Table Tennis for All

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06 Jan 2010

Ilford’s Matthew Spero was the surprise Winner of the Open Singles at the 2010  Essex Closed Table TennisTournament played at BATTS in Harlow over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 02/03 January.

Although this event will not make the same amount of headlines as some minor match at Old Trafford on the same day it represented a fantastic success for the hard-hitting left-handed Spero (ranked no. 155 nationally) who got the
better of  England no. 48 Ashley Stokes in the Final 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 with a superbly executed display of controlled hitting.

In an evenly contested event the first big shock took place in the group stages when Ilford Veteran defender John Tendler beat no. two seed Ashley Stokes (BATTS) in four ends which relegated Ashley to second place in his group. Ashley’s “punishment” was a first round meeting against the holder Umair Mauthoor (Ilford) and in a fast and at times breath-taking encounter Ashley edged home 11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9.

Elsewhere, John Tendler’s impressive run continued and he got the better of Phil Walker (Ilford) 13-11, 8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 12-10 as well as Luca Mariano (Ilford) 3-0 to set up a Semi-Final meeting against Matt Spero who had earlier ousted John Payne (BATTS) 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5. Smooth-flowing Mariano had made his mark beating Zayd Mauthoor 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7. Spero gave Tendler no chance in their Semi-Final and romped home 3-0. Stokes dominated the
other half of the draw beating Robin Ashleigh (Ilford) 3-0 and Steve Joslin (Colchester) 3-1. Steve had eased his way past old rival Steve Kerns (Chelmsford) 11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 13-11 and Hard-Bat specialist Fred Dove (BATTS) 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3. Stokes ended Joslin’s bid for “comeback glory” 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 to set up his Final encounter against Matt Spero.

There was a small measure of consolation for Ashley Stokes in the Mens Doubles when he paired up with Matthew Mulley (Chelmsford) to take the title. They beat the holders Zayd and Umair Mauthoor 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7 in the Final having needed five ends to get the better of scratch-pairing John Payne and Michael Copleston (Romford) 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7 a round earlier. Zayd and Umair Mauthoor were also hard-pushed to reach the Final and they had to use all their experience and guile to edge out Michael Andrews /Anthony Greenwood (Colchester) 14-12, 11-9, 16-14 in their Semi-Final.

John Payne, the Veterans Singles Champion in 2002 and 2003 became Champion for the third time although he was made to fight by Ray Lam (Ilford). Payne looked far from comfortable and it was only in the fifth end that he put daylight between himself and his opponent. Payne eventually won 13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6. Payne also tasted defeat in his group matches losing 3-1 to the hard-hitting Phil Walker. John Tendler, the surprise package in the Mens Singles fared even worse and he did not qualify from his group, succumbing in five ends against Graham Frankel (West Essex).

Ashley Stokes was a strong favourite for the Under 21 Singles and he did not disappoint. He stormed home 15-13, 11-6, 11-7 against Luca Mariano and 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 against Mark Mulley to take the title. Mark Mulley had made his mark by getting the better of brother Matthew 8-11, 11-7, 16-14, 11-13, 11-7 in  a very hard-fought Semi-Final.

Sunday’s action was completed by a top-class Restricted Singles Final. Former England top 10 Junior Steve Joslin had looked  to be recovering his form well as he battled his way to the Open Singles Semi-Final but he met  a very powerful and aggressive opponent in his Final encounter. Mario Martinka (BATTS) hit some spell-binding backhands to beat Joslin 3-11, 11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8. Martinka had to come from behind in his Semi-Final to get the better of Michael Andrews 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 14-12, 11-5 whilst Joslin also survived a few uncomfortable moments before he beat Colchester team-mate Anthony Greenwood 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6.

Certain events held over the weekend were poorly supported, none more so than the Over 40s Doubles. In a straight Final Steve Kerns/Paul Martindill (Ilford) took the title by getting the better of Ray Lam/John Tendler 11-7, 11-9, 11-8. For a County that runs four Veterans teams and holds an Inter-League competition which features five Over 40s Divisions and two Over 60s Divisions this level of entry is absolutely abysmal and needs to be looked at by the
County Management Committee urgently.

Entries in the Junior events were also well down in numbers, which contrasts sharply with the well supported BATTS One Star events held periodically throughout the Season. Luca Mariano was the top act in the Open Under 18 Singles as befits his superb performance at the English Junior National Championships when he reached the Under 18 Boys Doubles Final with Matthew Mulley. Luca took the title for a second time by beating Owen Warren (Southend)
11-6, 11-8, 11-7 and Evangeline Collier (BATTS Team Peniel) 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 in the Final. Evangeline, who had impressed on her recent debut for the County Senior first team made her mark here as well and she scored a superb win over Brandon Crouchman (Chelmsford) 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9.

Brandon put this disappointment firmly behind him and he captured the Under 15 Singles by getting the better of Scott Dowsett (Chelmsford) 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 in the Final. Brandon beat Charlie Williams (Romford) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 at the Semi-Final stage whilst Scott had to battle to get the better of Liam Williams (Harlow) 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-5.

Charlie Williams became Essex Under 13 Singles Champion for the first time. He took the title beating Thomas Herbert (Romford)11-6, 11-9, 11-5 in his Semi-Final and Nandeep Panesar (Ilford) 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 in the Final.

Alex George (Harlow) claimed the Essex Under 18 Restricted Singles title. He beat Jamal Dennison (West Essex) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 in the Final.

Full results were as follows -

Open Singles - Matt Spero beat Ashley Stokes 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.

Open Doubles - Matthew Mulley/Ashley Stokes beat Zayd/Umair Mauthoor 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7.

Under 21 Singles - Ashley Stokes beat Mark Mulley 11-7, 11-3, 11-7.

Over 40s Singles - John Payne beat Ray Lam 13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6.

Restricted Singles - Mario Martinka beat Steve Joslin 3-11, 11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8.

Over 40s Doubles - Paul Martindill/Steve Kerns beat John Tendler/Ray Lam 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.

Under 18 Open Singles - Luca Mariano beat Evangeline Collier 11-4, 11-7, 11-7.

Under 15 Open Singles - Brandon Crouchman beat Scott Dowsett 11-9, 11-5, 11-4.

Under 13 Open Singles - Charlie Williams beat Nandeep Panesar 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8.

Under 18 Restricted Singles - Alex George beat Jamal Dennison 11-5, 11-7, 11-8.

Steve Kerns
Press & Publicity Officer
Essex County Table Tennis Association