Just over 60 years ago Billy Knight, who was then Britain’s number one tennis player, won the Northants County Closed Table Tennis Mens singles title.
However, even he would have been hard pressed to cope with this year’s finalists Przemek Sikorski and Miles Chan.
At the penultimate stage Sikorski had accounted for Alex Ramsden in three close games while Chan had few problems with John Fuller’s usually immaculate defence.
Earlier it was 13-year-old Ramsden’s quarter-final success against 13-time winner Andy Trott that provided then highlight of the first day’s play.
Trott twice took the lead only for a determined Ramsden to level at two games all.
In the decider both players reached peak form in the early stages but Ramsden’s penetrating attack gave him an 8-6 lead.
Trott recovered to draw level but after the duo had traded match points, Ramsden’s positive approach won the day 13-11.
The final between Sikorski and Chan produced another scintillating battle with the former taking the first end 14-12 but Chan’s accurate attack enabling him to go in front by two games to one.
Sikorski levelled at two all but Chan took an early lead in the fifth.
Sikorski gained ground to trail 9-7 but it was destined to be Chan’s trophy, to go with the one he won three years ago.
In the ladies event Nicole Bird’s hard work during the year paid off when she easily reversed last year’s final defeat at the hands of three-time winner Jordan Wood.
The finalists had earlier joined forces to take the women’s doubles but Bird missed out in the mixed event when she and her father Kevin were beaten in straight games by Richard Elliott and Clem Little.
Earlier Little had held on to the Veteran Singles and has now won 13 of the 18 finals she has contested.
When the first finals night was held 21 years ago Elliott and Trott won the men’s doubles.
On this occasion they were on opposing sides with holders Trott and Brian Harradine retaining the title.
Harradine is fast becoming a doubles specialist. Last year he won three titles and he repeared the feat this time as Trott also partnered him in the Over-40s event while his partner in the Over-50s success was Brian Wooding who won his first County title.
As anticipated Chan and Nicole Bird made certain of the under-18 crowns with Ramsden and Sidney Wright joining them to add the respective doubles.
However there was a surprise in the under-15s singles when Ben Tombs claimed a fifth-end verdict against Ramsden.
Additionally Tombs demonstrated his doubles expertise when he and Aaron Ark won the Band One Doubles against Michael Edwards and Ray Kingston.
When the senior pair met in the Over-60 Singles Edwards reversed last season’s verdict to take the main honours.
The Rod Marchant Memorial Trophy for 18 to 21 year olds produced its usual high standard with Aaron Moore’s well-crafted wins against Sam Wildman and Jordan Wood giving the Corby player a deserved victory.
Corby’s second success came in the Band 1 Singles when Chris Haynes, making his first appearance, took the final point of the second day’s play to edge out Aaron Ark 11-9 in the fifth after a spectacular encounter.
Ian Baldock returned for his first competitive appearance since 1991 ansd celebrated with wins in the Band 3 and Band 4 Singles while a progressive Guy Sparrow took care of Band 2 in five close ends against Ivor Jones.
Sparrow was also the only player to eliminate a seeded player when he ousted Richard Bashford at the group stage.
A talented quartet of youngsters dominated the girls’ events with Abigail Pearce and Rebecca Kimber generally too strong for Evie Elliott and Lana Orbell.
In the corresponding boys’ events, Patryk Polanski, William Shepherd, Ethan Ali and Cameron Elliott all impressed.
Northants County Closed Tournament
Quarter-finals: Alex Ramsden bt Andy Trott 5-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11; Przemek Sikorski bt Gary Webb 9-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-5; Miles Chan bt Andreas Mueringer 11-6, 11-6, 11-5; John Fuller bt Kevin Bird 11-3, 11-9, 11-3.
Semi-finals: Przemek Sikorski bt Alex Ramsden 11-9, 11-7, 11-9; Miles Chan bt John Fuller 11-4, 11-2, 11-4.
Final: Miles Chan bt Przemek Sikorski 12-14, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8.
Semi-finals: Jordan Wood bt Clem Little 13-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7; Nicole Bird bt Sue Moloney 12-10, 11-5, 11-2.
Final: Nicole Bird bt Jordan Wood 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.
Semi-finals: Brian Harradine/Andy Trott bt Andreas Mueringer/Sam Wildman 11-2, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6; Richard Elliott/Gary Webb bt Scott Dixon/Brian Wooding 11-4, 11-8, 11-6.
Final: Brain Harradine/Andy Trott bt Richard Elliott/Gary Webb 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5.
Semi-finals: Nicole Bird/Jordan Wood bt Bethany Tyler/Rebecca Tyler 11-3, 11-4, 11-8; Clem Little/Sue Moloney bt Lauren Ainsworth/Sidney Wright 11-3, 11-7, 11-9.
Final: Nicole Bird/Jordan Wood bt Clem Little/Sue Moloney 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.
Richard Elliott/Clem Little by Kevin Bird/Nicole Bird 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.
Boys Under-18 Singles
Miles Chan bt Alex Ramsden 11-9, 11-8, 11-8.
Girls Under-18 Singles
Nicole Bird bt Lauren Ainsworth 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.
Boys Under-18 Doubles
Miles Chan/Alex Ramsden bt Aiden Smmith/Ben Tombs 11-4, 11-8, 11-4.
Girls Under-18 Doubles
Nicole Bird/Sidney Wright bt Lauren Ainsworth/Rebecca Tyler 11-3, 11-9, 11-6.
Rod Marchant Memorial Trophy 18-21 Singles
Aaron Moore bt Jordan Wood 8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-5.
Mens Over-40 Singles
Andy Trott bt Gary Webb 11-6, 11-4, 11-8.
Womens Over-40 Singles
Clem Little bt Sue Moloney 12-10, 11-6, 11-6.
John Fuller bt Gary Webb 11-8, 13-15, 11-6, 11-4.
Michael Edwards bt Ray Kingston 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5.
Brian Harradine/Andy Trott bt Richard Elliott/Gary Webb 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4.
Brian Harradine/Brian Wooding bt John Fuller/Gerald Henson 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.
Ray Kingston/Michael Edwards bt Tom Cardwell/Alan Tyler 11-6, 11-3, 11-6.
Band One Singles
Chris Haynes bt Aaron Ark 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 5-11, 9-11.
Band Two Singles
Guy Sparrow bt Ivor Jones 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5.
Band Three Singles
Ian Baldock bt Sue Moloney 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.
Band Four Singles
Ian Baldock bt Glenn Morris 11-3, 11-8, 11-5.
Band One Doubles
Aaron Ark/Ben Tombs bt Michael Edwards/Ray Kingston 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8.
Boys Under-15 Singles
Ben Tombs bt Alex Ramsden 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9.
Girls Under-15 Singles
Rebecca Kimber bt Abigail Pearce 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9.
Boys Under-15 Doubles
Patryk Polanski/William Shepherd bt Cameron Elliott/Ben Toms 14-16, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.
Girls Under-15 Doubles
Rebecca Kimber/Abigail Pearce bt Evie Elliott/Lana Orbell 11-5, 11-4, 11-9.
Boys Under-13 Singles
Alex Ramsden bt William Shepherd 12-10, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4.
Girls Under-13 Singles
Abigail Pearce bt Rebecca Kimber 4-11, 15-13, 11-4, 11-7.
Open Under-13 Doubles
Alex Ramsden/William Shepherd bt Cameron Elliott/Ethan Ali 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 14-12.
Girls Under-11 Singles
Abigail Pearce bt Evie Elliott 11-7, 11-7, 11-4.
Junior Banded Singles
Ethan Ali bt Patryk Polanski 3-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8.