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Mascall Imperial Sport Grand Prix Round 2

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Morten Kilden - a welcome return to competition

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

Friday 10th March 2006 saw the usual suspects gather together for the second round of the Mascall Imperial Sport Grand Prix. Many of the players could be forgiven for being a bit jaded seeing as they had gone down to Albany the week before to compete in the Albany Open, but there were no signs of weariness as the proceedings began at 7pm.

Thankfully, the weather wasn't as hot as it was for Round 1, but things soon began to hot up as the matches progressed.

Highlights of early rounds

In Group 1, #1 Seed and last month's winner Jeff Drew was drawn against Gordon Lee, Morten Kilden, and the junior Cameron Lang. Morten was unlucky to find himself in Jeff's group, but he had lost his previous #5 seeding due to being unable to make it for Round 1. Morten came up first against Gordon Lee and his magic bat (a Dr. Nebauer special), who is probably not the player you would want to play in your first match back in competition for a while! After a shaky start, Morten began to find some form and won the match 3-1. In his match against Jeff, Morten was actually leading 2-1 and 7-1 in the fourth before Jeff got into gear and won 10 of the next 11 points, going on to win the fourth 11-8 and the fifth 11-7.

Gordon Lee and his 'magic' bat - the harder he trains, the more magic it gets!

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

So it was Jeff in first place for the group with three wins (3-0 each against Gordon and Cameron), with Morten in second place (with a 3-1 win over Cameron), Gordon in third (with a 3-0 win over Cameron) and Cameron in fourth.

Player

1

2

3

4

Points

Place

Jeff Drew

 

3,5,2

5,1,10

-9,9-9,8,7

6

1

Cameron Lang

-3,-5,-2

 

-7,-6,-7

-6,7,-5,-3

0

4

Gordon Lee

-5,-1,-10

7,6,7

 

-9,-5,8,-8

2

3

Morten Kilden

9,-9,9,-8,-7

6,-7,5,3

9,5,-8,8

 

4

2

Group 2 pitted #2 seed Giovanni Cnapich, Nita Teoh, Phil Ranger Jr, and Richard Ajayi against each other. This was probably the toughest group of the opening round, and whoever finished third was going to be a bit unlucky. In the end, it was Gio in the #1 position with 3 wins, Richard in second after defeating Phil Ranger Jr 3-1, Phil in third and Nita in fourth.

Phil Ranger Jr - unlucky to get the toughest group in the first round

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

 

Player

1

2

3

4

Points

Place

Gio Cnapich

 

8,5,5

-9,9,7,8

1,-7,4,9

6

1

Nita Teoh

-8,-5,-5

 

-8,-8,6,-6

-8,-8,-4

0

4

Phil Ranger Jr

9,-9,-7,-8

8,8,-6,6

 

8,-6,-4,-8

2

3

Richard Ajayi

-1,7,-4,-9

8,8,4

-8,6,4,8

 

4

2

Group 3 was myself as the #3 seed, along with Ben Banerjee, Peter Williams, and Mike Andrews. I finished on top with 3 wins, with Mike in second after a close encounter with Peter (3-1, but 9, 10, -6, 10 - only 1 point overall in favour of Mike). Peter came with a win over Ben, who was fourth.

Peter Williams - one of the most improved players of the last 6 months

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

 

Player

1

2

3

4

Points

Place

Greg Letts

 

5,0,8

3,4,4

2,6,7

6

1

Ben Banerjee

-5,-0,-8

 

-3,-8,-9

-9,-4,-0

0

4

Peter Williams

-3,-4,-4

3,8,9

 

-9,-10,6,-10

2

3

Mike Andrews

-2,-6,-7

9,4,0

9,10,-6,10

 

4

2

Group 4 consisted of #4 seed Craig Campbell, who had Irwin Parker, Dejan Bijelic, and Brendan Lim as his opposition. Craig dropped a couple of games along the way but came out as the number 1 with 3-1 wins over the juniors Dejan and Brendan, and a 3-0 win over Irwin Parker. Irwin was to finish in second place with 3-0 victories over Dejan and Brendan, and Brendan claimed the number 3 position with a 3-0 win over Dejan, who ended up fourth.

Irwin Parker - taking a moment to rest on his laurels

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

 

Player

1

2

3

4

Points

Place

Craig Campbell

 

4,4,-10,4

4,-8,3,5

8,7,11

6

1

Dejan Bijelic

-4,-4,10,-4

 

-2,-8,-5

-7,-6,-2

0

4

Brendan Lim

-4,8,-3,-5

2,8,5

 

-6,-7,-3

2

3

Irwin Parker

-8,-7,-11

7,6,2

6,7,3

 

4

2

Group 5 saw a new seed in Chris Hibbert as the #5, due to his good performance in Round 1. Chris justified his seeding by advancing as the number 1 in his group, finishing with three 3-0 wins over Phil Brown and the juniors Jeremy Khoo and Nicole Low. Nicole had a good start as well, defeating Phil and Jeremy 3-0 as well to lay claim to second spot and a position in the winners side in the second round groups. Phil Brown defeated Jeremy 3-2 to take third position, with Jeremy in fourth place.

Phil Brown having a well-deserved rest, while Becky Sparkes is giving her bat a brush-off in the background

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

 

Player

1

2

3

4

Points

Place

Chris Hibbert

 

1,5,1

10,7,8

3,5,8

6

1

Jeremy Khoo

-1,-5,-1

 

-4,-4,-6

9,-6,10,-4,-6

0

4

Nicole Low

-10,-7,-8

4,4,6

 

7,14,7

4

2

Phil Brown

-3,-5,-8

-9,6,-10,4,6

-7,-14-7

 

2

3

Group 6 had the wily veteran Mick Lee as the #6 seed. Patrick Lim, Cedric Wilson, and Becky Sparkes were his competition on the night. In the end it was Becky who finished up on top, with 3-1 wins over each of the males. Cedric claimed second position with a 3-1 win over Mick, and a 3-0 win against the junior Patrick. Mick finished third with a 3-0 win over the fourth placed Patrick.

Player

1

2

3

4

Points

Place

Mick Lee

 

6,7,6

-5,-7,8,-9

9,-8,-8,-4

2

3

Patrick Lim

-6,-7,-6

 

-4,-5,-4

8,-4,-3,-4

0

4

Cedric Wilson

5,7,-8,9

4,5,4

 

-7,-6,10,-4

4

2

Becky Sparkes

-9,8,8,4

-8,4,3,4

7,6,-10,4

 

6

1

Winners - Second Round

As mentioned in last month's report, the top two finishers in the 6 groups went through into 4 round robins of 3 players each, with the winner of each round robin getting a place in the semi-finals.

Winners Group 1 was Jeff Drew, Irwin Parker, and Cedric Wilson. Jeff Drew finished on top with two comfortable 3-0 wins, with Irwin second after a 3-2 battle with Cedric.

Cedric Wilson - lefthanded antipower user who is also ranked #4 in the Australian O/50 men

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

 

Player

1

2

3

Points

Place

Jeff Drew

 

11,7,8

7,6,4

4

1

Irwin Parker

-11,-7,-8

 

-8,5,7,-8,7

2

2

Cedric Wilson

-7,-6,-4

8,-5,-7,8,-7

 

0

3

Winners Group 2 was Gio Cnapich, Mike Andrews, and Nicole Low. This time it was Gio with two 3-0 wins getting his place in the semis. Nicole performed impressively again to defeat Mike 3-2, in what was a terrific result for her.

Player

1

2

3

Points

Place

Gio Cnapich

 

3,8,7

8,9,9

4

1

Mike Andrews

-3,-8,-7

 

8,8,-9,-6,-9

0

3

Nicole Low

-8,-9,-9

-8,-8,9,6,9

 

2

2

Winners Group 3 consisted of myself, Morten Kilden, and Becky Sparkes. In both matches I had to overcome good starts by my opponents before I managed to eventually wear them down. Morten and Becky also put on a great display of rapid-fire attacking table tennis, with Morten winning this particular shoot-out 3-1. But watch out for Becky, she'll be back!

Becky Sparkes - a breath of fresh air into WA women's table tennis - and gunning for a few of the men as well!

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

 

Player

1

2

3

Points

Place

Greg Letts

 

-8,6,9,2

10,5,2

4

1

Morten Kilden

8,-6,-9,-2

 

5,-6,9,4

2

2

Becky Sparkes

-10,-5,-2

-5,6,-9,-4

 

0

3

Winners Group 4 saw Craig Campbell, Chris Hibbert, and Richard Ajayi lock horns. Once again it was Craig making it to the semis, with a 3-0 win over Richard and another 3-2 result over Chris (it seems like every time Craig and Chris play, it goes the distance - perhaps they know each other too well?) Richard finished in second with a 3-2 win over Chris, who finished third.

Player

1

2

3

Points

Place

Craig Campbell

 

4,10,7

-4,-6,8,3,4

4

1

Richard Ajayi

-4,-10,-7

 

-9,8,-9,6,8

2

2

Chris Hibbert

4,6,-8,-3,-4

9,-8,9,-6,-8

 

0

3

SemiFinals

The first semifinal put Gio Cnapich and myself against each other for a spot in the final. This was a repeat of last month's semifinal, but this time the match went in my favour, with a 3-0 win (4,9,6).

Greg Letts defeated Gio Cnapich 11-4, 11-9, 11-6

The second semifinal was a real nailbiter, and I actually had to go out into the canteen in the last game - I was getting too tense watching it! Jeff and Craig have had many a tight battle in tournaments, and this was another. Neither of these players practice as much as they used to (if at all), but their competitive spirit is still there, ready to fire up when the competition begins.

Jeff has had the edge over Craig in recent years, but this time was to prove to be different, with Craig taking the match 3-2 (-11,6,-13,11,9).

Craig Campbell defeated Jeff Drew 11-13, 11-6, 13-15, 13-11, 11-9

Final

The final between Craig and myself was a bit of a strange affair for all concerned. I managed to get to 7-3 up in the first with the help of a string of nets and edges. Suddenly it was 8-all, and I was faced with the possibility of losing the first game after receiving at least 4 free points. Fortunately I managed to refocus and win that game 11-8. The second game was similar, with both Craig and I taking it in turns to defend, counter-attack, and defend again. With a couple more nets and edges I took the game 11-6. Craig outplayed me in the third, using better tactics and tempting me to attack one ball too many too often, and won it 11-8. In the fourth, it was again nip and tuck, but with enough nets and edges in my favour to tip the balance and I snuck it 12-10.

Craig had a right to be a bit cheesed with the clear disparity of luck in my favour, but he took it on the chin like the class act he is, saying he was happy to make the final. I was happy with the win of course, but imagine would it would feel like to hit so many nets and edges and still lose!?

Greg Letts defeated Craig Campbell 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10

Losers Knockout

I really need another name for this - losers knockout seems a bit harsh really. Perhaps the 'Best of the Rest' Knockout?

Congrats to Phil Ranger Jr and Gordon Lee, who fought their way through to the final, with Phil winning 3-1.

Gordon Lee

Gordon Lee

Gordon Lee

9,6,2

Gordon Lee

9,12,-10,10

 

Phil Ranger Jr

10,-6,9,6

Bye

Nita Teoh

Nita Teoh

-8,3,10,9

Dejan Bijelic

Phil Brown

Phil Brown

-14,9,3,4

Phil Brown

5,9,-10,5

Patrick Lim

Bye

Brendan Lim

Brendan Lim

Peter Williams

Peter Williams

Mick Lee

3,6,-9,5

Phil Ranger Jr

16,-8,5,11

Bye

Jeremy Khoo

Mick Lee

9,14,8

Mick Lee

Ben Banerjee

Ben Banerjee

6,5,5

Phil Ranger Jr

9,12,1

Cameron Lang

Bye

Phil Ranger Jr

Phil Ranger Jr

Conclusion

Our Tournament Committee - Sue Lang, Tjen Joeng and Irwan Budiarto. (Why is Dave Cooper never there to get him in a photo?)

Photo by: Me!, courtesy www.gregsttpages.com

With a different winner and runner-up for Grand Prix Round 2, this will keep the competition fairly close at this stage. It looks like it may be the main four players (Drew, Letts, Cnapich and Campbell) fighting for the title, unless one of the others can step up and into the semifinals to mount their own challenge. Always a possibility with the likes of Chris Hibbert, Morten Kilden, Becky Sparkes, Richard Ajayi and Irwin Parker waiting in the wings.

Again, thanks to our Tournament Committee of Dave Cooper, Sue Lang, Tjen Joeng and Irwan Budiarto, who did another good job into the late hours of Friday night.

That's it for Grand Prix Round 2 - see you again next month for Round 3!

Greg Letts 14th March 2006

Copyright Greg Letts 2006

 

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