Gary takes 14th King’s Lynn Open table tennis title in top seeds battle

Gary Hewitt unbeaten and first to defeat Ben Avery this year.
Gary Hewitt unbeaten and first to defeat Ben Avery this year.
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The 2017 King’s Lynn & District Table Tennis Championships took place last weekend at Lynnsport.

The main event ‘The Open’ took place on Sunday.

Gary Hewitt beat top seed Wayne Mason to take his 14th title and become the ‘Phil Taylor’ of Lynn Table Tennis!

The first stage was in groups of four with the top two from each going through to a straight knockout and the third and fourth spots going into a consolation singles called ‘The Plate’.

There were a few surprises within the group games but all the seeds managed to get through which made for some exciting first rounds in the knock-out stages. The Quarter-Finals saw Mason defeat Richard Johnson in a close match. Number 5 seed Karl Brown beat Brett Heppenstall in another very close game to take on Mason.

In the other half of the group Dale Parnell lost to Owen Turner in another close five-ended game. No.2 seed Hewitt beat best friend Martyn Allen, showing his fitness to take on Turner.

In the semis, in an attacking game to watch, Mason’s experience showed over the younger Brown. The other semi was much of the same, and once again the experience of Hewitt shone through, thus setting up a No.1 v No.2 seed clash in the final.

Mason versus Hewitt, the final game of the weekend, didn’t disappoint. With Hewitt beating Mason in the league the week before he seemed to have the upper hand.

Hewitt didn’t allow Mason to get going at all and took the match 11-5, 11-9, 11-7.

The Ladies Singles was played in a round-robin event and with Karen Hubble winning all of her games she was declared the winner. Runner-up was Kerry Smith who only lost out to Karen.

The Mens Doubles as predicted in last week’s paper was wide open. No.1 seeds Wayne Mason/Dale Parnell beat No.4 seeds Ross Brown/Brett Heppenstall. The second Semi saw No.3 seeds Karl Brown/Richard Johnson defeat Gary Hewitt/John Blyth, both being attacking games. My tip for the title Mason/Parnell came through winners 11-9, 13-11, 11-7.

The Mixed Doubles had a number of entries and the final took place between Karen Hubble/John Blyth and Mavis Hughes/Owen Turner. This could have gone either way but Hubble/Blyth came out on top 13-11, 11-7, 14-12.

The Ladies Doubles Final was between Carol Parker/Kerry Smith and Christine Woolley/Hubble, the Parker/Smith combination were too strong and came out 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 winners.

The Plate singles was fiercely contested with the third and fourth placed players from the Open going into this as a consolation event. In the first Semi-Final Craig Pack’s attacking play was too much for Alan Jones’ defending and the second semi saw Phil Brown make light work of Danny Vertigan.

In a super Final, with Craig’s unorthodox hitting and Phil’s blocking, Craig took the title 11-7, 5-11, 16-18, 15-13, 14-12.

The Division One title was played on Saturday in groups of four with the top two going through in each. Top seed Danny Vertigan survived a scare, losing to Jack Mason but still qualified in second position. No.2 seed Graham Shepard made light work of his group and qualified with ease. Vertigan made easy work of Shepard to reach the final; while of the unseeded players Jack Mason and Paul Reed, Jack set up a re-match with Vertigan in the Final. Vertigan finally came through 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 to take the title.

The Veterans Singles was also hotly contested, however the top four seeds reached the semi-finals. Number one seed Gary Hewitt was against No.4 Owen Turner, who had no answer to his blocking and angled shots, in the other semi-final No.3 seed Keith Phillips won the first two ends but No.2 Martyn Allen took the next three. Gary (my tip) was in fine form all afternoon and won the title 11-4, 11-6, 11-6.

The first stage of the Over 50s on Saturday afternoon was played in groups with the top two from each going through to the knockout rounds. No.1 seed Keith Phillips made light work of his group but then lost to Steve Mason in the Quarters. Derek Kiddle (No.5) knocked out John Blyth to meet in-form Steve, who made it through to the final.

In the bottom half of the draw Alan Jones knocked out No.4 seed Martin Skipper to meet Alan Nicholls (my tip) in the other Semi: Nicholls made it look easy and progressed to the final, where Alan took the game to Steve and won the title 11-5, 11-6, 11-9.

The Over 60s was a repeat of the Over 50s semi between Nicholls and Jones, Nicholls once again proving too strong winning 11-2, 11-7, 11-5.

The Junior singles is always hotly contested and it was the top two juniors that play in the Premier League who made it through to the final, Ross Brown’s attacking prowess was too much for Aaron Howell and he ran away with a 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 win.

The Junior Doubles Final was contested between Ross Brown/Colney Vertigan and Aaron Howell/Archie Rayner, the Howell/Rayner pairing proving too strong 11-9, 11-4, 11-5.

The Cadet Singles was played out in a round robin format and with Archie Rayner winning all his games he was declared the winner. Finlay Hewson was runner-up losing only to Archie.

In the Under-12 Final, Colney Vertigan proved too strong for Jake Horn, to win his first-ever trophy.

The Ernie Mastin event is a handicapped event, run over one game up to 42. The youngsters get a chance to play against the top Premier Leaguers and they didn’t disappoint. One game to note was 11 year-old Colney Vertigan against the Over 50s and 60s winner Alan Nicholls, Colney having a 30 point headstart, Alan eventually won 42-41.

Junior of the day was Finley Hewson who beat two senior players on the way to the final. In the other half of the draw Premier League player Dale Parnell made the final with ease. Dale had to give Finlay a 24 head start but with Finlay playing all day he was running out of steam and Dale took the win 42-37.

The Parker Doubles was ran the same as the Ernie Mastin. Once again, lots of close games. The Final was between Jack Mason/Peter Pegg and youngsters Finlay Hewson/Benjamin Richardson. The Mason/Pegg partnership were on form all day and with the youngsters playing in the junior events in the morning and starting to tire the experienced duo took the win 42-37.

l On behalf of all committee members, players and spectators a big thank you to Graham Rogerson for organising the whole weekend; Ray Drew for scoring; trophy presenters, KLTT chairman John Blyth and the late John Pringle’s partner Elaine Davies; and all the helpers.