Bumper field attracted to Norwich table tennis tournament
Almost double last year's number of entrants competed in the Norwich Junior Closed tournament on Saturday at Catton Grove Primary School.In the boys' singles, last year's winner and number one seed Tony Zeqiri successfully defended his title with a convincing win over Arron Kemp.
Almost double last year's number of entrants competed in the Norwich Junior Closed tournament on Saturday at Catton Grove Primary School.
In the boys' singles, last year's winner and number one seed Tony Zeqiri successfully defended his title with a convincing win over Arron Kemp.
Playing in his last year as a junior, Zeqiri beat Joshua Baxter and Will Lawes to reach the final having already progressed through the group stage.
Yarmouth-based Kemp beat Stephen Harsley in his quarter-final, followed by an unexpected win over county junior Sam Rock in the semis, having been two sets down.
In the final nerves got the better of Kemp in the first game and despite some good attacking rallies Zeqiri always had the upper hand.
Kemp played much better in the next two games, despite a few serves in the net, with some very good shots just missing the end of the table due to Zeqiri's pace.
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Zeqiri, who is already a well established Premier A league player, finally ran out the confident winner 11-1 11-6 11-8.
The five entrants in the girls' singles played a round robin event.
Ex-tennis player Holly Fleming brushed aside all opposition, winning her four games without dropping a set, while Kate Brocklesby was the runner up.
In the Cadet singles Tom Fox got off to a storming start, going 2-0 up against Chris Cockburn. The next two games went Cockburn's way but Fox powered through to win the fifth game 11-5.
The Under-13 singles was played as a round robin and Tom Fox won the title without dropping a set, his nearest rival and runner up being Daniel Sadler
With an encouraging number of entries in the Under-11 singles, Oliver Thompson reigned supreme as he breezed to victory over Jordan Carr 11-1 11-5 11-5 without dropping a set along the way.
In the handicap singles, although hampered with a -5 handicap (the next best player having +7) Tony Zeqiri powered his way to the final, despite some very close games along the way against Chris Cockburn, Kate Brocklesby and Holly Fleming.
Alexander Oliver (+8) was his opponent in the final having beaten Darren Hubbard, Sam Rock and Liam Pye in the earlier rounds.
Oliver lost the first game 11-7 but made a great comeback to win the next two sets 11-7 12-10 having produced some excellent smashes in answer to Zeqiri's lobbing tactics.
In the fourth game Oliver found himself up 10-6 and with four match points, having produced some excellent backhand blocks and drives in answer to Zeqiri's fast attacking style.
Unfortunately for Oliver the lead slipped away and Zeqiri sealed the game with a fast backhand loop and some unreturnable serves. His confidence restored, Zeqiri ran out the winner 11-5 in the fifth.
Four county juniors competed in the doubles final. Zeqiri and Oliver enjoyed an untroubled route to the final, whereas Sam Rock and Will Lawes were made to work very hard in their semi-final, just beating Arron Kemp and Darren Hubbard 11-9 in the fifth.
In the first game, the pairs seemed quite evenly matched with some interesting rallies, but unforced errors gave Rock and Lawes the game.
The second game was much closer but some excellent serving from Will ensured a 13-11 win. The game slipped away from Tony and Alex in the third to give Lawes and Rock the doubles title - depriving Tony of a clean sweep in the tournament.
t Results - Boys' singles (Under-18): Tony Zeqiri bt Arron Kemp; Girls' singles (round robin): 1 Holly Fleming, 2 Kate Brocklesby; Cadet singles - Under-15: Tom Fox bt Chris Cockburn; Under-13 (round robin): 1 Tom Fox, 2 Daniel Sadler; Under-11: Oliver Thompson bt Jordan Carr; Handicap singles: Tony Zeqiri (-5) bt Alexander Oliver (8); Doubles: Sam Rock/Will Lawes bt Tony Zeqiri/Alexander Oliver.