For Lee's a jolly good fellow
Table tennis: DAZZLING young star Lee Barnes emerged as Suffolk best prospects years in the the junior and veteran county championships staged at Stowupland High School.
DAZZLING young star Lee Barnes emerged as Suffolk best prospects years in the the junior and veteran county championships staged at Stowupland High School.
He entered the under 12, 14, 17 and open singles, played in something close to 30 matches during the day and reached the final in all but one of the events he entered.
In the veterans event Ian Brown was the top seed in all events, while Charles Fulcher was making his debut in this field.
In the junior event, first on was the under 14 girls event which saw Rachael Stephens emerge the winner in a round robin group system.
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Barnes won the first of his three titles in the under 12's final over Aaron Self.
This was also the situation in the under 14 boys where again Barnes was far too strong by winning in straight games.
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Amy Maskall took out the under 12's girls singles beating Emma O'Gorman in the final.
In the under 17's singles Aimee Sparkes defeated her doubles partner Jacqui Wallace.
In the open singles which sees both boys and girls involved, Barnes faced number one seed Sparkes in the first semi final.
He took the first two, but was pegged back in the third, but just did enough in the fourth in what was perhaps his best win to date.
Andrew Gross, the number one ranked junior boy, beat Sudbury's Sam Walker in four sets in the other semi.
The final was a classic in every sense and pitched experience against youth. Barnes played superbly to take the first two sets, but gradually was pegged back and after a titanic game went down 3-2.
In the under boys 17s singles Barnes, perhaps suffering from the long day's play, went down in straight sets to Gross while the two Sudbury players, Hanif Jetha and Walker, played a thriller with Walker saving a number of match points before losing in the fifth.
In the final it was Jetha who took the game to the favorite and went into a
2-1 lead and at 5-3 up in the fourth looked to be on his way.
Gross, though, showed a lot of grit to turn the game round and equate the leg scores before coasting home at three in the decider.
Gross and Barnes finished off with the doubles title beating Walker and Jetha in the final.
Andy Holmes was the star of the Veterans event. He won both his singles events in the open and over 40s without losing a match all day.
In the open singles semi final Holmes beat Ian Brown while Charles Fulcher beat Mick Palmer,
In the final Fulcher was very much a favourite, having not lost to Holmes since the 1980s. However Holmes played very well and from being 2-1 down and behind in the fourth stuck in there to emerge a five set winner.
There were more surprises as Fulcher went down to Bury's Phil Sinclair in the over 40s quarter final, while Alan Leveridge from Eye beat Mick Palmer in the group stage to qualify.
Holmes again got the better of Brown in the their semi in three sets while Barry Thain overcame Sinclair 2-0.
Holmes retained his title, comfortably beating Thain who was clearly feeling pace after a number of games.
Holmes was unbeaten on the day and his victories over higher-ranked opponents will have to bring questions as to his ranking at the next meeting.
In the restricted singles Leveridge, very much one of the favourites, came through in the final over Sinclair and in the doubles he teamed up with Thain to beat Sinclair and Peter Fordham.
n The Ipswich Championships are taking place over the weekend at Maidenhall Sports Centre.
In the men's singles Ipswich Champion Richard Hutchinson will defend his singles title but is seeded only at four this year,
Andrew Dosher and Charles Fulcher are seeded one and two while Andrew Holmes is seeded three.
In the women's event, both Claire Emmerson and Aimee Sparkes are unavailable because of National league duty but Vicky Gray is the player the others will have to beat.
The divisional events are being held today, with the men's and women's singles, doubles and mixed tomorrow.