TABLE TENNIS: Iceman Svensson stays cool to win Crawley Championships

Crawley & Horsham Table Tennis Championships. Martin Svensson 16-04-16 Pic Steve Robards SR1610810 SUS-160418-153541001
Crawley & Horsham Table Tennis Championships. Martin Svensson 16-04-16 Pic Steve Robards SR1610810 SUS-160418-153541001

The big guns were out in force for the Crawley Closed, the top four seeds were highly-rated players Craig Bryant, Martin Svensson, Mark Scutts and Wes Bush-Harris.

All four reached the open singles semi-finals without difficulty at the championships held at Holy Trinity School in Gossops Green on Saturday.

Crawley & Horsham Table Tennis Championships.  16-04-16 Pic Steve Robards SR1610801 SUS-160418-153515001

Crawley & Horsham Table Tennis Championships. 16-04-16 Pic Steve Robards SR1610801 SUS-160418-153515001

In the first semi Bryant showed his Foresters A team-mate Bush-Harris no mercy, winning 11-3/11-6/11-3.

The second match was a classic with Swedish ranked number 180 Svensson storming into a 11-8/11-4 lead before Scutts staged an impressive fightback winning the next two 11-7/11-8.

In the fifth it was nip and tuck all the way with Svensson leading by the odd point.

When he was caught at 9-9 with Mark’s two serves to come, it looked ominous.

Crawley & Horsham Ladies Singles trio Kate Cheer (runner-up) Alice Hazell (third place) and champion Becca George SUS-160419-110901002

Crawley & Horsham Ladies Singles trio Kate Cheer (runner-up) Alice Hazell (third place) and champion Becca George SUS-160419-110901002

But he flicked two short serves for winners to come out on top.

In the final, three service faults did England number 11 Craig Bryant no favours and he went down 9-11.

In the second he regrouped well, winning 11-6.

The third game saw Svensson able to get his big shots in to push Bryant back and win 11-8.

When he went 9-3 up in the fourth it looked all over but Bryant slowed the game down and came back to 9-9.

This setback did not rattle Svensson, who played two fine points to win the title.

Some really high quality table tennis was warmly appreciated by the audience and demonstrates how strong the Crawley and Horsham League has become.

In the doubles, Adam Daley and Gerry Pugh put up a good show, winning the first game against Svensson and England ranked number 62 Scutts and held a game point in the second before going down in four.

In the other semi Dan Pound and Mark Collins took a game and held an 8-4 lead in the fourth before losing to Bush-Harris and Craig.

In the final Scutts and Svensson won surprisingly easily with a magnificent display of power hitting to win 11-7/11-6/11-4.

In the consolation event semi-final Erik Van-Mol recovered from 6-10 down in the fifth against Richard Hazell to reach the final.

Last year’s winner Barry Cheer beat Chris Pullinger to win his semi-final.

In the final Van-Mol could get his big shots in to win 11-8/11-4/11-5.

There was further evidence of the quality of the league in the junior event which was played as a round-robin.

Bearing in mind that the top-two Josh Bennett and George Hazell were representing the league on Carter Cup duty in Hastings, the group of Kate Cheer, Alice Hazell, Luke Gallacher and Ryszard Pelc are very talented players and further evidence that the future of the league is in safe hands.

Cheer came out on top with three wins and Luke was the runner-up.

In the 55 singles Gerry Pugh had a tough semi against Aivars Vugulis, losing a 2-0 lead and falling behind 1-4 in the decider.

At this point he gave up hitting and pushed his way to an 11-5 victory.

Barrie Gilbert beat Liam Cuffe 3-0 in the semi-final. In the final Barrie defeated Gerry 11-6/11-3/8-11/11-3.

Becca George dominated the ladies events by clinching three titles on Sunday.

The former champion of Yorkshire became ladies singles champion, narrowly beating Cheer and Hazell into second and third place in a round-robin event.

Hazell, 15, caused the shock of the tournament when she beat England junior international Cheer 3-1.

Cheer fared better against George, 16-14 in the fifth. The final placings were decided by organiser Steve Pound on countback.

George, 24, then combined with Hazell to win the ladies doubles against runners-up Cheer and Lynne Trussell 3-0 and Alison East and Dolly Gilbert 3-0.

George added the mixed doubles title he combined with Craig Bryant to beat Adam Daley and Cheer 3-0 in the final.

Bryant proved himself to be the best handicap player, as well as being the highest ranked player in the league.

Overcoming massive points starts in favour of his opponents, he outwitted promising junior Ryszard Pelc (Blades) 21-18/21-19 in the final.

He gave a brilliant display of serving and third-ball attack to overcome a ten-point start in each game.

Bryant recovered from a 15-0 start in each game to beat Bob Watson 21-17/21-18 in the semi-final.

Wes Bush-Harris (Foresters) became veterans’ champion for the first time when he beat wily defender Barrie Gilbert 3-1 in the final.

Bush-Harris beat Gerry Pugh 3-0 in the semi, while Gilbert beat Phil Richardson 3-0 in a clash between Crawley Community A team-mates.

Pelc became Division One singles champion, quelling Blades team-mate Richard Hazell 11-7/11-5/19-17 in an exciting final.

Pelc beat Aivars Vugulis 3-0 in the semi, while Hazell’s victim was Blades’ Erik Van-Mol, narrowly winning 11-8 in the fifth.

Rob Poplutz won the Division 2 singles when he thwarted Bob Watson 3-1 in the final.

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