The Southend & District Table League’s 2014 Annual Closed Championships had their largest entry for some 20 years: 134 Entries. The Event was run by the Sub Committee of John Poysden, Kevin Read, George Reeves, Lou Hopkins and ourselves. The Venue for the main Events was again the popular Rayleigh Leisure Centre. The Championships were played over the Weekend of February 21st -23rd February, with our Finals Night, again at the Hullbridge Sports Association on Tuesday 25th February.
Our Finals Evening commenced with 2 highly entertaining Under 21’s Semi Finals: in the 1st Semi, Thorpe Bay’s Kieran Skeggs beat another Thorpe Bay player, Adam Deadman 12-10, 11-6, 11-6: a good result as Adam has improved considerable this season. The other Semi was between Runnymede’s Sid Dorn and Rawreth’s Ben Matthews; Sid upset the form book with a well eared win 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6.
Next were the Men’s Semi Finals. The first Semi saw the 2013 Champion, Kevin Read, Rawreth, play the 2011 Champion, Thorpe Bay’s Alex Abbott: it was anyone’s guess who would win this. On this occasion, Alex ran out a comfortable winner, taking the match 11-3, 11-6, 11-3; Kevin’s first defeat in Southend this season. The other Semi saw a clash between 2 players who, over the past 2 seasons, have shared the spoils: Runnymede’s Kevin Caldon (2010 Champion) and Rawreth’s Tony Halling. (2004 Champion). This contest went all the way, with Kevin winning in 5 close sets, 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7.
Next was the first Final of the evening, the Under 21s, between Sid Dorn and Kieran Skeggs. Sid took the 1st Set and a surprise looked on the cards, but the higher ranked Kieran then moved up a gear to win 9-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-4.
The Next Final was the Men’s Doubles, a difficult one to call. It went to 5 Sets, the Title going to Kevin Caldon and Runnymede team mate, Richard Brown, beating Rawreth’s Charles Sweeny and Tony Halling 7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 11-5.
After the Interval, former England International Juniors, Brother and Sister, Alex and Maxine Abbott, Hullbridge, were expected to retain their Mixed Doubles Title. However Premier Divisions’ up and coming Youngsters, Emily Godfrey, Rawreth and Charlie Bates, Lentern played some superb Table Tennis to take the Title 9-11, 11-2, 11-8. 11-9.
Next was the Vet’s Singles Final, which was one of the most eagerly awaited contests for several years, featuring Holder, KevinCaldon and Steve Tilson, Castle Point. This was the first Southend Finals appearance since 1983 of former Essex Closed Champion and England Ranked Junior, Steve Tilson and due to his football commitments with Basildon Ladies, Steve could only enter this one event at these Championships: in 1983, then a 17 year old, Steve won both the Southend Junior and Men’s Singles Titles in the same season: after which, Steve, left the world of Table Tennis for the Professional Football scene, with Southend United. Steve has made only fleeting returns to the sport since, but this Season has played several matches for the Castle Point Table Tennis Club. This season, Steve has lost only once, to Alex Abbott, a defeat Steve avenged in the Vet’s Semi Finals. However, Kevin Caldon reached the Finals of the English National over 50s Singles this Season. So this was always going to be a close match and so it proved. The match went one way, then the other, with Kevin leading 2 sets to one. Then Steve produced a succession of left handed forehand winners to take the title 11-4, 5-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8. A top Match between 2 top players.
In the Ladies Singles Final, we were treated to another close match, between former English Junior International, Maxine Abbott, who was playing her Hullbridge colleague Lin Attridge, who herself has played for the England Over 50s, this season. The early lead went to Maxine who won the first 2 Sets comfortably 11-4, 11-7. But Lin is known for her fighting qualities and won the next 2 Sets 11-7, 11-3 and moved into a seemingly unassailable 8-2 lead in the deciding Set. Maxine then produced a great fight back, to win 11-9: a great Match.
The Final event of the evening was the Men’s Singles Final. Kevin Caldon (2012 Champion) faced Alex Abbott (2011 Champion). Kevin eager to reverse his earlier defeat in the Vets Singles, lost the first Set but came back to take the second. But back came Alex to take the third, only for Kevin to take the fourth. Kevin then ran away with the 5th and deciding Set, 11-1 to take the 2014 Title: a great evening for Kevin.
Other Finals played over the Weekend were:-
|Ladies Doubles||Maxine Abbott & Zoe Davies||Beat||Caroline Cole & Emily Godfrey|
|O 60s Singles||Terry Guymer||Beat||Chris Jacob|
|O 70s Singles||Dave Kirston||Beat||Peter Pond|
|U 21 Novice Singles||Sam Nunn||Beat||Robbie Appleton|
|Premier Division||Minda Sinkus||Beat||Gurj Bhambra|
|1st Division||Gary McCarthy||Beat||Chris Nunn|
|2nd Division||Zoe Davies||Beat||Paul Henlen|
|3rd Division||Justin Jeffreys||Beat||David Zeffie|
|Prem. & 1st comb.||Colin Chatfield & Anthon Ranjit-Singh||Beat||Dave Calleja & Peter Pond|
|2nd & 3rd comb.||Andy Deadman & Emily Smith||Beat||Richard Reibold & Shelley Woolley|
|Prem. & 1st comb.||Kim Shead||Beat||Dale Gutteridge|
|2nd & 3rd comb.||Zoe Davies||Beat||Ethan Selvester|
|Vets||Sue Body||Beat||Berti Makolli|
|U 21’s||Steve Marr||Beat||Ethan Selvester|
|Under 21 Novices||Hassan Qureshi||Beat||Finlay Cameron|
|Men’s Plate Singles:||Keith Abbott, Justin Jeffreys& Reece Seddon||Joint Winners|
|Drawn Doubles||Ben Mathews & Andy Deadman||Beat||Kim Shead & Zoe Davies|
We were treated to a great Group of Finals with some excellent matches. Our thanks go to the Hullbridge Sports Association’s Table Tennis Section for setting up the Hall and allowing us to use their fine facilities; to our colleagues on the Closed Championships’ Sub Committee – John Poysden, George Reeves, Kevin Read and Lou Hopkins; to Graham Back and the Warehouse Centre for the use of their Premises for the Under 21s; to Chris Aukett, Chairman of the Basildon Table Tennis League for the use of their Dividers and assembling and bringing them down: to the staff of Rayleigh Leisure Centre, to Glenn Johnson for the use of his P. A System; to Lesley on the Bar at Hullbridge; to all those who helped put up the equipment and take it down and help with Umpiring etc.; and to all of our Members and Families for supporting these Championships.
And, a special thanks to Paul Reed, who once again ran a Raffle, bought several prizes, obtained prizes from Members / Clubs, sold the tickets, drew the Lucky Numbers and raised £ 167 to be spread over the costs of our Closed and Junior Championships; great effort Paul. Over the past few seasons, Paul has run Raffles at our Closed Championships and our Presentation day and raised a considerable amount of money which helps the Committee to keep the Team entrance Fees to the Minimum. Jan Phillips also ran a raffle for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, raising over £ 100: well done Jan and to our Members who supported her such worthwhile efforts.