Table tennis final an exciting battle
Canterbury junior Alex Wilson, a member of the New Zealand under-19 training squad, claimed the men's singles title at the Marlborough Open Table Tennis Championships on Saturday.
Marlborough player Megan Stratford, a former national junior rep, took out the women's title.
Wilson, the fifth seed, took out the fourth seed and the top seed on his way to the final where he beat Manawatu's Nathan Watson 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8.
Watson started well in the decider, scoring points with powerful loop drives to win the first two sets. Wilson then employed a high-toss serve, varying the spin to upset Watson's rhythm and create openings of his own as he took out the next three sets. In the sixth, Wilson played a tremendous forehand down the line which Watson blocked to the corner of the table to gain the advantage. The deciding set was nip and tuck with Wilson taking an early lead before being pegged back, however the Canterbury player served intelligently in the last few points to claim the win.
Wilson beat his father, Grant, in one semi while Watson, now living in Blenheim, beat Wellington's Tony Rutledge in the other.
Marlborough player Alex Kennedy qualified for the main draw, losing to Rutledge in the quarter finals.
Stratford won the women's decider from another local player, Jacqui Wood, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 3-11, 12-10. In a high-quality match both players attacked strongly with Stratford's ability to block, with her anti-spin rubber, some of Wood's powerful drives making a difference.
Wood claimed the women's doubles crown with her mother Marion, beating Stratford and Nelson's Alanah Op Den Buysch 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10 in the final.
She then combined with local Ping Muanwong for an 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 14-12 win over Stratford and Marlborough's Rob Honour in the mixed doubles final.
Watson and Paul Op Den Buysch beat Grant and Alex Wilson 11-5, 12-10, 7-11, 11-4 in the men's doubles final with the Nelson player's superb backhand returns complementing the power play of Watson.
Watson beat Op Den Buysch in the second grade men's final in straight sets while Wood beat Alanah Op Den Buysch in the women's equivalent. Wood gained a second title when she partnered Warren Haszard to a win over Paul and Alana Op Den Buysch in the mixed doubles final. The second grade women's doubles was taken out by Stratford and Alanah Op Den Buysch while Paul Op Den Buysch and Canterbury's Derek Partridge beat Kennedy and Matt Pigou in an entertaining men's doubles final.
Paul Op Den Buysch won the men's over-40 title, beating Tony Rutledge in one of the best matches of the day. Marion Wood beat Barbara Burkhart in the women's final, but Burkhart teamed with Nelson's Sunny Chan for a win in the mixed doubles.
Nelson's Mark Nalder claimed the over-50 men's singles over Partridge, while Rutledge downed Nalder in the over-60 men's singles decider.
The junior events were held on Sunday with competitors from Christchurch, Wellington and Nelson joining the local players.
Wilson won the under-18 boys singles final against Kennedy, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5, Wilson's top-spin loops kicking off the table.
Kennedy picked up the boys doubles title in partnership with Josh Sim, beating the Nelson combination of Fergus Curry and Paul McCliskie 12-10, 12-10,8-11, 7-11, 11-3.
The under-13 section was played at the same time as the under-18s and produced the match of the day, Marlborough's Rory Osborne beating Wellington's Tomos Christie 5-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 14-12 in a thrilling final.
Osborne gained a second title alongside local player Flynn Ritchie when they beat Marlborough's Gus McAllister and Francis Potts in the boys doubles. Rosie McAllister beat Harmony Astwood 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 in the girls final.
In the under-15 final Christie had his revenge, downing Osborne 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6 to win the singles. Hannah Smit beat fellow Marlburian Vanessa Wood-Lin 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 in the girls final.