Table Tennis Spring 2021 Week 2

As the weather began to heat up, so too did the Mount Gambier Table Tennis competition, now in week 2 of the Spring 2021 season.

Division 1 began with Leigh Barry leading the Giants into battle against Will Newlyn’s Cowboys. The two teams were evenly matched, several rubbers going down to the wire in 5 enthralling games, Barry and Johnny McBain performing strongly to maintain clean sheets and guide the Giants to an 11-7 win. Kuncheria Luka fought valiantly for the Cowboys, also coming away undefeated in his singles rubbers. The highlight of the match was McBain’s encounter with Cowboys player Justin Hutchesson. McBain took the early ascendency, pocketing the first game by 12 points to 10 before Hutchesson appeared to seize control, dominating the next two games. The tenacious McBain fought back however, taking the fourth game to send the contest to a deciding fifth. Neither player could get a break in the final game, trading skilful blows in what was shaping up to be a battle of attrition. As they passed the regulation 11-point mark, onlookers held their collective breaths and cheered every point. The pressure became too much for Hutchesson, miss-hitting the ball and sending it long past the end of the table to give McBain the 16-14 win. The second Division 1 matchup was an even tighter affair, Sirinat Sweet’s Raiders going head-to-head with her son Travis’ Broncos. Fittingly the overall result was decided in the final epic encounter of the night between mother and son. Victory to Sirinat would give the Raiders a two-rubber victory, whilst the Broncos were sweating on a win for Travis to tie the match and send it to a countback of games. Mother took the first game comfortably before junior bounced back to take the second, setting the tone for the remainder of the battle, neither playing willing to give an inch as it became apparent this meant more than just a game of table tennis – this was personal. Naturally the contest was decided in a classic nail-biting fifth game, both players mentally and physically drained, not to mention their suffering teammates looking on. Neither player made a mistake in one of the most skilful displays of spin and placement in recent history, until eventually something had to crack. A cunningly played cross-table shot from Travis proved too difficult for the diving Sirinat to control, sending the return wide to give her son the 14-12 victory and allowing the Broncos to level the tally of rubbers and rely on games one to determine the winning team. Luckily for Sirinat, the countback gave the Raiders victory by 38 games to 33.

Division 2 also produced some close encounters, the result between the Buccaneers and the Warriors not decided until the final rubbers of the night. Maree Peake got the Buccaneers off to a winning start with victory over her Warriors opponent Jacob Halleday, then Tracey Escreet squared the ledger against a noticeably hampered and underdone Angus Billing returning from an injury-forced layoff. Escreet took the first two games before Billing appeared to find his rhythm, battling to a remarkable 23-21 win in the third game. Unfortunately, he appeared to run out of puff allowing Escreet to comfortably run away with the fourth game and the rubber. The ultimate result of the match came down to the final rubber between the respective number one players, Warriors player Jedda Hardcastle against the Buccaneers’ Rhys Edwards. Both players fought tooth and nail, neither wanting to let their team down as they were cheered on from the sidelines. Victory to Hardcastle would give the Warriors the overall win while the Buccaneers needed Edwards to prevail to send it to countback. Hardcastle started the stronger, taking the first game comfortable before Edwards lifted to take the next two and looking in control. Not to be outdone however, Hardcastle fought

back to send the contest to yet another deciding fifth game. Edwards appeared to crack under the pressure, Hardcastle cruising to victory to give her Warriors team the overall 10-8 win. In the final contest of the night, Tracey Rawlings kept a clean sheet to lead her Vikings team to a narrow 10-8 victory against Dou Megaw’s Lions. Megaw and Andrew Telford showed heart for the Lions, both with a clean sheet also. Lions player Richard Horrigan’s tense five-game win over Vikings player James Peake was a highlight of the night, but it wasn’t enough to inspire his team to victory.

2-rubber winners:

Division 1 – Travis Sweet, Graham Heading (Broncos), Leigh Barry, Johnny McBain (Giants), Kuncheria Luka (Cowboys).

Division 2 – Tracey Rawlings (Vikings), Doug Megaw, Andrew Telford (Lions), Jedda Hardcastle (Warriors), Chris Turner, Maree Peake (Buccaneers).

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