Braintree finals night – it’s Davison again!

Paul Davison proved once again his ability to rise to the occasion when he was crowned Braintree Table Tennis League singles champion for the eighth time at the league’s finals night.

Davison has lost four times in league matches this season and currently stands only sixth in the individual averages but he had his championship head on on Friday as he came through two tough encounters to lift the trophy.

Paul Lucas tested him to the full in the semi-final where he refused to succumb easily.

After losing the first game 11-3, Lucas came back strongly to take the match to five ends after saving two match points in the fourth.

He stretched it all the way to deuce in the fifth but Davison stayed in attacking mode and took the final two points.

In the final against Lee McHugh, it was Davison who had to come from behind. With a mixture of aggressive attack, classical defence and disguised chop, McHugh took the first game 12-10.

But Davison gradually found a way past his opponent’s defences, won the second game 11-6 and again showed his coolness in the vital points when he took the third and fourth games 11-9 and 13-11.

McHugh had earlier nullified the challenge of Brandon Crouchman, who could not find the form that had eliminated second seed Harry Chivers the previous weekend and this time it was McHugh who won the vital points, winning all three games at deuce.

Curiously, after winning his semi-final against Lucas, Davison went on to lose to the same player in the final of the veterans’ singles, an illustration perhaps of where his focus for the evening lay.

Lucas got his attack going far more effectively than in their earlier encounter and registered a relatively comfortable 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 win.

It ended a run of five successive wins in the event for Davison, who has won it every year since he has been eligible. His defeat meant he missed out on equalling Ian Whiteside’s record of six successive wins from 1995 to 2000.

Many years before his singles successes, Davison had gained his first senior title when he shepherded a nine-year-old Vicki Stredder to a win in the mixed doubles in 1997. This year Lucas was attempting the same feat with his 14-year-old daughter Amelie.

It was not to be, however, as Louise Hartshorn and Ian Shrubsole proved far too steady at the other end.

Mixing some containing play with occasional heavy smashes, they refused to allow Paul Lucas to dominate and ran out comfortable winners 11-5, 11-5, 11-5.

Hartshorn had a harder time of it in the ladies’ singles where she was initially discomfited by Lorraine Burgess’s cultured all-round game.

Burgess took the first and third games before Hartshorn found any sort of rhythm.  At last in the fourth, she was able to bring her trademark smashes into play and held on for a five-game victory.

It was one of the near-upsets of the evening but did not come close to matching Omar Wasi’s near success in the junior boys’ singles.

As the No.2 open singles seed and reigning Brentwood men’s singles champion, Harry Chivers was assumed to be a shoo-in to take the title.

But Wasi didn’t see it that way.

He matched his more illustrious opponent shot for shot and stormed into a most unlikely two-game lead.

He started well in the third game as well but Chivers appeared to regain confidence paradoxically for a naturally attacking player from a cracking rally at 1-3 down where he won the point with a dogged defensive display.

He moved into gear after that to win 11-6 and when he took the fourth game 11-2, normal service appeared to have been resumed.

But no. Wasi hit back in the fifth and held a match point at 10-9 when, with Chivers marooned at the back of the court, he missed what looked like a straightforward smash.

Reprieved, Chivers held his nerve to win at 13-11.

It was a more confident Chivers who turned out in the men’s doubles final a quarter of an hour later.

He and Kaung Paing settled more quickly and stayed in charge against the No.1 seeds Crouchman and Scott Dowsett.  Their speed about the table and snappy returns proved too much for the Liberal A pair and it was all over in three games, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7.

The evening’s opener saw Adi Kamma progress from last season’s runners-up berth to champion in the restricted singles final.

His calm approach overcame Sean Clift’s normally solid defence where the essential difference was his ability to finish off a point with a heavy smash, a weapon Clift lacks in his armoury.

The trophies were presented by president John Mills, umpires were James Hicks, David Gatheral, Paul Lombardi and Oliver Hicks and the event was organised by league competition secretary Keith Martin.


Open singles final: Paul Davison beat Lee McHugh 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11. Semi-finals: Davison beat Paul Lucas 11-3, 10-12, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10; McHugh beat Brandon Crouchman 14-12, 12-10, 12-10.

Ladies’ singles: Louise Hartshorn beat Lorraine Burgess 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3, 11-7

Men’s doubles: Harry Chivers and Kaung Paing beat Crouchman and Scott Dowsett 11-8, 11-5, 11-7

Mixed doubles: Hartshorn and Ian Shrubsole beat Amelie Lucas and Paul Lucas 11-5, 11-5, 11-5

Veterans’ singles: Paul Lucas beat Davison 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3

Junior boys’ singles: Chivers beat Omar Wasi 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 13-11

Restricted singles: Adi Kamma beat Sean Clift 11-7, 11-9, 11-9

Ian Shrubsole and Louise Hartshorn – mixed doubles winners