Su West and Steve Foster were simply sensational in taking five titles between them at the Bournemouth and District TTA finals night held at the Winton YMCA on Friday the 26th of February.
Played in front of a spellbound and capacity audience, the Women’s Singles final between Sanja Clements (reigning English National Veterans Champion) and Su West was one of the best ever in the Associations 86 year history! Sanja started the match as the hot favourite to take the title over the much less experienced Su West, with both these ladies possessing unique playing styles. Sanja who plays for the Merton Club in the Premier division is a pen hold player with a devastating forehand smash, combined with exceptional blocking skills. This contrasts to Su from the well-known Bournemouth Sports club who also competes in the Premier and is a leftie that plays with aggressive punching interspersed with occasional chopping and short dead blocking on her long pimpled backhand side, with opportunist hard hitting on her forehand wing. The four set final was a great advertisement for women’s table tennis that had it all with absolute brilliance from both players in their artistry and shot making skills. The entire crowd were in awe of a match that had brilliant rallies, great movement to the ball with clever serves and deft returns and a pendulum of power that swung one way then the other. Su has developed into an extremely difficult player to play against, with her incomparable style, and in her very short 3 year table tennis career is now a force to be reckoned with. She took the first two sets against Sanja and you could see that the England Champion was on the ropes and put under extreme pressure right from the start. Sanja worked hard to take the third set to get back into the final, but Su just got better and better and ran out a worthy Bournemouth Ladies title winner with a superb 3-1 scoreline.
Su teamed up with Shu Q Ziang to make it a double bubble on the night by taking the women’s doubles title over finalists Sanja Clements and Magda Charkot in an excellent five set final.
Eighteen year old Steve Foster that also hails from the Bournemouth Sports Club and yet another prodigy of head coach Rowden Fullen, was the star of the show in completing a brilliant hat trick of results in taking all the Men’s main three titles.
The premier division final between Mark Butler (ranked 104 in England) and Steve Foster (over 300 places lower in ETTA Men’s rankings) was on paper a stroll in the park for the ultra experienced Butler. However as we saw earlier in the evening in the women’s singles, it’s all about what happens on the night, and the progression made by the younger players. Right from the start Steve was totally in the zone and was eager to impress the audience. Belying his much lower ranking status and experience over his opponent, Steve always looked the stronger in the many awesome topspin rallies and weathered the storm of backhand bullets and tough spin serves Butler continued to deliver. The match was a dream for any neutral supporter and inevitably went to a fifth set. Foster took an early lead by the end turn, and despite a determined and sustained challenge by Butler, Steve took the title and the final set 11-9, punching the air with sheer delight.
Steve enjoyed a glory night to savour with a trio of titles that also included the Bournemouth Closed, beating brave finalist Su West, and then completed his perfect performance by giving a 9 point start up to 31 in the Handicap final against Danny Allen.
Golden oldie, Danny Allen, who seems to have been around forever with his Barna hardbat and old school style of simply staying up at the table and hard hitting from all angles and on both wings, was also another star of the show, competing in no less than five finals, absolutely brilliant (sign him up Barry Hearn!). Septuagenarian Allen, an ultra tough competitor yet a consummate gentleman won two of his five finals that he competed in, winning the over 50’s and the newly formed over 70’s event (we must all be living longer!)
Losing finalist’s in the main events Sanja Clements and Mark Butler took some consolation by winning the mixed doubles, beating Su West and Steve Foster in straight sets.
It was also a pleasure for the viewing audience to witness the rare treat of a men’s doubles team that was made up of a wheelchair player (Shaun Newcomb) and his able bodied partner, Brian Vibert who were the devastating destroyers on the night taking the title at the expense of losing finalists Phil Beeden and Danny Allen.
Ten year old mini marvel, Hugo Pang (who is competing in the Safirs-Stockholm ITTF Hopes under 12 event this weekend) had earlier won the U15’s and U18’s events beating Saul Harris in both finals staged the previous weekend.
It was a night of top quality table tennis throughout all the matches played and was possibly the best finals night staged for many years. Tournament secretary Ian Robertson put on a magnificent show working tirelessly throughout the two week festival of evening knock out rounds of events culminating in a sensational finals night.
Results as follows:
Steve Foster (BmSports) bt. Mark Butler (Merton) 11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9
Su West (BmSports) bt. Sanja Clements (Merton) 11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 11-8
Closed Mixed Singles
Steve Foster bt. Su West 11-2, 11-5, 11-5
Steve Foster bt. Danny Allen (Merton) 31-18, 31-25
Brian Vibert/Shaun Newcomb (New Milton) bt. Danny Allen/Phil Beeden (Merton) 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6
Su West/Shu Q Ziang (BmSports) bt. Sanja Clements/Magda Charkot (BmSports) 11-6, 1-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7
Mark Butler/Sanja Clements bt. Steve Foster/Su West 11-9, 11-6, 11-4
Louie La (BmSports) bt. Patrick Hurley (Merton) 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6
Jon Ferguson (Merton) bt. Phil Hadley (Lynwood) 11-8, 11-6, 11-3
Gerard Redman (New Milton) bt. Rob Searle (Merton) 11-3, 11-7, 11-6
Paul Nelson (Merton) bt. Peter Richardson (BmSports) 11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5
David Roberts (BmSports) bt. Tom Martin (BmSports) 13-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9
David Roberts bt. Seth Hemingway (BmSports) 7-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-3
Hugo Pang (BmSports) bt. Saul Harris (BmSports) 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7
Hugo Pang bt. Saul Harris 14-12, 11-5, 11-6
Louie La bt. Danny Allen 11-2, 13-11, 14-12
Danny Allen bt. Ken Parradine (BmSports) 11-8, 11-4, 11-9
Ken Parradine bt. Geoff Ware (Bransgore) 15-13, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8
Danny Allen bt. George Roberts (Merton) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6