Feb 3 2012 Perthshire Advertiser Friday
SIX junior players from the Gannochy Trust Performance Squad played in the recent West of Scotland Open Tournament and all performed well with, four reaching the semi final stage of the various competitions.
In the Boys U15 quarter final Jason Fleming faced Yaser Razouk, Scottish No 2 ranked player, and as he has done in their last two encounters Jason powered his way through Yaser, taking the game 3–1. Karl Frey had no problem in despatching Jamie Crawley, Glasgow, who couldn’t match Karl’s spin and speed.
The first semi-final was a classic if ever there was. Karl faced Jac Jenkins, son of Ryan Jenkins, 10 times Welsh National Champion. Karl took the first set with some ease but with Jac’s dad there as support for his son there was a change of tactics from Jac and the second set produced some of the days best table tennis.
It was a gripping match and the large crowd were loving it. In the end Karl just edged it 17–15.
The third set was also close with both boys playing spectacular forehand winners following long rallies. Karl held match point at 10–9 but an unforced error on the backhand kept Jac in the game and he went on to take the third 12–10. Jac took the fourth 11–8. In the final set it was Karl who dominated most of the game leading 8–6 and 9–8 before once again allowing Jac to level at nine all with a weak backhand error. The Welsh star rose to the occasion winning the next two points to win the match to thunderous applause for both players.
Jason played British Champion Chris Wheeler in the other semi final going down 3–0. Chris won the event beating Jac 3–0 in the final.
In the Minor Girls U13 Kinross TTC starlet Hannah Robb, playing in her first major tournament, continues to catch the eye. At the group stage she had a very good win over Rebecca Melrose, Ayrshire, 3–0. Against Scottish schools internationalist Imogen Evans, Edinburgh, Hannah showed that she is closing in on the top players fast. Imogen took the first set 11–8. Hannah steadied her nerves and won the second to six. Imogen restored her advantage with a close 13–11 win only for Hannah to come back again taking the fourth set 11–5. In the fifth Hannah played really well to go 10–7 up. But Imogen’s experience counted in the end as she saved three match points before clinching the win 12–10.
In the quarter final Hannah continued her good play progressing to the semi final with a win over current primary schools internationalist Jennie Yang, 11–5, 11–7, 8–11, 13–11.
In the semi final Hannah faced the older and much more experienced Emma Rhind, Glasgow. Hannah took the first end 11–9 and just missed out on going two up losing 11–9 in the second. Emma had to work hard to take the next two sets eight and eight. Nadia Doherty, also Glasgow, won the final 3–0.
In the Girls U15s Fiona Scott and Bethany Payne met in the quarters and it would be Fiona who progressed to the semi’s.
The semi final went with the seedings with Scottish No2 Rachel Crawford beating Fiona No3, 3–0. The final was won by Scottish No1, Lucy Elliott 3–0.
In the Women’s Open Singles Perth’s fair maids Corinna Whitaker and Gillian Edwards met in the quarter final. Gillian won the day and produced a spirited fight in the semi final losing in five to seven times Welsh National Champion Naomi Owen. Naomi became West Champion with a 3–0 win over Aureline Bernadet, France, in the final.
With five semi finalists in four different events Perth can rightly claim to be a major force in Scottish table tennis.
Senior players please note that the Perth Closed continue on Wednesday with the Men’s Doubles and Veterans events at the Letham Centre with a 7pm start.
League games for the two weeks of the Closed will be played during the weeks April 2 and 9.