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Ping Pong Championship

posted 10 Feb 2019, 13:30 by Guernsey Table Tennis Association   [ updated 10 Feb 2019, 13:34 ]
Dan Collenette was a surprise winner in the inaugural Mick’s Ping Pong Championship tournament on Saturday at the GTTA centre following a hard fought 3-2 win over top seed Paul Hainsworth in the final.

The event is played with the blue sandpaper bats and was last contested back in 2017, when in collaboration with Ravenscroft as sponsor, the victor took part in the World Championship of Ping Pong event, which is held at the Alexander Palace in London. Hainsworth was the last winner of this qualification tournament in that year and attended the prestigious event.

The event ceased in 2018 due to the organisers of the WCPP notifying the Association that they could no longer allow the winner of the CI Qualifier event to play in the main event. This is largely due to the ever increasing inclusion of high quality Chinese players into the event.

Local Ravenscroft Panthers Division 3 player Mick Ingrouille was one of many fans of the event, which acts as a leveller due to the fact that little to no spin can be impacted on the ball and he has been instrumental in ensuring that an annual event will continue to be played in a similar format to the previous CI qualification event.

The new Ping Pong trophy

Mick worked closely with the Association to formulate the rules followed for the tournament and one significant change is that the matches are played up to 11 points, rather than the 15 formerly used for the CI qualification event. He was also responsible for producing the excellent trophy for the event alongside fellow Ravenscroft Panthers player Peter Vivian who did the glass work aspect of the trophy, which also contains wood.

The event was well supported by the Association and saw 28 players contesting the initial round robin group stages where 4 groups of 7 were in place.

4 seeds were placed into each of these groups in the form of Paul Hainsworth, Chas Elliott, Jez Powell and Joshua Stacey and this is largely based on their previous performances in the WCPP qualifier and the annual Mark J Kilby Memorial hard bat tournament, which is very similar to the sandpaper bats.

Hainsworth and Elliott each came through their groups as winners with neither losing any matches, however Powell and Stacey were unable to advance to the knockout stages as group winners. Powell lost out to Collenette in straight sets, whilst eventual winner Collenette himself was surprisingly defeated by Richard Edwards in his first match of the day, but still managed to finish as group winner.

Stacey on the other hand was dramatically edged out on a sudden death point in the 3rd and deciding game of his match with Ryan Gilson, which led to the left-hander emerging as group winner.

The format of the tournament saw the top 4 players in each group moving forward to the Last 16 of the main draw, whilst the remaining 12 players made up the Consolation knockout draw.

The last 16 saw some intriguing encounters and the most notable result saw 3rd seed Powell defeated 2-1 by Corey Brouard. Powell had won the first game, but agonisingly lost the 2nd 11-10 on sudden death before going down 11-6 in the decider. Group D winner Gilson was edged out in straight sets by Lawrence Stacey, whilst Steve Ozanne earned himself a good 3 set win over 1st Division player Ryan Bichard.

Hainsworth put a stop to the strong run of Brouard in the Quarter finals for the loss of just 8 points, whilst Collenette also won in straight games over Ozanne, but the score of 11-9, 11-10 shows how tough the high quality match was. Twins Josh and Lawrence Stacey completed the semi final line-up after contrasting victories. Josh put an end to 2nd seed hard bat specialist Elliott in straight sets, whilst Lawrence needed to go the distance to overcome the plucky Division 2 player Sam Kershaw, who had done excellently to reach this stage.

Hainsworth held his nerve at the right times in his match with Lawrence and clinched it 11-9, 11-10, however he was extremely fortunate to clinch the sudden death point in the 2nd game with a fortunate net.

The other semi final was one of the matches of the tournament as Collenette battled past Joshua. Joshua won the first end comfortably 11-4, but Collenette dug very deep and following some superb rallies, managed to win the final 2 games 11-8, 11-9.

  Mick Ingrouille with 2019 champion Dan Collenette

The final was another good spectacle and Collenette squeezed through a tight first end 11-9. Hainsworth came out strongly in the 2nd and dictated the rallies more to breeze it 11-2, however Collenette then regrouped himself in the next end and took it 11-5. The 4th end saw Collenette lead for the majority of the game and both players used the first of their ‘double point’ balls unsuccessfully. In the end it came down to a sudden death point at 10-10 and Hainsworth won that to ensure the match went all the way. He continued to hold the advantage during the first half of the final game and led 5-4 at the change of ends. It was at this stage where the most important passage of play occurred. Collenette used his double point successfully at this time due to a fortunate unreturnable edge ball and when Hainsworth failed to convert on his double point ball on the very next point, it saw Collenette in charge at 7-5. The 17 year old never looked back and kept hold of his advantage resulting in an 11-7 triumph. Notably Collenette also became the first Guernsey player to defeat Hainsworth with a sandpaper bat, as in the previous WCPP qualifier tournaments it had only been Jersey’s Eugene Ellis and Chris Morshead to have beaten him.

The consolation event was won by former GTTA president Ken Falla, who defeated the current GTTA Secretary Ben Foote 3-1 in the final.

The tournament was organised very well by the Association and a great success and is expected to remain in the GTTA calendar for future years.