Table Tennis for All

Norman Booth Centre, Elderfield, Mulberry Green, Old Harlow, Harlow, CM17 0EY. Tel: 01279 438199

British League at BATTS

03 Dec 2009

Round five of  the British League  Premier Division has been completed and the leaders Drumchapel Glasgow have all but guaranteed that they will retain their title. It is early days but such was the margin of their superiority over second –placed Westfield that it is surely no more than a formality that they will win it again.
Westfield, the surprise-package of the first weekend were missing Niall Cameron and they were never really in the hunt. Ryan Jenkins, Qian Hai Song, Terry Young and Stephen Jenkins carried all before them, running out 8-0 winners. Damien Nicholls matched Ryan Jenkins for the first four games, but he couldn’t maintain the pace in the fifth end and Ryan ran out a 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 winner. Stylish newcomer  Wilson Huart faced a “baptism of fire”, and although he showed some nice touches, he wasn’t able to add to his side’s successes. Wilson lost 8-11, 10-12, 4-11 against Terry Young and 3-11, 2-11, 12-10, 7-11 to Stephen Jenkins.
DHS Greenhouse Progress I, led by the inform Po Huang Chen, the winner of the previous night’s BATTS Super League Competition (where he beat Qian Hai Song in the Final) were impressive 6-2 winners over BATTS Team Peniel I. Po Huang Chen made no mistake as he blasted his way past Ritchie Venner (11-9, 11-8, 11-6) as well as Wang Zheng (11-9, 11-6, 11-2). This match also featured the best encounter of the morning - England no. One Cadet Zac Zilesnick clearly fancied his chances against the tenacious  England no. 17 Garth Kinlocke (only one year out of the Junior ranks himself). This game was fast and furious from the off, and it was only at  5-5 in the fifth end that Garth finally pulled clear. He won 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6. Zac avenged this defeat in his second singles, and he ran out a fine 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 winner over England no. 37 Ashley Willetts.
Sycamore did well to draw against a reinforced Ellenborough team. The London team bolstered by the inclusion of Veterans Thomas Bennborn and Abdul Wuraola clearly meant business and tempers became frayed as team-mates urged each other on to greater efforts.  Scottish no. one Gavin Rumgay, fresh from a fine performance in the English Open  proved a major stumbling block. He beat both John Nilsson and Lorestas Trumpauskas 3-0. It was Swedish defender Bennborn who held Ellenborough together. He held all the answers as he hammered Sean Cullen 11-5, 11-2, 11-9 and he survived a major change of tactics as Sam Perry stopped looping against him. Bennborn pulled through 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 after recovering from 0-5 in the fourth end.  Sean Cullen turned in a sparkling display to earn Sycamore a draw, and he barely put a foot wrong as he totally outplayed Abdul Wuraola 11-2, 11-4, 11-7. More than once Abdul was left recovering as Sean calmly blocked Abdul’s vicious forehand loop down his vacant backhand wing. In this case experience had no answer to youthful brilliance.
Ormesby had both David Meads and Nigel Eckersley undefeated as they beat a game Derwent side 6-2.  Simon Noutch scored an excellent 4-11, 13-15, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 victory over  England no. 13 Michael Marsden and a determined  Stephen Horsfield also fought his way back into contention as he beat Patrick Thomas 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8. The next game proved crucial. David Meads beat Simon Noutch 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 and there was no way back for Derwent. Nigel Eckersley beat Matt Dodds 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 and Michael Marsden sealed the Ormesby victory by defeating Stephen Horsfield 11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8. Patrick Thomas sealed what had been a very workmanlike performance by the Middlesbrough team by getting the better of Richard Smith 12-10, 11-3, 11-5.
Westfield who had sunk without trace against Drumchapel Glasgow I in the morning consolidated second place by beating Sycamore 6-2. The match was a personal triumph for England no. 29 Richard Andrews, and the England no. eight  Junior scored two excellent wins. First he beat Sean Cullen ranked one place above him at Junior level 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 and in his second singles he fared even better, seeing off England no. 16 Senior Kevin Dolder (11-8, 12-10, 12-10) after three games of open and at times quite brilliant Table Tennis . Team-mate Wilson Huart also impressed and he defeated both Danny Lowe and Sean Cullen. Gavin Rumgay was responsible for both Sycamore wins. It was all guns-blazing as he beat Shaun Marples 11-6, 11-2, 11-6 and in his second singles he saw off a player who has caused him problems in the past – Damien Nicholls. Rumgay ran out a 7-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 winner.
Drumchapel Glasgow  turned in yet another masterful performance, beating DHS Greenhouse Progress 7-1. Qian  Hai Song, who had lost to Chen Po Huang in yesterday’s BATTS Super League Competition, came out on top this time and his 14-12, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6 win in the opening singles meant that his team always held the ascendancy. Ryan Jenkins and Terry Young also remained undefeated and all the London side had to show for their efforts was Garth Kinlocke’s four-game win over  Stephen Jenkins. Ryan Jenkins looked close to his best, defeating Tong Da Qing (13-11, 11-6, 11-6) as well as Chen Po Huang (8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7). Terry Young, still one of the most successful British League players of the last six years  – despite not practising so regularly these days also made his mark.  He brushed aside Ashley Willetts (11-6, 12-10, 11-1) and also beat Tong Da Qing 12-10, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5.
Ellenborough scored their first win of the Season, by disposing of Derwent 7-1. Thomas Bennborn had few problems winning both of his singles, bamboozling Richard Smith (11-8, 11-8,11-5) as well as Matthew Dodds (11-2, 11-6, 11-2) and Lorestas Trumpauskas and Abdul Wuraola also won twice. Lorestas had to pull out all the stops to get the better of Simon Noutch 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4 whilst Abdul was at even greater pains before he finally saw off Richard Smith 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9. Stephen Horsfield was Derwent’s winner and he made his mark with his excellent five-set victory over John Nilsson. Horsfield triumphed 11-9, 11-9, 17-19, 2-11, 11-8.
BATTS Team Peniel, beaten 6-2 in the morning fared better  here, but they still lost 5-3 against Ormesby. David Meads again won twice, to give the Middlesbrough giants the edge, and this time Michael Marsden also won his two singles. Meads fought back with real determination to get the better of Wang Zheng  6-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8. Zac Zilesnick completed what had been a very successful introduction into British League Premier Division Table Tennis with two more excellent wins. His game against Nigel Eckersley was  a classic oldest versus youngest confrontation which only Table Tennis can stage and it was the free-flowing Zac who came through to win 9-11, 14-12, 11-7, 15-13. BATTS’s Clive Carthy had a match he will wish to forget. He was all at sea against Patrick Thomas succumbing 2-11, 6-11, 6-11 and although he raised his game considerably against Mike Marsden it was Mike who ran out a 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 winner.
When reporting on any team who completely dominate their Division you run the risk of repeating yourself - ad nauseum, but, some times there is no choice. That is the case with Drumchapel Glasgow  I, the overwhelming favourites to retain their British League Premier Division title. There were no signs of weakening in round seven and home team BATTS Team Peniel were despatched 8-0 despite a more than spirited showing.  England no. one Under 15 Zac Zilesnick threw everything he had against  the redoubtable England no. 10 Terry Young and in a match of high drama Terry led 10-8 in the fifth set and had to in turn save three match points before he saw off his tenacious opponent 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 15-13. Ritchie Venner wasn’t able to beat Qian Hai Song but he gave a very creditable account of himself for the first four ends. It was only in the fifth end when the Scottish no. two pulled clear, eventually winning 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-3 to retain his 100 % record. Qian Hai Song had earlier showed his class against BATTS no. one Wang Zheng powering his way to a 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 success.
DHS Greenhouse Progress showed much of the same determination that they exhibited in abundance under the Jon Kaufman years and their 6-2 victory over Sycamore owed a lot to three close fifth game wins. An all guns-blazing  Po Huang Chen took Gavin Rumgay’s 100 % record away by beating the Scottish no. one 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 whilst the still improving Ashley Willetts scored two hard-fought victories. He beat England no. 32 Sam Perry 7-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-2, 11-8 and for good measure he also saw off Sycamore talisman Jason Ramage (England no. 66) 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10. The match between Kevin Dolder  and Garth Kinlocke was typically fast and furious. You wouldn’t expect anything else, and it was Kevin who edged it : 8-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-1, 11-9.
Derwent will almost certainly be relegated, but, they too have impressed everyone with their determined  approach. Stephen Horsfield was an excellent 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 12-10 winner over Westfield’s Wilson Huart, their only victory in their 7-1 defeat. Westfield’s Damien Nicholls, Shaun Marples and Richard Andrews were all undefeated. Simon Noutch’s game against Damien Nicholls featured some of the most prolonged lobbing rallies of the weekend. The Court couldn’t contain Damien at times and he eventually prevailed after four very entertaining games. Damien won 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 12-10.
The match between Ellenborough and Ormesby finished tied at 4-4. Michael Marsden won two important five-setters. He beat Lorestas Trumpauskas  11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-13, 11-7 and in what was on e of the most anticipated clashes of the weekend, he survived a fightback from Thomas Bennborn before pulling clear in the fifth end : 11-7, 11-5, 11-13, 4-11, 11-3. However, his efforts were not sufficient to earn him the Player of the Match Award. That honour went to Ormesby’s Patrick Thomas who earned the Middlesbrough team their draw by beating Abdul Wuraola 11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 13-11 in the last game.
DHS Greenhouse Progress scored their third win of the weekend, a 7-1 victory over Derwent, although Derwent will take heart from their performance, as they lost three games in the fifth end and Stephen Horsfield came up trumps beating Ashley Willetts 8-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9. Simon Noutch missed out 11-6, 11-2, 10-12, 9-11, 11-13 in the first game against Tong Da Qing whilst Richard Smith came close to pulling off a great win against Ashley Willetts in the last game. Willetts scraped home 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-9.
Ormesby felt the full force of the Drumchapel charge as the Scottish giants made it 16 points out of 16. Ryan Jenkins, Qian Hai Song and Terry Young were all undefeated with Qian Hai Song and Terry Young making it a full house of 16 wins for the Season. Qian Hai Song took no prisoners blasting his his way past David Meads 11-2, 11-9, 11-5 as well as Patrick Thomas 11-6, 11-8, 11-8. Ryan Jenkins was at also at his fluent free-flowing best and he was relatively untroubled as he beat Mike Marsden (11-9, 11-7, 11-8) and David Meads (11-7, 11-4, 11-2). Yet another top-draw display from the Champions elect !
BATTS Team Peniel, without a point from the weekend knew they needed to produce a big performance against Sycamore, no easy task when the Midlanders have Scottish no. one Gavin Rumgay playing at no. one. Sure enough Rumgay won both of his singles – 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 against Ritchie Venner and 13-11, 11-6, 12-10 against Wang Zheng. BATTS however  fared superbly in the other games. Zac Zilesnick played some superb Table Tennis and coped admirably with the pressure of playing the last game as well as losing the first two ends heavily. The England no. one Cadet scored two excellent five-set wins over Danny Lowe (11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6) as well as Sean Cullen (5-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-6). Wang Zheng played his part by getting the better of Kevin Dolder 11-9, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9 whilst Ritchie Venner pulled out all the stops to get the better of Danny Lowe 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8. This result leaves BATTS and Ellenborough tied on five points and individual matches with BATTS holding a slender two game advantage.
Westfield, who are arguably the team of the season to date produced yet another superb performance, beating Ellenborough 7-1. A team with admirable strength in depth Westfield can be delighted with their displays this Season. Shaun Marples started the ball rolling by scoring a fine 10-12, 11-5, 8-11 11-7, 11-9 win over Lorestas Trumpauskas and they never looked back after that. Wilson Huart scored a magnificent 8-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 win over Thomas Bennborn and Richard Andrews score his fifth and sixth wins of the weekend. Top class displays against Abdul Wuraola (3-1) and John Nilsson (3-0). Bennborn was the Londoner’s only winner, as he chopped his way past Shaun Marples 3-0.
Players of the weekend – Qian Hai Song, Ryan Jenkins, Terry Young, Zac Zliesnick, Richard Andrews and Wilson Huart all deserve special mention.
Another major plus point from the weekend – most players said what a good idea it was holding the BATTS Super League event on the Friday night. Those players not playing in all four British League matches will no doubt feel that their Friday night experience greatly enhanced their weekend’s enjoyment.
Steve Kerns