The Mount Gambier Table Tennis Winter 2021 Season finally got underway this week after a lengthy covid-inflicted delay, organisers and competitors alike relieved and anxious to return to normality, albeit under tight mask-laden restrictions. The 2021 Winter season has been organised into 3 Grades, with teams comprising of 3 players.
The A-Grade kicked off with Siri’s Team, led by Sirinat Sweet, taking on Sarah’s Team led by Sarah Thompson. Sweet opened proceedings with a fitting five-game epic tussle against David Fox of Sarah’s Team. Sweet took the first game comfortably 11-4 before Fox fought back to square the ledger and then gain a 2-1 lead, igniting a fire in Sweet as she powered through the final two games to get her team on the board first. Leigh Barry exacted revenge for Sarah’s Team with a comfortable victory over Katrina McPhee in the next rubber, setting the tone for the night as the two teams remained evenly matched for the duration. Scores were locked at 5 rubbers apiece going into the last encounter of the match, a fitting matchup between two titans of the game in Sweet and Barry. Both adversaries traded powerful blows and deft touch in an exhilarating display of high-quality table tennis, neither able to take a decisive advantage. Barry gained the ascendancy first, taking the opening game before Sweet clawed her way back to take the second. Barry then kicked it up a notch to take the third but Sweet was equal to the task, taking the fourth and forcing it to a tense decider. Both players were visibly tired, but both refused to give in, eventually it was Barry who outlasted Sweet to give Sarah’s Team the 6-5 victory. In the second of the A-Grade matches, a similar story played out as Ben Newman led Charming Archies to victory over Rowan Hardcastle’s Rowan And The Boys. Both teams had heroes on their side, the result hinging on the final encounter of the evening between Newman and Travis Sweet. Newman started the stronger, taking the first game in comfortable fashion before Sweet made his move, taking the second game emphatically. Newman had to draw on all his guile and experience to take the third game before Sweet’s youthful energy gave him the edge in the fourth, pushing it to the ultimate deciding fifth game. Newman gained the upper hand quickly and Sweet was never able to recover, the former making fewer errors at crucial times to take the win for Charming Archie 6 rubbers to 5. The third and final A-Grade match was not as close as the first two, JJ’s taking care of Where The Hell ‘R’ Ya by 7 rubbers to 4, Scott Davies proving the difference for the victors as he kept a clean sheet for the night.
In the B-Grade, Backhand Bandits outlasted The Raiders thanks to yet another thrilling five-game marathon to close out the night, this time it was Backhand Bandits player Harry Childs who prevailed over Rob Halleday. Childs kept his singles record intact for the night to lead his team to victory by the barest of margins, 6 rubbers to 5. In the other B-Grade contest, the Young Guns led by Hayden Luo, completely outplayed Rayelene Hutchesson’s RLM to come away with a 9-2 victory. Luo and Kuncheria Luka both kept clean sheets in their singles rubbers for the victors, whilst the only highlight for RLM came when Luke Bremner scored a 5-game victory over Young Guns player Kylie Boston.
In the C-grade, Paladin won five rubbers in a row at the back end of their match against Hurricanes to claim a 6-5 victory. Jedda Hardcastle and Richard Horrigan got Hurricanes off to the perfect start with wins in their respective opening singles rubbers before Ethan Ransom took control and proved the difference for Paladin, producing a stellar singles display to go unbeaten on the night. The second of the C-Grade matches saw Rollers pitted against The Fires, an even team performance from
the former proving the decisive factor as the Rollers recorded a slender 6-5 victory over The Fires, who appeared to be too heavily reliant on Jake Connell’s perfect singles performance to carry them over the line. In the third and final match in the C-Grade, Two And A Half Men proved too strong for Rogers, comfortably cruising to an 8-3 victory. James Peake performed strongly for the victors, coming away with a clean sheet on the night, whilst Nick Sweet also fought bravely for Rogers. Andrew Schubert’s opening victory for Two And A Half Men in 5 games over Rogers player Tom Horrigan set the tone for the match, many other rubbers lasting the distance including a showstopper between Two And A Half Men’s Caleb Musgrove and Rogers player Jacob Ireland. Both players refused to relent throughout the contest, Musgrove taking the first stanza before Ireland stormed back to take the next two. The tightest of tussles ensued in the fourth game, Musgrove eventually taking it to force the contest to a decider. The combatants traded points in the final game, neither giving an inch as they reached 10 points apiece with the building crowd of onlookers on the edge of their seats. Nerves appeared to get the better of Ireland, allowing Musgrove to take the final two points and the match, much to the relief and jubilation of his team mates.
- A-Grade: Leigh Barry (Sarah’s Team), Ben Newman (Charming Archie), Scott Davies (JJ’s)
- B-Grade: Harry Childs (Backhand Bandits), Hayden Luo, Kuncheria Luka (Young Guns),
- C-Grade: Ethan Ransom (Paladin), Jake Connell (The Fires), James Peake (Two And A Half Men).