Table tennis in grand finish

Following a gruelling primaries campaign the form candidates of the competition - Team Jefferson (Hamish Richards, Luke McInnes and Rob Copping) met Team Nixon (Ian Russell, Mike Waters and Tim Durik) for the spring 2017 main prize.

Leading into the final, each had beaten the other team once.

Lefties Richards and Waters were first to the table, and if there’s one thing a lefty hates it is playing a lefty - the angles are all wonky, doubly so when one of the lefties holds the bat funny! Richards dropped the first but quickly evened up only for Waters to take the next two to record a -6,8,10,8 win.

McInnes and Durik both rely on their ability to force an opponent to play one more shot, hence this was always going to be a battle of attrition. Durik “bolted” to a two-game lead, but McInnes won the third handsomely.

Durik dug deep in the fourth to take a meritorious 12,8,-5,5 win. Copping was always going to have his hands full against Russell, and so it proved as Russell romped to a 5,1,9 win.

Richards/McInnes needed to overcome Russell/Waters in the top double or their chances were all but gone. And this they did in a pulsating 7,8,-7,7 victory, leaving Team Nixon with a solid 3-1 lead.

Copping and Durik invariably have entertaining contests, and this one was a beauty as Durik led early forcing Copping to play catch-up. Copping’s game was “on” by now and he proved up to the task by recording a thrilling -9,- 5,9,9,10 win.

In what was becoming a trend Richards trailed Russell by two games but steadied spectacularly in a skilful display that enabled him to snatch a -10,- 8,9,8,4 win as the contest really began to tighten.

McInnes was hoping to repeat his semi-final heroics against Waters, and managed to do so in another wonderful contest - the final score being -8,8,- 4,9,9.

The middle double between Richards/Copping and Russell/Durik was crucial, and in a reversal of the second semi result Russell/Durik held firm to take the win 7,-3,11,5 and tie the contest at 4-all. Team Nixon however enjoyed a worrying games lead via its three 5-game losses.

Richards affirmed his status as a coming club champion by defeating Durik in three entertaining games 3,7,14 to keep Team Jefferson’s hopes alive, but while McInnes won the first against Russell, “Woody” ground out the next three to take a -6,12,7,5 win. Pen-gripper Waters was in no mood to muck about as he stormed to an 8,6,9 win and take Team Nixon to an unassailable 6-5 lead with a six-game advantage.

It is difficult to recall a grand final of higher standard than this one, and both teams deserve plaudits for that. Bragging rights however rest with Team Nixon - the slightly better team on the night.