 1 seeded 2. Both top seeds made it to a showdown in the final. Ryan’s path included wins over Liam McTiernan (Berkshire) in 4, Mark Scutts in 3 & in the semi finals he had a contest against 4th seed Richard Andrews (Berkshire). Jenkins dropped the 1st set 16-14, but won the next 3 games 7, 3, 7. Richard had got to the semis beating Alan Cherry (Buckinghamshire) & band 2 winner Owe Karlsson. Gavin encountered first Raj Waterman (Sussex), followed by a hard fought 4 set win over Ryan Owen (Wales) & in the quarters he faced Sussex no. 1 & Regional Coach, Craig Bryant. Craig, who has recently become a skinhead, was very unlucky to be on the wrong side of a 13-11, 11-9, 11-9 score line in a match where he certainly had his chances. He had had wins over Mike White (Sussex) & Matt Spero on his route to the semi. The final was a close contest again as with many of the banded finals. The Scot took a 2-1 lead only to be pegged back & lose 11-8 in the 5th, which is the closest he got to Ryan in some time.

Excellent Egle:
The Ladies Singles had just 12 entrants, but the standard of the competition was as high as most main Grand Prix events if not higher. Most of the regular supporters of the Grand Prix Circuit were there. Top seed Lithuanian Egle Adomelyte (Middlesex), a regular GP winner, topped group win with a 3-0 victory over band 1 winner Yolanda King. 2nd seed Lauren Spink (Norfolk) pushed Melissa Wright into 2nd place in group 2. In group 3 4th seed Charlotte Carey (Wales) emerged the winner over 3rd seed Emily Bates (Lincolnshire). In the quarter finals, Emily had a 4 set win over Melissa & 6th highest ranked Yolanda turned the tables on Charlotte in 3. In the semi finals it was the top 2 seeds who prevailed although they were made to work to get there. Egle found herself trailing 0-2 vs Emily but stepped up a gear to take the next 3 to reach the final. Lauren dropped the 1st end to Yolanda & then won the remaining ends. The final was close but the top seed came through 15-13, 16-14, 4-11, 11-9 to take the title.

Bennett Breakthrough:
Top seed in the U21s Men’s Singles, a 7 player event (originally there were 10 entrants but there were 3 no shows) was Richard Andrews, who was way higher ranked than the rest of the field. He had everything pretty much his own way, beating Mike White & Daniel Barna (Sussex) on the way to the final, but the player of this event was young Jack Bennett (Sussex), who first overcame tough opposition in the group from Daniel Barna (Sussex) & Michael Bates (Lincolnshire) & then beat Robert Shrimpton in the quarters. However his best win was in the semis over 2nd seed, Liam McTiernan, ranked as high as 15 in England juniors compared to Jack’s ranking of 38 in juniors. This result was achieved by a 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 5-11, 11-5 scoreline. Jack gave a good account of himself against a quality player in Richard Andrews, who beat this scribe 3-0, when he was just 14. Andrews won the U21 title 14-12, 11-4, 11-7.

Unyielding Yolanda:
It was a case of quality not quantity in the Women’s U21s singles, with just 4 players, but of the calibre of Emily Bates, Charlotte Carey, Melissa Wright & Yolanda King. Yolanda the lowest ranked of the 4 players overturned the rankings to beat each of her higher ranked opponents. 2 of her wins were in 5 sets (those vs Bates & Wright) & the third was in 4. 2nd highest ranked Charlotte, beat highest ranked Emily to come in 2nd place & Bates got a win over Wright to avoid finishing 4th in the group.

Outstanding Owe:
16 players contested the Restricted Singles event. In the quarters top seed Owe Karlsson beat Alan Taylor (Kent), Raj Waterman beat left-hander Gary Young in 5 in a controversial match, 2nd seed Fredrik Nilsson beat 4th seed Matt Porter (Sussex), who had lost to Waterman in the group & finally Andrew Hodges beat scratch entry Rory Scott (Sussex). In the semis Owe was awarded a walkover over Waterman due to an incident in between semis & final resulting from Waterman’s quarter final match, which I will not detail in this report. The other semi was between 2nd & 3rd seeds, Nilsson & Hodges. The lower ranked player was victorious in 4 ends. In the final the much lower ranked Hodges got off to a dream start winning the 1st 2 ends 11-8, 11-9, but was pegged back as is often the case when higher ranked players have a bad start. Karlsson won the next 3 games 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 to take the top spot & his 2nd title of the weekend.

Brilliant Brian:
Another player to capture 2 titles in the tournament was Scot, Brian Wright. Seeded at 3 in this 9-player event, he duly won his group & then faced Sussex player Gerry Pugh in the quarters. He won this 3-0 to go on to meet the self-named Octopus (not sure why) Paul Beck (Kent) in the semis. Paul had a great win in the group to beat 2nd seed Jojo Senorin. Jojo went through in 2nd place & faced another Paul (Waumsley) from Kent. This time he won & indeed he went on to beat top seed & group 1 winner Tony West (Suffolk). This was a 5-setter, as was the other semi between the Octopus & Wright. The latter was a real nailbiter with the marine creature losing out 13-11 in the 5th to the in form Wright. Brian had a slightly easier final encounter with Jogenes coming through 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10.

Player of the tournament was U12 player Luke Savill (Kent), who in only his 2nd ever senior tournament got the the final of Men’s Band 4 & the Semi-Final of Men’s Band 5. He has a bright future ahead of him! An interesting fact is that 9 of the 15 finals (or deciding matches in the case of the round robin events) went to 5 sets.

Dates & venue have been set for next season’s Sussex Satellite Grand Prix. It will be on 31st March & 1st April 2012 (subject to date approval) in K2 Leisure Centre, Crawley.

Results Summary:
Men’s Band 1:
Mark Smith (Y) beat Eli Baraty (Mi) 11-9, 13-11, 11-6

Men’s Band 2:
Owe Karlsson (K) beat Brian Wright (SCO) 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2

Men’s Band 3:
Brian Wright (SCO) beat Matt Spero (E) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8

Men’s Band 4:
Daniel Barna (Sx) beat Luke Savill (K) 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6

Men’s Band 5:
Lee Barnes (Sk) beat Mike White (Sx) 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8

Men’s Band 6:
Gergo Timafalvi (HUN) beat Paul Payen (K) 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7

Women’s Band 1:
Yolanda King (Sx) beat Sue Collier (Ch) 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4

Women’s Band 2:
Sue Collier (Ch) beat Kinga Oryl )Sy) 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5

Women’s Band 3:
Des Norbury (Sy) beat Chrissie Slot (Ha) 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9

Men’s Singles:
Ryan Jenkins (WAL) beat Gavin Rumgay (SCO) 6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8

Women’s Singles:
Egle Adomelyte (Mi) beat Lauren Spink (Sk) 15-13, 16-14, 4-11, 11-9

U21s Men’s Singles:
Richard Andrews (Bk) beat Jack Bennett (Sx) 14-12, 11-4, 11-7

U21s Women’s Singles:
Yolanda King (Sx) beat Charlotte Carey (WAL) 11-5, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8

Restricted Singles:
Owe Karlsson (K) beat Andrew Hodges (Wi) 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5

Veterans Singles:
Brian Wright (SCO) beat Jojo Senorin (Mi) 12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10

By Rory Scott