Doran & LeFevre victorious on Blackpool day two

Author:
Zach Ferris

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Tom Jarvis and Kelly Sibley couldn’t maintain their recent run of good form as they stumbled on day two of the Blackpool Grand Prix. Chris Doran and Karina LeFevre took full advantage to claim their first Grand Prix victory of the season. In what has been a relatively disappointing defence of their overall crowns this season, both can go away from Blackpool happy that they are ending the season strongly, with only one more to play.

The final Grand Prix of the 2015/16 season will be taking place in London on Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th June, with a closing date of Sunday 22nd May. For the first time ever, the Jean Brown Arena will be used to host the event – the same venue that was used for the 2014/15 Senior National Championships.

Click here to enter the London Grand Prix.

Men’s Singles
For the first time this season, Chris Doran tasted victory in the Men’s Singles event of a Grand Prix. Last year’s overall champion, who has made numerous semi-finals appearances this year, played some great table tennis right from the word go, and managed to beat Ryan Jenkins in a cracking final.

Doran appeared to have too much for Jenkins, cruising to a 2-0 lead thanks to two 11-5 games. However, the more experienced and wiser Jenkins dug deep and saved match point at 10-9 down to claw an end back 12-10. A classy fourth end went in the favour of the Welshman, this time taking it 11-5. Going in to the decider it was anyone’s game. But on this occasion it was Doran who stepped up to be crowned Blackpool Grand Prix champion.

Craig Howieson almost proved to be a stumbling block for Doran. The Scotsman led 2-1, but could do nothing about the fourth end which Doran ran away with 11-1. The fifth was tight and could have gone either way, but Doran held his nerve to progress to the final. Earlier in the competition Doran came through without any problems beating Kevin Dolder and Niall Cameron, both 3-0.

Jenkins had to fight back from 2-0 against Tom Jarvis, with the latter looking to secure his fourth title of the season. This game also had great meaning with regards to who would be crowned overall champion of the Grand Prix circuit 2015/16. Thanks to this victory, Jenkins still holds the lead, but a good tournament in London could mean Jarvis might just pip him at the last. With the scores level at 2-2, Jenkins went into the change of ends 5-0 up. It looked all over for Jarvis, but good fighting spirit saw him close the gap to two, at 5-3. Jenkins’ next serve bounced cruelly of the edge and this signalled the end for Jarvis. Depsite his best endeavour, Jenkins held on to see it out 11-9.

MS

Women’s Singles
Karina LeFevre claimed her first Grand Prix title of the season as she won the Women’s Singles in Blackpool. Last year’s overall champion hasn’t been as clinical this year, but produced some of her best table tennis to defeat Charlotte Carey of Wales, 3-0 in the final.

In the semi-final, LeFevre ended Kelly Sibley’s 100% record in the 2015/16 Grand Prix series. Before Blackpool, Sibley had entered three events and won all three, taking the title in South Shields, Nottingham and Doncaster. Back in Blackpool, Sibley took the first end 11-8, before two massive ends swung the tie and made LeFevre favourite, she won game two 15-13 and game three 12-10. Sibley levelled things with an 11-5 end, before LeFevre sealed it with her own 11-5 game in the decider.

In the other half of the draw, Carey comfortably dispatched Bethany Farnworth, winning 11-8, 11-2, 11-7, in their semi-final. What made the final defeat even more agonising for Carey, was the fact that she had earlier beaten LeFevre in the group stages. In the last match of the group, to decide who would go through as winner and runner-up, Carey won 3-1 (13-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6).

In the final itself, Carey cut a frustrated figure, as LeFevre produced her best. Staying close to the table and moving the ball quickly with great direction and placement proved to be effective. The fact that she hardly missed the table also helped greatly, and left Carey with no answer this time round.

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Under 21 Men’s Singles
The Under 21 Men’s Singles was won convincingly by Matthew Leete of Lincolnshire.  He beat Adam Jepson in the final 11-7, 11-9, 11-6.

The number one seed cruised through his group with two 3-0 wins. In his semi-final he again won easily, this time beating Jack Dempsey 11-3, 11-3, 11-7. The only time he ever looked in trouble was at the quarter-final stage. However, he showed his class to edge out Naphat Boonyaprapa game six in the fifth.

In the bottom half of the draw, Jepson claimed wins against Fraser Riley of Yorkshire (3-1) and Dylan Curry of Scotland (3-2), to set up the final meeting with Leete.

MU21

Under 21 Women’s Singles
Bhavika Mistry won the Women’s Under 21 title thanks to a perfect record in the round robin group. The final match of the group was the big decider with the winner taking all. Both Mistry and Beth Farnworth had a 100% at this stage and both went into the match knowing a win would make them champion. Mistry took it 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8.

It was another runner-up position for Farnworth, who was actually crowned Player of the Weekend after a fantastic tournament. On day one she was winner of the Band 2 and runner-up of the Band 1. And on day two she reached the semi-finals of the Women’s Singles and was runner-up in the Under 21 event.

Cleveland’s Holly Williams claimed third place, and Welsh pair Jamie Lee Harley and Lydia John finished in fourth and fifth positions respectively.

WU21

Mixed Veteran Singles
Veteran stalwart Thomas Rzeszotko added yet another Veteran title to his ever growing collection. In Blackpool he beat fellow Cheshire man Tony Whelan 3-2.

Rzeszotko, playing off three hours sleep due to work commitments, blew away the rest of the field en-route to the final. After easily topping his group and receiving a bye to the semi-finals, he beat Raymond Hurst 3-0.

As winner of group three, Whelan first faced a quarter-final match against Martin Ireland. After winning this one 3-1 he progressed to the semi-final where a defiant Andy Frain stood in his way. After a ‘topsy turvy’ affair Whelan eventually won 5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10.

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Open Doubles
A male/female pair in the form of Dan O’Connell and Charlotte Carey were victorious on Blackpool. They beat the Irish pairing of Gavin Maguire and Ashley Robinson in a terrific final. The scoring went 13-15, 11-8, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8.

Runners-up of group one, O’Connell and Carey faced the scratch pairing of Michael Fraser and Kevin Dolder in the semi’s, in yet another five setter that went one way, and then the other. The Welsh pair coming through 11-7, 8-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6.

Maguire and Robinson, who also finished runners-up in their group, had to play number one seeds and Scottish duo Craig Howieson and Sean Doherty in their semi-final. In what should have been a very close encounter on paper, Maguire and Robinson surprisingly won it in three straight games, 11-9, 13-11, 11-3.

OD

Results
Men’s Singles
Chris Doran (Np) bt Ryan Jenkins (WAL) 3-2 (11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 5-11, 11-6)
Women’s Singles
Karina LeFevre (Cv) bt Charlotte Carey (WAL) 3-0 (12-10, 11-6, 11-8)
Under 21 Men’s Singles
Matthew Leete (Li) bt Adam Jepson (Ca) 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-6)
Under 21 Women’s Singles
Winner: Bhavika Mistry (Np), Runner-up: Beth Farnworth (La) – Round robin group
Mixed Veteran Singles
Thomas Rzeszotko (Ch) bt Tony Whelan (Ch) 3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9)
Open Doubles
Dan O’Connell (WAL) & Charlotte Carey (WAL) bt Gavin Maguire (IRL) & Ashley Robinson (IRL) 3-2 (13-15, 11-8, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8)
Player of the Weekend
Beth Farnworth (La)

PotW

The latest Grand Prix points can be seen here. A full update including the results from Blackpool will be published before the London Grand Prix.

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