Mount Gambier Table Tennis Summer 2022 Season got underway this week with a distinctly international flavour, with teams of four players organised into 2 divisions. The season will comprise 10 weeks, followed by finals contested by the top two teams in each division. Once again, many regulars returned as well as some fresh faces.
Division 1 launched with Team Athens up against Team Berlin. Athens player Travis Sweet was at his dynamic best, winning all three of his singles rubbers, ably support by Rob Halleday who won 2 of his. For the Berlin Team, Ward Freeman and Robin Pellen won two singles rubbers apiece. Many encounters of the round went the distance to 5 games, Freeman pushing Sweet all the way as their respective teammates cheered them on. Little separated the combatants in the first game as they struggled to gain the upper hand, eventually it was Sweet’s youthful energy and fleet of foot that enabled him to prevail. Sweet found his rhythm to take the second game more comfortably before Freeman drew on all his experience, clawing his way back to take the next two games and send it to a decider. Fatigue frustrated both players in the 5th, causing some uncharacteristic unforced errors on both sides. With the game evenly poised at 5 points all, Sweet again entrusted his energy reserves to outlast his wily opponent, claiming a crucial victory. Inspired by Sweet’s performance, Halleday, Aaron McPhee and Sanith Ghetia lifted Athens to a 9-5 victory. Team Paris and Team Oslo fought out a much tighter encounter in the second Division 1 match. Sirinat Sweet was the standout player for Paris, while Leigh Barry and Justin Hutchesson produced their usual high quality for Team Oslo. Undoubtedly, the two highlights of the match both involved Hutchesson as he first staved off Team Paris player in 5 gruelling games, and then backed it up with another 5-gamer against Graham Heading. Heading appeared to have the better of a visibly tiring Hutchesson, grabbing the first two games with seemingly relative ease, before onlookers were treated to a comeback from the Oslo player that had to be seen to be believed. As though a switch had been flicked, Hutchesson dominated his opponent into submission in the crucial third game, Heading unable to regain his composure as he surrendered the fourth and fifth games to Hutchesson comfortably. Paris trailed Oslo by a solitary rubber coming to the last, Sweet needing to defeat Barry to force a countback situation. She appeared to be on her way to achieving her objective with ease when she pocketed
the first game, however Barry was determined to clinch the match for his team as he fought back strongly to take the second game. Sweet flexed her muscles however, powering through the third and fourth games to take the rubber and send the team captains to the scoreboard with their pencils, feverishly counting the games won. Sweet’s victory over Barry at the death proved to be vital in every way possible, Team Paris getting over the line by the absolute barest of margins, 26 games to 25.
Results in Division 2 were eerily like those of Division 1, Team Stockholm scoring a 9-5 victory over Team Tokyo in the first matchup. Stockholm’s players, led by Chris Turner, produced an even team performance, all coming away with 2 out of 3 wins in their singles rubbers. For Team Tokyo, Kylie Boston and Chris McGregor also posted two singles wins. McGregor performed in absolutely warrior-like fashion, firstly defeating against Stockholm’s Nathaniel Harris-Jones Turner 21-19 in the 5th game of what can only be described as the rubber of the night, before backing it up with another extraordinary 15-13 triumph in the deciding game against Turner. In the final matchup of the first round, substitute player Nick Sweet and Jacob Ireland guided Team Rome into battle with Andrew Telford’s Team Atlanta. Ireland was the player of the match, winning all three of his singles rubbers, while Sweet and Telford recorded two victories apiece. Newcomer Adam Johnston recorded his maiden victory in competitive table tennis, overcoming Rome’s Angus Billing. Victories to Telford and Richard Van Der Linde to close out the allowed Atlanta to force the second draw of the opening round, the teams finishing on 7 wins apiece and going to countback. Ultimately it was Team Rome who prevailed by 26 games to 23.
- Division 1: Travis Sweet (Athens), Sirinat Sweet (Paris)
- Division 2: Jacob Ireland (Rome)