Top players from league come together at Lynnsport
This weekend sees the annual Lynn and District Table Tennis Championships take place at Lynnsport, writes Danny Vertigan.
The event sees all the top players from the league come together to see who will be the 2019 open champion.
Last year’s winner Wayne Mason is a strong contender and will be the one to beat.
He is currently the only unbeaten player in the Premier League and will be hoping to defend his title.
A massive opportunity has opened up to see who will challenge with multi-time champion Gary Hewitt not able to enter due to injury.
Serafim Melo will be there or thereabouts and is having a great season.
Melo’s teammate Paul Barrett will also be in the mix after coming on strong at the right time of the year.
Former winner Martyn Allen could also be a spoiler if fully fit and Mason’s teammate Dale Parnell could also have a good run if he’s on form.
Last but by no means least is the experienced Keith Phillips whose defensive style of play could also put him in with a shout.
The main contenders in the men’s doubles must be the partnership of Wayne Mason/Chuck Hewitt. However, I’m pretty sure the Steve Mason/Derek Kiddle and Serafim Melo/Paul Barrett pairings will have a point to prove.
The ladies singles seems pretty straightforward as only a minor field has entered.
Kerry Smith looks to be the favourite for this with Carol Parker being her main rival.
I can’t see beyond last year’s winners of John Blyth and Karen Hubble in the mixed doubles.
The Division One title is wide open this year.
Last year’s winner Graham Keeley and the 2017 winner Danny Vertigan will both be wanting to regain the title once again, while last year’s runner-up Mike Cooper will be wanting to go one better.
At the time of going to press, other contenders could well be the experienced Trevor Mason, who has only dropped one game this season, and the Kiddle brothers Sam and Joe, who have both hit a bit of form just lately.
If you put Ashley Vertigan in the mix this is actually a strong competition to win.
The veterans’ singles has a pretty strong line-up and anyone from Keith Phillips, Steve Mason, Derek Kiddle, Martyn Allen, Owen Turner and Paul Barrett could have a chance of taking this title.
My prediction, depending on the seedings, is a Keith Phillips v Derek Kiddle showdown in the final.
The over 50s and 60s have a smaller entry than normal, but with Phillips and Kiddle also eligible for these events, I feel the same two players may dominate proceedings, although Kiddle’s team mate Mike Crowson could become a spoiler.
Archie Rayner is back to defend the junior singles title that he won last year.
Looking at the participants, I can’t see anyone getting near him unless Finlay Hewson throws his hat into the ring, which could then make this a little bit more exciting.
The cadet singles looks to be wide open with the likes of Colney Vertigan, Adriano Domingo and Freddie Reed all looking to take the title.
But if Max Smith makes a late appearance he will be the one to beat.
The junior doubles favourites have to be the Archie Rayner/Finlay Hewson pairing with the Colney Vertigan/Max Smith and Adriano Domingo/Freddie Reed pairings expected to fight it out for the runners-up spot.
Also on the Saturday the handicap singles and doubles will be contested, where the top players have to give the lower players a head start.
This always makes for an entertaining spectacle and sometimes pits the top players against the younger ones.