The Southend & District Table Tennis League

80th Annual Closed Championships 2006/07




Once again the Southend and District Closed Championships were held over four days in February at the Hullbridge Sports Association and the Warehouse Centre, Rayleigh.An important feature of this yearís Championships was that the Menís Singles event was dedicated to the memory of David Jacobs, who was involved with the Southend League for some 50 years; David being a former representative of Essex at junior, senior and veteran levels and an obituary will appear in the Southend Yearbook.




Monday 12th ††† The Championships commenced at the Hullbridge Sports Association, Hullbridge and the first night events were the Vetís Doubles and Plate.




Vets Doubles.††††††††††††††† There were no surprises leading up to the Semi-Finals where No.1 seeds Stuart Gibbs and Dave Bowles met No.4 seeds John Monk and Peter (Spud) Saunders.John Monk and Spud Saunders just took the initial set 12-10, before the No.1 seeds ran out comfortable winners 11-9, 11-3, 11-4.The other Semi-Final saw no.2 seeds Terry Guymer and Richard Brown win in straight sets against no.3 seeds George Reeves and Andrew Halling: the match was initially very close with the first set at 15-13 and the second at 13-11 before the No.2 seeds eased comfortably through in the third game 11-3.


The Final proved to be the match of the evening with Stuart Gibbs and Dave Bowles taking the first set 11-8, only for Terry Guymer and Richard Brown to level the match 11-5.Stuart and Dave regained the lead, winning the third set 11-8 only for Terry and Richard to level 11-9 on the fourth.The title looked to be going Terry and Richardís way, when they moved into an 8-4 lead in the final set, when Dave Bowles produced the shot of the evening in retrieving what looked like a certain winner to reduce the deficit to three points.Terry and Richard never regained their composure and failed to win another point, losing the final game 11-8 and Stuart and Dave taking the title.




  Dave Bowles, Terry Guymer, Dave Calleja, Stuart Gibbs & Richard Brown




Vetís Plate Event.††††††††† This event is run for those pairings who finish third in their first round groups. This year there were five teams playing on a best of three sets, round robin basis. The winners were unbeaten Pam and Gordon Swan and the runners-up position was taken by Lou Hopkins and Malcolm Henstock, whoís only defeat, was to the ďSwanísĒ.†† Ten players took part in this event and they all thoroughly enjoyed it: overall ten matches were played over a period of two hours.





††††† Gordon Swan, Pam Swan, Lou Hopkins & Malcolm Henstock


Friday 16th saw the Championships move over for the final three days to the Warehouse Centre, Rayleigh, where Friday evening events were the Vetís Singles and Vetís Single Plate.


Vets Singles.††††††††††††††††† There were no real surprises up to the second round and the four seeds George Reeves No. 1, Terry Guymer No.2, Stuart Gibbs No.3 and Dave Bowles No.4 all progressed safely to the Quarter Finals without any frights.


The Quarter-Finals proved a different story, with Spud Saunders taking Stuart Gibbs to four sets and John Poysden doing the same to Terry Guymer; both of these matches being very tight throughout.George Reeves encountered even more difficulty with Richard Brown. Richard took a two set lead before George moved up a gear and won the next three games 11-6, 11-6, 11-6. The final Quarter-Final saw the first seed fall, with Andrew Halling beating Dave Bowles 14-16, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8; a highly entertaining match.


The Semi-Finals were won conclusively by the No.1 and 2 seeds with George Reeves beating Andrew Halling 11-12, 11-5, 11-6 and Terry Guymer beating Stuart Gibbs 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5.


The Final produced the type of match you hope for between No. 1 and 2 seeds. Terry Guymer took the first two sets, both 11-9 and then George Reeves took the next two sets 11-8, 12-10: all four sets closely fought. The final set saw George lose the first three points and Terry ran out an 11-7 winner: taking our Vets Singles title for the first time.





†††††††††††††† George Reeves & Terry Guymer





Vets Singles Plate.†††††††† Running along side the Vets Singles, was the Plate Event for those who finished third in their group. The Final was between third divisionsí Dave Woolmer (who has returned to Table Tennis after a twenty year break) and second divisionsí Ray Farmer. This was another close match, with David winning 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 to take the title.





   Ray Farmer and Dave Woolmer




Saturday 17th at the Warehouse involved the Restricted events for each division, the Over 60/70s and the Mixed Doubles.



Mixed Doubles. This event centered around the two leading ladies, Lin Murray and Carolyn Cole and as expected, No.1 seeds Lin Murray and George Reeves reached the Semi-Finals without dropping a game. In the Semi-Finals they met Paul Grant and Anne Lane; the match was not all one way, with two of the sets going to deuce before George and Lin took the match three sets to one.The other Semi-Final saw Dave Calleja partnering former Essex junior Mel Jones (nee Saville) play Charles Sweeny and Carolyn Cole.This was again a very close match thatwas also won in four sets and saw Charles and Carolyn reach the Final.The first set of the Final was very close at 13-11 but gradually the No.1 seeds took control; winning another four setter 13-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3 for George and Lin to take the title.




  Carolyn Cole, Charles Sweeny, Lin Murray & George Reeves





Over 60s.†††††††††††††††††††††† There were no surprises in this event, with the No.1 seed George Pavittmeeting No.2 seed Les Tayler in the Final. These two players have met many times over the years and in recent times George has had the edge and this proved to be the case again with George taking the title 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-3.




Les Tayler & George Pavitt




Over 70s.†††††††††††††††††††††† Four players contested this event, Ray Farmer, Brian Cooper, Lou Hopkins and Maureen Cooper. Clearly having just reached the tender age of 70 and being a leading first division player for many years, Ray started out as a clear favourite.There were no surprises with Ray winning three matches, Lou two and Brian one and we congratulate our new over 70s champion, Ray Farmer and runner-up, Lou Hopkins.




††††† Lou Hopkins & Ray Farmer



Premier Restricted.††††††† The Quarter-Finals of the Premier Restricted saw one of the tightest matches of the day, when No. 3 seed Richard Brown beat No.1 seed Andrew Halling in five sets.In the Semi-Finals, Richard had another five setter, before beating Charles Sweeny.The other Semi-Final saw yet a further five set win for John Poysden over John Cleasby.The Final was extremely exciting with Richard taking the first set 11-9 and having points for a two set lead before loosing 19-17.The third set was equally tight at 11-9 before John won the fourth set 11-5 to take the title.John, who returned to the sport two years ago after a break of some twenty years, is clearly regaining some of his previous form, when he was both Southendís No. 1 and a regular Essex Menís representative.




 †††††† ††††††††††††† John Poysden ďforever blowing bubblesĒ & Richard Brown



Restricted Division One.†††††††††† The 2005 and 2006 winner and No. 1 seed Richard Hiskey reached the Finals without dropping a game and looked favourite to take a third successive title. However, his opponent in the Final was his Hullbridge team-mate, Bill Smith, who had surprised everyone by comfortably beating No.2 seed Russell Mills, in straight sets in the Semi-Finals.As Bill plays in the same team as Richard in four local leagues, it would be reasonable to assume that Bill knew better than most, how to play Richard. This certainly turned out to be the case and Bill took the title 11-6, 11-9, 11-9.





Richard Hiskey & Bill Smith




Restricted Division two. †††††††††† This contest saw the No.2 seed, John Shirley and No. 3 seed, Carolyn Cole, fail to survive their groups.This resulted in the No.1 seed Ray Farmer play Andy Humphries in one Semi-Final; winning in four games and No.4 seed, Vince Gurney play unseeded Andy Nunn in the other Semi-Final; Vince also winning in four sets:both these matches were very tight and could have gone either way.The Final turned out to be one of the Championships shocks with Vince Gurney taking the title with a fairly comfortable 3-0 victory over favourite, Ray Farmer.





Ray Farmer, Lou Hopkins & Vince Gurney



Restricted Division Three.†††††† The No.1 and 2 seeds, David Woolmer and Tony Millward are way up at the top of the averages in Division Three it was no surprise that they both reached the Final.Everyone expected a very tight game, and they were not disappointed. They were level at two sets each and in the deciding set, they were 10 all, 11 all and 12 all before David Woolmer took the title by the narrowest of margins, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 14-12.






 Tony Millward and Davis Woolmer  



Restricted Division Four.††††††† This division comprises of a number of our up and coming juniors, including our youngest league player, Taylor Nunn, who has just turned 8 years old.Unfortunately Taylor was unable to reach the Quarter-Finals, but three others did, Dan Sanderson, Owen Warren and Sam Langton.Only Owen managed it to the Semi-Finals where he met No.1 seed (his father) Neil. Clearly Neil decided that when Owen is ready to beat him, he will, but he has to earn it and at present Neil has the edge, taking the tie in three straight sets 11-8, 11-5, 13-11;no doubt Owenís time will come.The other Semi-Final saw Jonathon Allen and Mark Doxey have a very tight five setter before Mark Doxey, the No. 2 seed, reached the Final.In the Final, Neil Warren won in straight sets, and although the third set was a close encounter, Neil took the title 11-3, 11-2, 11-8.









Neil Warren & Mark Doxey



Sunday was the fourth and final day of the Championships, comprising of the prestigious Menís and Ladies Singles events, along with the Menís and Ladies Doubles: these are the big events of our Championships and everyone was looking forward to some exciting battles.




Ladies Doubles.††††††††††† The key match of this event was the meeting of the 2005 Double Champions, Janet Finch and Shelley Woolley against the up and coming Carolyn Cole and Mel Jones.They met in the Semi-Final and this eagerly awaited contest left no one disappointed.Janet and Shelley took the first and second set and looked on course for their second title in three years.However, Carolyn and Mel had other ideas and hit back to take next three sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-9.The other Semi-Final was also a close match, with the Mother and Daughter combination of Pam Swan and Sarah Mapes beating Anne Adlington and Ann Lane in four sets. In the Final, Carolyn and Mel were hot favorites to win the title and they took a two set to one lead, but Pam and Sarah surprised everyone by taking the next two sets comfortably 11-5, 11-5 and were delighted with the first title they had ever won together.





Carolyn Cole, Mel Jones, Sarah Mapes & Pam Swan




Menís Doubles.†††††††††††† There are always strong combinations in this event and this year was no exception.All eight seeds reached the Quarter-Finals where No. 1 seeds Stuart Gibbs and Dave Bowles beat No.8 seeds Graeme Hurry and Babul McLeod in straight sets.Similar No.4 seeds George Reeves and Kevin Reed beat No. 5 seeds John Poysden and Jamie Willson in straight sets.In the other half of the draw, No. 3 seeds John Monk and Spud Saunders had a close game against No. 6 seeds Andrew Halling and Dave Calleja, winning the fourth set 11-9. The surprise of this round was No. 7 seeds Lee Grant and Duncan Taylor beating No.2 seeds Terry Guymer and Richard Brown 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9.


Both Semi-Finals went to five sets and both could have gone either way with the best effort being the victory of No. 4 seeds George Reeves and Kevin Read over No. 1 seeds Stuart Gibbs and Dave Bowles 11-8 in the fifth; having come back from two sets down.The other Semi-Final saw No.3 seeds John Monk and Spud Saunders, beat Lee Grant and Duncan Taylor in five close sets.


In the Final, as one would expect, with the meeting of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, it was always going to be a tight match, but in the end, John Monk and Pete Saunders took the title in four sets, 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5.






Peter (Spud) Saunders & John Monk


Ladies Singles.†††††††††††††††† As expected all four seeds reached the Semi-Finals without dropping a single set between them.In the Semi-Finals, No.1 seed Lin Murray faced No. 4 seed Janet Finch. Lin was never seriously troubled, reaching the Final in straight sets.The other Semi-Final developed into a titanic battle, with Carolyn Cole taking the first two games 11-7, 11-8 and then Mel Jones hitting back 11-9, 12-10.Carolyn then recomposed herself taking the deciding game 11-7.


The Final was always going to be a closely fought match, between Lin Murray and Carolyn Cole.Carolyn took the first set 11-9 with Lin immediately hitting back and taking the second 11-8.Carolyn took the third set comfortably 11-3 and again Lin fought back leveling at 11-7.This fifth game was very close throughout and at 6 all it was anyoneís game, but the tide turned Carolynís way and she took the fifth set 11-7, to win her first Southend Ladies Single Title and a very worthy Champion.





Carolyn Cole



Menís Singles.†††††††††††††† Round one of the Menís Singles produced one of the biggest shocks in the history of Southend Table Tennis, when unseeded Lee Grant beat No.2 seed Stuart Gibbs 11-8, 2-11, 12-10, 11-9.In Leeís words, ďit was the best victory of my careerĒ.


In the second round a further shock occurred when No. 8 seed Jamie Willson, lost to club mate John Poysden, in one of the closest matches of the Championship 12-10, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10.There were no other shocks and all other seeds progressed safely to Quarter-Finals.


In the Quarter-Finals, Lee then produced another upset, when he toppled Essex ranked Dave Bowles.Lee lost the first two games 8 and 6 but then rallied strongly to take the final three games 11-9, 11-9, 11-7.No.3 seed George Reeves also had a very close match with No. 6 seed Duncan Taylor, narrowly winning in the fifth set.In the other half No. 1 seed Terry Guymer beat John Poysden in a tough match 11-8, 12-10, 12-10.The final Quarter-Final saw John Monk beat Kevin Read 11-8 in the fifth set.


The first Semi-Final proved the end of the road for unseeded Lee Grant, who had had an exceptional day with his superb victories over Stuart Gibbs and Dave Bowles. He met George Reeves and George reached the final comfortably 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.The other Semi-Final was exceptionally close with John Monk taking the first game 13-11 against Terry Guymer. Terry took the next three games, but as the scores show, the match was close at all times; Terry winning 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10.


With Terry Guymer expected to repeat his Vetís Singles victory over George Reeves, he never got going as we all know he can and George produced an outstanding performance of non-stop attacking play to take the title 11-6, 11-4, 11-6; twenty-one years after he had previously won this title in 1986.




George Reeves & Terry Guymer



Committee. Once again we thank the Committee for their hard work in arranging theChampionships.


Putting together a Championship of this nature involves a considerable amount of work:-

Collating the entries

Scheduling the players into their respective events

Producing schedules for the timing of the event

Establishing the seedings

The massive job of setting up the draw and result sheet for all events

Nets and scoring tables and dividers have to be relocated

A vast amount of work.











Our thanks go to Jayne Johnson ably assisted by Lou Hopkins and Ken Field.Normally they would have Janet Finch and Bob Shingleton-Smith completing the team and providing Jayne with much appreciated assistance at the control desk, but with them being on vacation this year Vince Gurney stepped in to help. Thanks go to Vince for all the help he gave over the Championships.




Our thanks go to our Seeding Committee of Andrew Halling, Dave Calleja and George Reeves who got most events right; apart from the Menís Singles!!




Our thanks also go to Andy Nunn, who turned up on Friday evening to help even though it was Vets night and was he was not playing himself.




Our thanks also go to Graham Back, who was available for the whole of the weekend at the Warehouse Centre, always looking to assist wherever he could and ensuring that the Championships were a success.



Our thanks also go to the Hullbridge Sports Association for allowing us to use their facilities on Monday night where every one had a very enjoyable evening, with the Vets Doubles Events.




Our thanks go to Alistair and his colleagues at the Warehouse Centre, in setting up the tables on Friday night and no doubt putting everything away on Sunday evening.


           Thanks to Jayne, Dave and Berti for pictures used.

           For further pictures by Berti, click here

Finally our thanks go to those members of our League who participated in the Championships. From a Committee point of view, it was very rewarding to receive so many thank yous for our efforts; to receive assistance in areas such as umpiring: to hear no complaints and to generally feel part of a highly enjoyable atmosphere.




The Closed Championships Committee

The Southend & District Table Tennis League.

23 February 2007