Day to remember for Fuller at Closed Tournament

John Fuller claimed three titles on a busy day of action at the Kettering & District Table Tennis League's annual Closed Tournament. Pictures by Alison Bagley
John Fuller claimed three titles on a busy day of action at the Kettering & District Table Tennis League's annual Closed Tournament. Pictures by Alison Bagley

The annual Kettering & District Table Tennis League Closed Tournament turned out to be a memorable day for John Fuller.

He became the first player to take the Men’s Singles title, the Over-40s title and the over-50s title in the same year, with Steve Silk being his unfortunate opponent in all three finals.

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Dawid Przybysz'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162414001

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Dawid Przybysz'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162414001

There were no shocks to be had in the early stages of the main event with every seeded player successfully qualifying out of thier group.

The top eight seeds all made it through the first knockout stage but, in the quarter-finals, Richard Elliott (4) fell to Brian Wooding (6) and Kevin Bird (3) lost to Dawid Przybysz (7) in classic five-end matches.

Przybysz lost to the top seed Silk in the semi final while Fuller (2) ended Wooding’s run.

The final was highly anticipated with Silk having only recently won the Northants Veterans Top 12 event, with Fuller finishing as runner-up.

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Alex Aston'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162301001

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Alex Aston'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162301001

This time though it was Fuller who took top spot on the podium as he displayed his best form to win a one-sided final 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 to claim the title for the third time.

It was a similar story in the Over-40s event with the top four seeds all making their way through to the semi finals.

Silk (1) defeated Bird (3) and Fuller (2) saw off Elliott (4) to set up a repeat of the Men’s final and again Fuller coasted to victory (11-6, 11-5, 11-3) to claim his fifth Over 40 crown.

In the Over-50s event Silk and Fuller again progressed to the final but this one proved to be the kind of match that the spectators had expected.

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Helen Watts'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162220001

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Helen Watts'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162220001

Silk opened up a 2-0 lead only for Fuller to fight back to take the next three games to complete a clean sweep of singles titles. This was also the fifth time that Fuller had won the Over-50 title.

With just four women entered into the ladies singles, the event was played on a round robin basis.

Nicole Bird went into it as the hot favourite on the back of her recent successes nationally and just about lived up to her star billing as she took the title for a third time.

However she was pushed close, recovering from 2-1 down to beat Lauren Ainsworth 11-9 in the decider and also being taken to four ends by Helen Watts.

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Gerald Henson'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162436001

Table Tennis :Wellingborough: Kettering and District Table Tennis League 'Gerald Henson'Saturday March 8th 2014 NNL-140803-162436001

Silk had better success in the finals of the doubles event than he did in the corresponding singles events.

In partnership with Nigel Metcalfe, he became a three-time Men’s Doubles champion with a 3-1 win over tAndy Harrison and Matt Rushton.

In the Over-50s doubles, Silk teamed up with Mick Allsopp to defeat Fuller and Gerald Henson and avenge their defeat to the same opponents in last year’s final.

In the Over-40s Doubles, Silk looked like taking his own clean sweep of titles.

Teamed up again with Nigel Metcalfe, they led the team of Elliott and Allsopp 2-0 only for last year’s champions to turn the match on it’s head to win 9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4.

Silk was to lose yet another final when he teamed up with Helen Watts in the Mixed Doubles event as the duo of Nicole Bird and Wooding were too strong and won in four ends.

Bird also added the Ladies Doubles crown to her growing collection when, partnered with Watts, they defeated the Rothborough pair of Ainsworth and Cathy Fleming.

Bird went on to make it five titles for the day as she beat Ross Campbell 3-0 in the Under-18s Singles and she also added the Doubles at the same level when she and her partner Tom Wildman saw off Kyle Murie and Nathan Brown by a 3-0 scoreline.

Veteran Michael Edwards was crowned the Over-60s champion at the Closed Tournament.

Sam Wildman took the Under-30 title when he defeated Kyle Murie 3-0, who was to finish as runner-up in four seperate events.

Following a change of rules that now allows previous winners to enter the 30-40 age group event, Henry Arthur became the first person to win the title twice following his success in 2006.

In a close final against his team captain Chris Haynes, Arthur prevailed 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10.

Dan Bottrill took the Under-16 Singles and Doubles titles, seeing off Jess Sturdy 3-0 in the former before partnering Nathan Brown to success over Sturdy and Matt Billington.

Rob Warrander produced a fantastic run of results to take the Class 1 Restricted title as the number seven seed beat Gerald Henson 3-0 in the final.

The Class 2 Restricted Singles was won by Tom Ravenscroft as he defeated Lauren Ainsworth 3-0.

Richard Elliott won the Hardbat title for the fourth time, seeing off Wildman in the final.

Nigel Metcalfe claimed his second title of the day when he won the Mystery Doubles title with David Simmons.

Ian Baldock (scr) beat Dan Bottrill (+10) 21-17, 21-19 to take the Division Two Handicap event while the Division One version was won by Mike Brocklebank (+3) with a close 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 success over the luckless Murie (+5).

The final match of the day was the Premier Division Handicap final which saw Arthur (+8) defeat a very tired Metcalfe (+6) 21-11, 21-14.

With 19 different winners from the 23 events, the day can be considered great success and a special mention must be given to Phil Slade, Mike Wildmane, Dennis Millman and the team of volunteers from Westfield Table Tennis Club for giving up their time to ensure the success of the event.