Adam Harrison (L) with Josh Harland (R)

Nottingham student Harrison takes top honours at Notts Grand Prix

Author:
Russell Moore

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Adam Harrison (L) with Josh Harland (R)

Men’s Band 1

University of Nottingham student Adam Harrison was the surprise winner of his ‘home’ grand prix as he saw off an impressive field of competitors to take the top prize at the Nottingham Grand Prix.

With the event hosted in his own university campus, the student had a home advantage from the off, feeling comfortable with the surroundings. Supported by his fellow Nottingham alumni, Harrison started his campaign with a five-game epic against Paralympian Will Bayley, barely edging through 3-2 (12-10, 8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4). His second fixture turned out to be a warm-up for the final as he met Josh Harland, who he’d face off against again later, emerging victorious 3-1 (8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8). In his final group game he beat Joe Killoran 3-0 and secured the top spot in group 3.

In the knockout rounds Harrison began with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sam Kwan before forcing his way through back-to-back five end matches against Adam Jepson 3-2 (11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6) and impressively over top seed Ryota Kawai 3-2 (11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6) in the quarters and semis respectively.

On the other side, Harland, who recovered from his defeat to Harrison to post victories over Will Bayley (3-1) and Joe Killoran (3-2), picked up his own shock wins over Matthew Leete 3-2 (11-6, 9-11, 4-11, 13-11, 11-8) and Garth Kinlocke 3-2 (11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10). to set up the surprise final lineup.

When Harrison and Harland met once more in the final, they traded opening games but in the third end the Nottingham student broke away. He took the lead 2-1 with an 11-6 game to break Harland’s resistance before cruising the fourth game 11-1 to seal a memorable home win for the uni.

Emily Bolton (L) and Charlotte Bardsley (R)

Women’s Band 1

Emily Bolton had a tumultuous ride to the women’s band 1 title at the Nottingham Grand Prix as she had to come through an early defeat and a five-set epic to emerge triumphant in a small field.

The Lancastrian started well enough with a 3-0 (11-6, 15-13, 11-6) victory over Emma Ludlow followed up by another convincing performance against fellow English youth Kate Cheer 3-0 (16-14, 11-8, 11-8). However, a surprise 3-1 (11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9) loss to Wales’ Anna Hursey left her group fate uncertain as the trio of Bolton, Hursey and Cheer went into a three-way count back.

Fortunately for the Grantham College player, her 3-1 defeat to Hursey was the only group game that wasn’t 3-0 thus securing her progress from the group in top spot with Cheer second and the unlucky Hursey heading home.

In the semi-finals she met Yolanda King, the runner-up in a group of just two after dropouts in Nottingham, who took her the full distance. King flew out of the blocks to win the opener 11-1 but in a roller coaster game the momentum switched quickly from one player to another – Bolton eventually securing a place in the final 3-2 (1-11, 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6).

There she met Bardsley who came into the afternoon band undefeated after her band 2 success (below) and took the top spot in group 1 after her 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-6) win over King. She then beat Cheer 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-6) in the semi-final but was stunned by Bolton early in the final with an 11-1 game. Bardsley managed to recover and level matters with a 12-10 game but found herself frustrated as the Lancastrian had just enough answers throughout the following games to take the title with a 3-1 win.

Shaquille Webb-Dixon (L) and Julius Esposo (R) with Simon Griew

Men’s Band 2

Young player Mihnea Dascalu almost made a name for himself as a coach as a well-timed timeout in the men’s band 2 final changed the course of the result between Shaquille Webb-Dixon and Julius Esposo before the Grantham College player was finally able to seal a dramatic triumph.

Both the finalists, Webb-Dixon and Esposo, won through their groups with the former defeating James Garrod (3-1), Dylan Curry (3-0) and Amirul Hussain (3-2) and the latter seeing off Martin Matuzevicius (3-0), Aaron McKibbin (3-1) and Lucas Papantoniou (3-1).

They both then also came up against stiff opposition in the knockout stages. Surrey player Webb-Dixon needed five ends to see off Jordan Wykes 3-2 (8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-15, 12-10) in his quarter-final while Phillipine player Esposo needed five ends to defeat both Joe Clark 3-2 (8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 5-11, 11-7) and Josh Hartland 3-2 (11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 6-11, 13-11).

In the final itself, Webb-Dixon assumed an early control – winning the first end 11-8 and sealing a close second 12-10. It looked as though the game was over with Webb-Dixon 10-8 up in the third with two match points but Dascalu forced Esposo into the crucial timeout. From there the London Academy player fought back to take the game 13-11 and the fourth end 11-9 to force a deciding game.

Unfortunately for the comeback lovers out there, Webb-Dixon finally managed to regroup and played positively to finally seal the band 2 title he thought he won a fair time earlier.

Charlotte Bardsley (L) and Patricia Ianau (R)

Women’s Band 2

Top seed Charlotte Bardsley had to overcome two difficult matches back-to-back on Saturday morning to secure the Nottingham Grand Prix women’s band 2 title. The Staffordshire player was untroubled in her opening two group matches – seeing off Katie Holt and Erin Thompson in straight games but found her semi-final and final appearances much more problematic.

In both cases, the pre-tournament favourite fell behind; 2-1 to Wales’ Anna Hursey and 2-1 to Patricia Ianau from Middlesex, before fighting back to win through. She finally triumphed over Hursey 3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-1, 11-7) before repeating the process against Ianau 3-2 (7-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8) to pick up the award. Ianau had earlier caused the shock upsets over Hursey and second seed Emma Ludlow en route to the final.

Josh Weatherby (L) and Dan Fielding (R)

Men’s Band 3

The diminutive Josh Weatherby make his presence felt at the Nottingham Grand Prix by charging through the mens band 3 field to take the title home to Durham.

Weatherby cruised through his group, beating Brett Heppenstall 3-0, Joseph Goss 3-0 and Napham Boonyaprapa 3-1. However, his work wasn’t done there as he had to fight through four more matches and 18 more sets just to make the final. Twice the youngster had to win in five ends, firstly against Fraser Ridley in the quarter-finals 3-2 (11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 1-11, 11-7) before repeating the dose in the semi-finals over Danny Bajwa 3-2 (10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6).

Dan Fielding meanwhile, on the other side of the draw, successful won his group of four including Iain Wood, Steve Smith and Aidan Ranftler before starting his progression through the knockout stages with a full distance 3-2 (11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9) win over Zoltan Kulics. The Cambridgeshire player then saw off Will Dobinson (3-1) and Jody Bevington (3-1) to set up a final against the cadet.

If Weatherby’s earlier extensive efforts had worn him, he didn’t show any ill effects in the final, racing to a one-sided 3-0 result and a collection of the band 3 main prize.

Lucy Page (L) and Patricia Ianau (R)

Women’s Band 3

Patricia Ianau became the second member of the family to pick up a title at the Nottingham Grand Prix as she secured a tense 3-2 win in the final of the women’s band 3 event over Welsh player Lucy Page.

After Natalia Ianau earlier picked up the band 4 crown (below) Patricia followed her footsteps, including the final manner of victory – a five-sets win over the unfortunate Page.

Ianau had a simple task in the group, only facing one opponent, Eve Briscoe, where she emerged with a 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 13-11) win. Page, on the other hand, had a full three matches to battle through – duly fighting off competition from Federica Bonato Tazartes (3-0), Erin Thompson (3-1) and Charlotte Weatherby (3-0) to earn her place in the last eight.

There she avenged her band 4 defeat to Natalia Ianau with a comprehensive 3-0 (11-6, 13-11, 11-4) win before also seeing off Lauren Evans 3-0 in the semi-final to book her place in her second final of the day.

However, standing in her way was Patricia Ianau, who fought past Charlotte Boston 3-2 (11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2) and Beth Richards 3-1 (11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5) to set up the final match. Similar to the band 4 final earlier, Page trailed but levelled the match to take it to a deciding game. But, in a painful repeat, the Welsh girl once again lost out in the fifth game, having to settle for the runners-up prize once more.

Keir Morton (L) and Danny Bajwa (R)

Men’s Band 4

Keir Morton came out on top in an all-Scottish final with Danny Bajwa after both players battled through a huge entry for the band 4 event at the Nottingham Grand Prix.

Morton started positively with victories over Josh Walshe, Richard Johnson and Kristof Pinter in his group to take the second seed position in the knockout rounds. However, with the group finishing late, Morton was always playing catch-up and faced a congested fixture schedule to progress through to the final. With breaks from the table few and far between, Morton had to ensure he didn’t waste too much energy during matches, but this would prove to be hard to execute.

His first encounter lasted four lengthy games in a 3-1 (18-16, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5) win over Ian Johnson before going the full distance against Jack Josephs 3-2 (13-11, 12-14, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8). Four more games followed against Tommy Gritton in his quarter-final before another five-setter, this time against Josh Weatherby 3-2 (12-10, 11-8, 3-11, 9-11, 11-5) to make the final.

There he met Danny Bajwa who topped his group with wins over Will Dobinson and Adam Ridley before executing his own 3-2 victory over fellow Scot Martin Perry in round one. Bajwa went on to defeat Luke Greenfield 3-1, Zak Cantor 3-0 and Pedro Santos 3-2 (11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7), but couldn’t overcome Morton, who proved just good enough to emerge triumphant in four ends in the band 4 final.

Natalia Ianau (L) and Lucy Page (R)

Women’s Band 4

Young Natalia Ianau managed to hold off the effects of tiredness in the final of women’s band 4 to take the title ahead of a charging Lucy Page who almost capitalised on the Middlesex player’s previous back-to-back five end encounters.

Ianau cruised through her group, beating Sophie Chiang and Charlotte Weatherby 3-0, but found the progress in the knockout rounds a much harder endeavour – playing 14 out of a possible 15 ends before she could finally get her hands on the top prize. First of all she had to beat Charlotte Boston in the quarter-finals, which she did in a nail-biting 3-2 (11-9, 11-9, 13-15, 13-11, 12-10) victory, before seeing off Welsh girl Beth Richards 3-2 (11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7) in the semi-final.

Fellow Welsh player Lucy Page was Ianau’s final opponent after she won her group including Boston and Kris Sumner, then defeated Weatherby 3-0 (12-10, 11-8, 11-4) in the semi-final. She struggled to hit her rhythm early on in the final as Ianau opened up a 2-0 lead with 11-8 and 11-7 games but it appeared as though the previous energy-sapping matches started to take its toll on Ianau as Page creeped back into the game.

She won the third 11-7 and held a lead throughout the fourth, including at 9-7, only to see Ianau win four crucial points in a row to seal the game 11-9 and win the title before her energy reserves were fully emptied.

Luke Carrington (L) and Ross Brown (R)

Men’s Band 5

Yorkshireman Luke Carrington continued his dominant return to the grand prix circuit at Nottingham as he took his second title of the day, following an earlier blitz of the band 6 event (below).

Carrington, somewhat deceived by his rating a the University of Nottingham, began where he left off from band 6 by winning through his group – dropping just one end again. This time he defeated Brian Hallsworth (3-0), David Ramsey (3-1) and Rafal Bajda (3-0) to make the last 32.

His string of results continued against Jason Quirk (3-0), Ben Fillingham (3-1), his band 6 final opponent Filippo Sabatini (3-1) and Andreas Dickman (3-1) to make the final.

There he faced Ross Brown, who had a tougher start to his band 5 campaign, only edging past Ben Pearce 3-2 (11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 12-10) before hitting his stride with victories over Sabatini (3-0) and Harry Boston (3-0) in the group and further wins against Tom Barrett (3-0), Anshal Satsangi (3-1), Hiroshi Furuta (3-0) and a walkover against Yao Li who pulled out before their semi-final.

Brown, however, found the going as difficult against Carrington as his other opponents had, as he too succumbed to a 3-1 defeat, leaving the Lancastrian unbeaten throughout 15 matches on Saturday.

Filippo Sabatini (L) and Luke Carrington (R)

Men’s Band 6

Luke Carrington found a return to grand prix table tennis a breeze as he swept to the men’s band 6 title while dropping just one end out of 22.

The Yorkshireman was ruthless on Saturday morning at the University of Nottingham and only really found any test against Jamie Fellows in his group. Welshman Fellows was able to pick up the only game against Carrington in the event, losing 3-1 (11-2, 12-10, 8-11, 14-12). Fellows would eventually finish runner-up in group 1 but lose out in the preliminary round to Majtaba Adel 3-2 (10-12, 1-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8).

Carrington, on the other hand, waltzed through the knockout stages with 3-0 wins over Tim Hampton, Stanley Shilton, Tom Black and finally Filippo Sabatini with none of the players able to record more than seven points in any individual set.

2017 Nottingham Grand Prix Results
Men’s Band 1
Adam Harrison bt Joshua Harland 3-1 (11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 11-1)
Women’s Band 1
Emily Bolton bt Charlotte Bardsley 3-1 (11-1, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7)
Men’s Band 2
Shaquille Webb-Dixon bt Julius Esposo 3-2 (11-8, 12-10, 11-13, 9-11, 11-6)
Women’s Band 2
Charlotte Bardsley bt Patricia Ianau 3-2 (7-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8)
Men’s Band 3
Josh Weatherby bt Daniel Fielding 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-6)
Women’s Band 3
Patricia Ianau bt Lucy Page 3-2 (7-11, 11-4, 11-2, 6-11, 11-7)
Men’s Band 4
Keir Morton bt Danny Bajwa 3-1 (11-9, 11-8, 6-11. 11-6)
Women’s Band 4
Natalia Ianau bt Lucy Page 3-1 (11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9)
Men’s Band 5
Luke Carrington bt Ross Brown 3-1 (11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7)
Men’s Band 6
Luke Carrington bt Filippo Sabatini 3-0 (11-5, 11-1, 11-2)

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