Wheeler wins day one at West of Scotland Grand Prix

Author:
Zach Ferris

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Play got underway from the Gorbals leisure centre in a frozen Glasgow at 9.30am. What was to follow was an action packed day of table tennis from the latest tournament on Table Tennis England’s Grand Prix circuit.

Men’s Band 1
As often is the case, the Men’s Band 1 final was the last match to be played on day one. It was a cracking contest between Scotland’s Colin Dalgleish and Chris Wheeler, with the latter coming out on top courtesy of a 3-1 win.

Wheeler topped his group with victories over the beaten finalist Dalgleish, Ryan Fellows and Alex Ramsden with the last two both going to a deciding fifth game. He then beat Craig Hardie, also of Scotland, in his semi-final match. Leading 2-0 he looked to have done it, but good fight from Hardie saw him level at two apiece. Wheeler eventually won it 13-11 in the fifth.

Dalgleish came through the same group. After losing to Wheeler he then beat both Ramsden and Fellows. A semi-final match up with Richard Main followed. Dalgleish coming through unscarred thanks to 11-3, 12-10, 11-6 games.

Colin Dalgleish (left) and Chris Wheeler (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Women’s Band 1

Abbie Milwain walked away from Glasgow Club Gorbals triumphant on day one. She claimed the Women’s Band 1 title thanks to a 100% record in the round robin group.

Gillian Edwards claimed the runners up spot thanks to 5 wins from 6. Her only defeat coming against Milwain. In what turned out to be the deciding match of the group Abbie comfortably won 11-4, 11-5, 12-10.

Third placed Lynda Flaws made hard work of the group winning three matches in five ends. She first beat Joanna Roberts 11-9 in the decider, then Zoe Cheesman by 11-8 and finally Corinna Whitaker 11-7.

Abbie Milwain (left) and Gillian Edwards (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Men’s Band 2
The Men’s Band 2 was due to go out as two groups of 4. But after one scratch and a meeting between all players and Tournament Referee Steve Welch, it was agreed to make it a large round robin group of 7. Beneficiary of this was Sepehr Bidari. The number one seed victorious with 5 wins from 6.

Also with 5 wins to his name was Cheshire’s Joe Pilkington. The Grantham College Academy student was unbeaten going into his last game but lost out to Bidari. Thus giving Bidari the title, courtesy of their head-to-head record.

The one defeat for Bidari came in the shape of Yaser Razouk. The fellow Scot defeating the champion 3-1. It was a great scalp for Yaser, but sadly he went on to finish in third place after defeats to Joe Pilkington and Ryan Fellows.

Women’s Band 2
The Women’s Band 2 went according to plan as number one seed Joanna Roberts dispatched number two seed Lynda Flaws.

Roberts has been having a successful time on the Grand Prix series of late, and added yet another title to her CV. She comfortably fought off all the competition, not losing a single end in the knockout rounds.

However, Roberts found the going tougher in her group, losing to Lucy Elliott of Scotland. Despite the blip, she still managed to top her group with Elliott finishing in second place.

In their respective semi-final matches, Roberts beat Cherith Graham 3-0, while Flaws overcame compatriot Corinna Whitaker in a four-set epic, 14-12, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10.

Joanna Roberts (left) and Lynda Flaws (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Men’s Band 3
The Men’s Band 3 was one by Jersey’s Hugo Tupper. He beat a spirited Yaser Razouk 6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9.

Tupper’s journey started by winning group three. He then went on to beat David Wetherill in the quarter’s before dispatching Jody Bevington 3-2 in the semi-finals.

Yaser, seeded second for the event, won his group as expected. He then knocked out Bonne Habekost and Max Tupper in the quarter and semi-final respectively.

A second Tupper was too much though for young Yaser as Hugo made up for his Band 4 final defeat with victory in Band 3.

Yaser Razouk (left) and Hugo Tupper (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Women’s Band 3
It was a great victory for Annie Hudson in the Women’s Band 3 event. She beat second seed Liz May by three games to nil in the final.

Having earlier lost to May 12-10 in the fifth in the group stages, Hudson put in a fantastic performance to make sure it didn’t happen again. Having qualified second in the group Hudson faced number one seed Rachel Baker in the semi-finals. Baker proved a tough opponent but couldn’t quite close it out, going down 3-2.

For May, who topped group two, a semi-final with Rebecca Plaistow was waiting. Plaistow earned this place thanks to a preliminary victory over Paulina Orzechowska. May went on to book her place in the final thanks to a routine 3-0 win.

Liz May (left) and Annie Hudson (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Men’s Band 4
Calum Morrison continued 2015 as if he’d not stopped over Christmas. The Player of the Weekend from our last Grand Prix in Nottingham started the day with victory in the Men’s Band 4.

Morrison beat a spirited Hugo Tupper from Jersey 3-2. Having got off to the best of starts with an 11-2 first game, the young Scot found himself 2-1 down after two long ends that went in the favour of Tupper. The fourth and fifth ends were just as tight but this time Morrison found himself on the right end of 11-9 and 11-8 scorelines.

There was some brotherly love in the semi-finals, as Hugo faced up against brother Max Tupper. It was a match played in great spirits (with the pair laughing and even sharing a drink at the change of ends) but Hugo proved too strong winning 11-8, 11-3, 12-10.

Champion Morrison didn’t lose an end on his way to the final. First overcoming Iain Wood 3-0, before despatching Germany’s Bonne Habekost by the same score in the semi-finals.

Calum Morrison (left) and Hugo Tupper (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Women’s Band 4
The Women’s Band 4 event was contested as a round robin group of 6. With 5 wins from 5 matches the clear champion on this occasion was Rebecca Plaistow.

Rhian Williams was the runner-up. Williams recorded 4 wins out of 5. Having won all 4 of her matches, it all came down to a winner takes all between herself and Plaistow. In the all-important match, Rebecca prevailed 3-1, leaving Williams’ record with one defeat.

The match of the group was arguably the 3-2 victory for Alisa Khalid over Hannah Robb. Robb was one end away from her first victory, but at 2-1 down, Khalid started to play her best table tennis. It went right to the wire, and it was Khalid that showed great composure to clinch it 12-10 in the fifth.

Rhian Williams (left) and Rebecca Plaistow (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Men’s Band 5
Number two seed Alasdair Rennet made up for earlier disappointment by winning the Men’s Band 5 final. He beat number one seed John Hannah in three straight.

In a repeat of an earlier final Alasdair Rennet beat Tom Lawlor in the second semi. Again it went to five, only this time with a different outcome as Rennet clinched it 10-12, 9-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-5.

The beaten finalist Hannah had tough matches on his way to reaching the last two. He first beat Jordan Allen 3-1 before scraping past Keir Morton in a tight 3-2 affair.

Alasdair Rennet (left) and John Hannah (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Men’s Band 6
The first event to be completed on day one was the Men’s Band 6. The victory went to Scotland’s Tom Lawlor who beat countryman Alasdiar Rennet 3-2 (11-8, 11,2, 3-11, 8-11, 11-8).

It was eventual winner Lawlor who started the better, racing into a 2-0 lead. Rennet then halved the deficit with an 11-3 game. The number two seed then backed this up with an 11-8 game that took the tie to a decider. Lawlor managed to reclaim his composure and finally finished it 11-8.

Lawlor’s route to the final was far from easy following a first-round marathon match with Babukumar Valajuruvan which he ultimately took 11-5, 6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10. In his semi-final Lawlor dropped another game, this time against Keir Morton. Poised at 1-1, the soon to be champion stepped up and finished with two 11-3 games.

Alasdair Rennet (left) and Tom Lawlor (right) pictured with Terry McLernon MBE

Results
Men’s Band 1: Chris Wheeler (SCO) bt Colin Dalgeish (SCO) 3-1 (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9)
Women’s Band 1: Round robin group: Winner – Abbie Milwain (Dy) Runner-Up – Gillian Edwards (SCO)
Men’s Band 2: Round robin group: Winner – Sepehr Bidari (SCO) Runner-Up – Joe Pilkington (Ch)
Women’s Band 2: Joanna Roberts (Y) bt Lynda Flaws (SCO) 3-0 (11-8, 17-15, 11-6)
Men’s Band 3: Hugo Tupper (JEY) bt Yaser Razouk (SCO) 3-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9)
Women’s Band 3: Annie Hudson (Ch) bt Liz May (Dv) 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-2)
Men’s Band 4: Calum Morrison (SCO) bt Hugo Tupper (JEY) 3-2 (11-2, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8)
Women’s Band 4: Round robin group: Winner – Rebecca Plaistow (SCO) Runner-Up – Rhian Williams (SCO)
Men’s Band 5: Alasdair Rennet (SCO) bt John Hannah (SCO) 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-2)
Men’s Band 6: Tom Lawlor (SCO) bt Alasdair Rennet (SCO) 3-2 (11-8, 11-2, 3-11, 8-11, 11-8)

Zach Ferris
January 31, 2015

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