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Hannah the Comeback Queen.

Bournemouth Sports Table Tennis Club

27th January

The late and great Richard Bergmann, winner of seven world championships, was probably the greatest defensive player of any era. However, one of the most memorable aspects of his play was the vast number of occasions when he was out of the game and beaten, yet still managed to come back and win!

He would have been proud of a young 17 year old girl from Hampshire, Hannah Hicks, who seems to be acquiring an even more frightening reputation and this in games only up to eleven. In last weekend’s Soderspelen Grand Prix held on 24th and 25th January 2009, in Boros, near Gothenburg, Hannah was a revelation and hailed the comeback queen.

The Swedes have probably never heard of “it’s not over until the fat lady sings” but some of the comments over Hicks’ play plainly indicate the depth of their feelings. “If you are behind 5-8, you have a chance, but if you’re winning 7-3, or 8-2, then it’s over and you have lost. All you can do is pray for a couple of lucky balls and even they have to be ‘good lucky balls’.”

Matt Haynes shines at Salisbury Grand Prix

Bournemouth Sports Table Tennis Club

The first ever Salisbury Open, a Butterfly Grand Prix event got under way on Saturday 14th February at the 18 table venue of the Five Rivers Leisure Centre in the city centre, with the many Men’s and Women’s banded events.

Hannah Hicks, the Butterfly Grand Prix point’s leader continued her winning ways in the Women’s band 1 event, by narrowly getting the better of Guernsey’s 14 year old hotshot Alice Loveridge in a spectacular display of defence versus attacking play. The five set final was a joy to witness with both these young ladies going for broke on every rally, treating the audience to some superb rallies. Hicks once again demonstrated sheer guts and determination to thwart the continued and aggressive challenge from Loveridge coming back from a 1-2 games deficit, then going right to the wire in an entertaining and enthralling match, coming through 11-9 in the fifth end. Hicks had her work cut out in the earlier rounds against Stephanie Donnelly and then Melissa Wright, whilst Loveridge had to work hard for her four set wins over Michelle Cohen and Sanja Clements to take her place in the final with Hicks.

Hugo Wins in Horsham

Bournemouth Sports Table Tennis Club

On Saturday 28th February the first Horsham One Star Junior Tournament took place at the club's base in Greenway School, Horsham. The event was very successful, with a total of 53 players playing in 6 events, with 12 players in each event. A further 3 players pulled out, but were replaced by late entries, which had originally been rejected.

The under 11s was won by Hugo Pang of Dorset, who beat Joss Hole (Arundel) in the final. Again Hugo did not lose a set in winning the title. The no. 1 seed for both u11s and u12s Peumal Thilakaratne did not turn up, which made things easier for Hugo. Horsham player James Arnold filled in for him in the u11s and Joss Hole did so in the u12s. Hugo did not have it all his own way in the u12s though. He had a good 3 set win over higher ranked Tony Steel (Pavilion TTC) in the group and then beat Matthew Fields (La) 3-1 in the semis to set up an encounter with Daniel Lawrence (K) in the final. Daniel had had good wins over Richard White (Ha) and Tony Steel to reach the final. The final was a very competitive match, with Daniel coming through 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6. George Heath (Sy) was the victor in the u13s. He justified his top seeding position, beating Matthew Fields 12-10, 9-11, 9-11,11-8, 11-4 in the semis and then defeating Tony Steel 3-1 in the final.