News Release - BSMTTC News 123
Dateline: 19 July 2021
At last the scene is set for the final stage of the Club Tournament 2020!
Delayed as a result of the corona virus pandemic the 2020 Club Tournament is nearing its final stage. This week has seen the last two groups play-off in the Plate competition, a consolation event for those who did not get through the first round of the Main Event, to determine the two finalists.
As you would expect with a semi-final both groups, each containing 3 winners from the Round 1 groups, were quite strong and provided some excellent competitive table tennis.
The first Semi-Final featured, 17 year old Eleanor Sinker, and a slightly older Keith Dudley and Peter Crichton. Appearing in her first semi-final, Eleanor would have her work cut out to match her two senior colleagues. And there was no shortage of effort and determination on her part. Playing some of the most consistent table tennis she has achieved Eleanor worked for every single point. The difference between her and her senior colleagues was simply the fact that when needed she did not have that decisive killer blow to win the point outright. When the first game with Peter started it looked as if the umpire might have to brush up on the expedite rule, as Eleanor was not being phased by Peter's early defensive game, matching him stroke for stroke. Despite that she just could not find the decisive winning shot to force Peter to work even harder. Peter was however able to pull out a few decisive blows enabling him to squeeze through in all five games, close!
Eleanor was to suffer the same fate at the hands of Keith. Keith is always a hard player to get the ball past, and extremely steady in game management. But he also has a good attacking shot on both sides of the table. Once again Eleanor put up a good fight but simply could not match the big shots and so was unable to make her fairly small handicap advantage work in her favour.
The group therefore came down to the final set between the two seniors. After 3 games, Peter was ahead by just 1 point, close! But in the 4th game, Keith struck a decisive blow with a clear 5 point win to move 4 points ahead with just 1 game to go! That gap seemed to take the steam out of Peter's game and he allowed Keith a few easy points at the start of the final game before rallying. But it was too late, Keith took the final game and the set to leave him with a winning margin of 8 points in the group, and a place in the final.
The second semi-final was an equally strong group, including the No.4 seed in the Main Event, the 17 year old Euan Mason, just 1 month younger than Eleanor. Would he suffer the same fate at the hands of his senior colleagues, Herve Gillet and Mark Benson?
Mark & Herve started the group. With Mark racing away to clear the handicap advantage in favour of Herve. And he didn't let up steaming through the first set. In the second set, Herve had an even bigger handicap advantage and showed glimpses of improvement as Euan at first nervously tried to find his rhythm. But find it he did, and came through the set to leave honours even with Mark going into the final set.
A really good match followed with Mark doing all he could to try and make his handicap advantage work. But I wonder if our picture tells us something about Mark? In several pictures we've noticed that Mark has his eyes closed! And just occasionally it seems the same may happen when he plays! To be fair, Mark took 1 game to keep it really close, and it was an excellent open contest between the two. But Euan has not only grown in stature physically, he has also blossomed as a good quality table tennis player and made that extra edge of quality show to take the set by just 6 points and the group by the same margin. The tables for each group are below.
So the final, which will be held on Finals Night is set:-
Keith Dudley v Euan Mason
This will be one to watch!