‘Nuts’ and ‘Bolts’ of Blackpool Grand Prix day 1

Author:
Zach Ferris

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Men’s Band 1

Adam Nutland took a huge step towards capturing the Band 1 series as he lived up to his billing to claim the Blackpool event.

Seeded at one, Nutland was made to work drastically hard to claim the title by his foes, battling hard through his group before encountering Mike Fraser in the quarter-final. In a tight struggle, Nutland eventually overcame the in-form Fraser 3-1, setting up a semi-final showdown with Adam Fuzes. Nutland was on the verge of exit as he went 2-0 down, with Fuzes devouring every loop Nutland had. But Nutland fought back, claiming the next three sets in a true fighting style to make the final.

His opponent in the showpiece was second seed Chris Wheeler, who had provided a comeback of his own in the semi-final against Garth Kinlocke, who, after a blistering start, was pegged back outstandingly by young Wheeler.

However, Wheeler got a taste of his own medicine in the final, relinquishing a 2-1 lead against the resilient Nutland, who adapted his game to a slower pace to take the title.

Nutland now has a huge advantage in the Band 1 standings, and should be able to secure the title in London.

Adam Nutland (left) and Chris Wheeler (right) pictured with Neil McGuigan of Table Tennis England

Women’s Band 1

Emily Bolton wrapped up a hugely successful day as she clinched her second title. Having claimed victory in Band 2 just hours previous, Bolton went one further and captured the Band 1 title with victory over top seed Angharad Phillips in the final.

Bolton was a thorn in the side of the Phillips twins all afternoon, defeating Angharad in the groups before overcoming Megan Phillips in the semi-final before once again prevailing over Angharad in the final.

The event was full of shocks throughout, with neither of the Phillips twins winning their group. Angharad came behind Bolton, who herself had lost to Lynda Flaws, whilst Megan came second behind Joanna Roberts. Megan defeated Roberts, however her loss to Nicole Hall ultimately pushed her down to second.

But the day belonged to Bolton. After Megan succumbed to her in the last four, sister Angharad suffered the same fate as she went down 3-1 in the final.

Emily Bolton (left) and Angharad Phillips (right) pictured with Neil McGuigan of Table Tennis England

Men’s Band 2

Joe Pilkington all but secured the Band 2 series crown after a superb display saw him capture the Blackpool title.

Pilkington defeated Ryan Fellows in the final, eventually prevailing 11-9 in the last of five enthralling games. Both players had looked confident throughout the competition, overcoming a vast siege of talent throughout the rounds. Pilkington, seeded three, defeated the crafty Noor Owadally 3-1 before defeating Martin Matuzevicius 3-0 to advance to the semi-final. It was there that he met youngster Harry Dai, who had outstandingly made it to the semi-final with victories over Alec Ward and Callum Evans, yet another forward step in what is panning out to be a promising looking career for Dai. His run came to a halt once he met Pilkington, who battled past Dai to set up a date with Fellows. Fifth seed Fellows was handed a difficult route to the final but came through it in style. After a 3-0 win over Rory Scott, Fellows defeated Matthew Leete 3-2 before facing top seed Adam Fuzes, but his unreal returning and battling spirit saw him advance.

The final was a topsy turvy affair with little between the two players. It resulted in a stunning final full of long and high quality rallies which Pilkington eventually came through triumphant after over 30 minutes of play.

Joe Pilkington (left) and Ryan Fellows (right) pictured with Zach Ferris of Table Tennis England

Women’s Band 2

Emily Bolton showed mental toughness beyond her years to claim another Band 2 title.  The promising junior suffered an early setback after defeat to British League teammate Zoe Cheesman in the groups, meaning Bolton ended the round robin as runner up.

However she responded defiantly, defeating Nicole Finn 3-1 in the quarter-finals before winning an entertaining semi-final against Joanna Roberts 3-2, bringing an end to the top seed’s stay in the competition.

Bolton came up against Kate Roberts in the final, who had taken out Cheesman in the semi-final in an impressive 3-0 win. Unfortunately for Roberts, she couldn’t keep up with Bolton, who raced to a 3-0 win over Roberts, with her solidarity and powerful drives seeing her to victory.

Emily Bolton (right) and Kate Roberts (left) pictured with Zach Ferris of Table Tennis England

Men’s Band 3

Joe Killoran made his return to home soil one to remember as he claimed the Band 3 title.

Killoran, who is currently studying in Spain, came home for Easter and found the time to get the Grand Prix into his schedule. His commitment paid off as he advanced through the rounds before encountering Matthew Leete in the final, eventually winning the match 3-2.

Killoran had defeated Nathan Thomas, Daniel Fielding, Bryan Kwan and Chin Yin Yu to make the final, the first three being some of the top seeds in the competition.

Meanwhile, Leete had produced a string of impressive performances to reach the final. After coming from behind to defeat Zac Dowling, an impressive victory over James Hobson followed before another superb comeback in the semi-final, coming from 1-0 down to defeat Will Hornsey.

However, Leete couldn’t dig deep enough to produce another comeback in the final against Killoran. Trailing 2-0 again, Leete sensationally took the game to a decider. However, Killoran held his nerve and to comfortably came the fifth.

Joe Killoran (left) and Matthew Leete (right) pictured with Neil McGuigan of Table Tennis England

Women’s Band 3

Kate Roberts avenged her Band 2 final defeat by claiming the Band 3 title. Having defeated Danielle De Jong and Sarah Uddnas to reach the final, Roberts was handed the victory after Gosia Muda forfeited the final, handing Roberts victory.

Muda had played superbly to reach the final, defeating Lucy Elliott and Paulina Orzechowska on her way to the final.

Kate Roberts pictured with Zach Ferris of Table Tennis England

Men’s Band 4

Zac Dowling battled through the ever competitive Band 4 field to claim his first ever Grand Prix crown.

Seeded seventh, Dowling defeated the fired up James Garrod in the final, beating the talented junior 3-1. As is often the case in Band 4, shocks came in abundance, most notably in the shape of Timmy Cooper and Will Hornsey who shocked the two top seeds in the group stages. Cooper defeated finalist Garrod whilst Hornsey overcame Jody Bevington, with all four players eventually advancing through their groups.

Garrod’s response was emphatic as he reached the final with victories over Marc Castro and Bevington to reach the final whilst Dowling overcame Finny Wilson, Cade Short and Rob Owen.

The final was a brutal affair as both players went all out to secure victory. Dowling took the first end before surrendering a 10-6 lead in the second to tie the match at 1-1. From there onwards, however, Dowling looked assured, taking the next two ends, and escaping another Garrod comeback in the fourth, to seal the match.

Zac Dowling (left) and James Garrod (right) pictured with Neil McGuigan of Table Tennis England

Men’s Band 5

The final event of the day went the way of Cade Short as he reigned supreme in Band 5.

Short avenged his defeat to Curry in the groups to take the crown, with the seventh seed Short winning 3-1 in the final.

Following his group defeat, Short beat all before him in the knockout stages, defeating Sam Wiggins, Danny Bajwa, Sean Drewry and Band 6 runner up Xiao Collins to make final.

In the other half of the draw, Curry defeated David Bruce, Yi Zhou and Kier Morton to make the final showpiece of the day.

However, Short was not to be denied, learning from his mistakes earlier to claim the title as the clocks approached 9PM.

Cade Short (left) and Dylan Curry (right) pictured with Zach Ferris of Table Tennis England

Men’s Band 6

Alex Tyson captured his first ever Grand Prix title to open the proceedings of this weekend’s play.

Tyson defeated Lancaster University teammate Xiao Collins in the showpiece, prevailing 3-1 in an intriguing match where both players knew their opponent inside out.

Tyson had previously defeated fellow Lancaster University student David Bruce in the quarter-final before reigning supreme in a five set thriller against Ethan Chapman in the semis. In the other half of the draw, Collins had advanced to the final with victories over Mazran Esco, Sam Chesterman and Keir Morton.

The pair, who had played against each other as recently as this week, prepared for battle again. Tyson had won their previous match 4-2, and prevailed once again this time as his consistent loops secured him a 3-1 victory.

Alex Tyson (right) and Xiao Collins (left) pictured with Zach Ferris of Table Tennis England

Results

Men’s Band 1
Adam Nutland (Wo) bt Chris Wheeler (SCO) 3-2 (6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5)
Women’s Band 1
Emily Bolton (Cu) bt Angharad Phillips (WAL) 3-1 (11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 13-11)
Men’s Band 2
Joe Pilkington (Ch) bt Ryan Fellows (St) 3-2 (11-6, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9)
Women’s Band 2
Emily Bolton (Cu) bt Kate Roberts (WAL) 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-9)
Men’s Band 3
Joe Killoran (Ch) bt Matthew Leete (Li) 3-2 (11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6)
Women’s Band 3
Kate Roberts (WAL) bt Gosia Muda (Mi) W/O
Men’s Band 4
Zac Dowling (Do) bt James Garrod (Y) 3-1 (11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9)
Men’s Band 5
Cade Short (WAL) bt Dylan Curry (SCO) 3-2  (12-14, 11-6, 11-4, 12-14, 11-8)
Men’s Band 6
Alex Tyson (La) bt Xiao Collins (Ch) 3-1 (11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6)

For an up to date list of Grand Prix points click here.

And don’t forget you can now enter the last of the 2014/15 Grand Prix series in London on 9th & 10th May. To enter either online or download a paper entry form click here.

Matthew Shaw
April 11, 2015

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