MAGUIRE & FAZLIC TAKE TOP HONORS AT DAVID LLOYD OPEN
David Lloyd Club Belfast was the venue for the latest Irish Senior Ranking event last Saturday sponsored by McDonalds Dundonald and Drew Wylie Building Services.
Irish #1 Gavin Maguire showed his class by winning the Men’s Singles event without dropping a set. He was given a tough test in the 1/4 Finals by 13-year-old Ormeau star James Skelton and then defeated top Ormeau Veteran Daryl Strong in the Semis. The final against Dubliner Sam Logue was a high quality match with some outstanding rallies, however Gavin was just too good on the day.
The Ladies Singles was won by top German Junior Sejla Fazlic who has recently moved to Dublin. Sejla produced some brilliant attacking shots with her Short Pimpled Forehand and only dropped one set on her way to victory. Runner Up was 11 year old Ormeau starlet Sophie Earley who has just returned from the Euro Minis with an unbelievable 5th place finish. Sophie will learn a lot from playing someone with the quality of Sejla and come back even stronger as always. Third place went to Pravesha Ragi from PingZone in Dublin.
The Class 2 event (any player not ranked in top 20 in Ireland) was the most competitive of all the categories with some brilliant matches in the group stages. A special mention must go to Ormeau stars Joel Smith and Sophie Earley who provided a spectacular match enjoyed by the big crowd. Joel won 3/1 in a breath-taking fashion and the quality of some of the rallies were just jaw dropping! The winner of the Class 2 event was Irish Cadet James Skelton who recently gave up Tennis to concentrate on Table Tennis. His biggest quality is his ice cool temperament and he needed to be calm in the final against club mate Phil Jamison. The first set could have gone either way with both players having game points until James sneaked it 15/13. James then relaxed and played a superb controlled game to win 3/0.
The Masters event was a high-quality competition as always. The standard in Ulster Table Tennis in the over 40 year old category is incredible with Daryl Strong and Phil Wallace the top 2 ranked players. Daryl (Ormeau) won this event but did not have it all his own way by any means. Pawel Sulkoski (Ballymoney) gave Daryl a real fright in the 1/4s and he then defeated Mark McAllister (Omagh) in the Semis. Brian Devereux (Wexford) who had beaten Phil Wallace (Ormeau) in the other Semi was Daryl’s opponent in the final. Brian led 2/1 in sets and it has to be said that Daryl looked a beaten man! However his new training regime at the David Lloyd gym kicked in and he produced a spirited fightback to win the match 3/2. Daryl is the current #1 over 40 year old player in Britain after his recent success in the UK Singles in Guernsey and he deserves all the plaudits that go with it.
Tournament co-ordinators Gervis Knox and Allen Robson would like to thank all the clubs, players and parents who supported their event. Huge effort was put into the tournament this year and is growing from year to year!
Click here to see results from the mens singles event
Report by Allen Robson