For the first time in 15 years, Southend Table Tennis League held a “Finals Night” at the Hullbridge Sports Association Club; hosted by Hullbridge Secretary, Jayne Johnson.
The first matches were the Semi-Finals of the Invitation Junior Under 18s. All 4 juniors were members of the successful National League team that won Division 2 undefeated. In the first match No. 1 Seed Sam Langton faced joint No. 3 Seed Sam Chesher and ran out winner in a very closely fought 5 setter. In the other Semi Final, No. 2 Seed Owen Warren had an equally close encounter, with joint No 3 Seed Leon Smart, also winning in 5.
The Men’s Semi Finals followed. The first on, saw the return, after a sabbatical of 6 years, of Cris Sladden, former England No. 8 and 7 times winner of the Southend Closed. His opponent was the leading defender Duncan Taylor. Duncan started brightly, winning the first set 11-9, thereafter, Cris showed his enormous class winning the next 3 sets, 11-3, 11-5, 11-3. In the other Semi Final Stuart Gibbs upstaged his team mate, Kevin Caldon winning in 4 sets.
The Junior Final saw a comfortable 4 set victory for Owen Warren over Sam Langton.
The Ladies Doubles Final was next and this saw the experienced Linda Attridge, partnered by former Essex junior, Mel Jones, prove too good for the mother and daughter pairing of Pam Swan and Sarah Mapes, winning 3 straight.
The last game before the interval was the Men’s Doubles Final. Where favourites Kevin Caldon and Dave Bowles, were destroyed by the fire power of Duncan Taylor, who hit a steam of forehand winners. With his partner, Kevin Read, happy to keep the rallies moving, they ran out 3 straight victors.
The Vet’s Singles Final saw the best match of the evening, with the meeting of leading Essex Vets, Kevin Caldon & Terry Guymer. An intriguing match going all the way to 10 all in the fifth, before Terry just edged it.
The Ladies Singles Final followed and as in the Doubles Final, Linda Attridge proved too strong in this event, beating Sarah Mapes in 3 sets.
Finally, the Men’s Final showed just how good Cris Sladden is. After a layoff for 6 years and playing only 4 matches before the Championships, Cris showed his full repertoire of shots in a stunning 3 straight victory over the superb Stuart Gibbs to take his 8th successive Men’s Singles Title: as Stuart said after the match “Cris is just a different class”.
Full list of Results attached
3rd March 2009