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Whistlers Open 2019

posted 29 Oct 2019, 14:29 by Guernsey Table Tennis Association   [ updated 2 Nov 2019, 05:38 ]
Ben Foss won the Whistlers Open on Monday, claiming the trophy with a thrilling 15-13 final set win over Lawrence Stacey.


Report courtesy Guernsey Press:

The 18-year-old had seen his hopes flash before his eyes many times in Monday’s Whistlers Open at the GTTA Centre – but it did not matter by the end of the long night.

Foss held his nerve to upset Lawrence Stacey in a thrilling five-set final with all the bells and whistles, having earlier scraped through the elimination stages by the skin of his teeth.

This contrasted with the relatively straightforward passage that arguable favourite Stacey had been afforded.

First came an especially protracted quarter-final duel with Paul Hainsworth in which his rival often seemed to have the upper hand.

Then after Foss had initially stormed ahead of Josh Stacey, the twin led out and won the second set, with the younger player eventually pinching the decider as unforced errors began to scupper his opponent’s game.

The next daunting challenge for Foss was to beat island champion Lawrence Stacey. With the clock ticking onwards, it was not until 11.15pm that Foss would be able to go home with a trophy won in the last three years by absent ace Garry Dodd.

The first set went narrowly in Stacey’s favour, 11-9, something that Foss reversed in an equally close second end.

Sets three and four featured no shortage of fast-paced rallying and spectacular shots – both successful and unsuccessful – and repeated the fortunes of the previous two, despite the latter going into a deuce that Foss won 14-12.

Number five came around and Stacey assumed the initial lead before Foss hit a minor scoring run, only for Stacey to mirror this and come within one point of victory.

An untimely blunder had allowed Foss to get back into the game – even if he would then find himself repeatedly having match point.

But after Stacey scored his 13th and unknowingly last point, the two got involved in a long-range rally and Foss got the advantage after sending Stacey scrambling forwards with a well-timed smash. One misdirected serve later and Foss had won 15-13.

Between exhaustion and the elation conveyed by his beaming face, the surprise winner was somewhat lost for words.

‘Three five-sets in a row and I’m knackered,’ said Foss.

‘I played pretty well to be fair – 2-1 down in every game, so I had to dig deep to come back in each one and then reset and go for the next one. It came off tonight.

‘Lawrence is playing very well at the moment and so to beat him, I have to be playing well. My main positive would just be the heart I showed to come back.’