The Lithgow Table Tennis Association's annus horribilis has ended on a bright note, with the outcome of a hard-fought Summer Competition Grand Final going down to the last rubber.
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The year started with the sad passing of top player Michael Wood in mid-January following a short illness.
The six-team Winter Competition was then abandoned mid-stride in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Association kick-started their year in August with the current competition but only two rounds in, Denis Ford was forced to withdraw due to ill health.
Then came the most devastating blow of all, when beloved member Roy Barlow died in a canyoning accident in early September just before Round Four.
The Association continued the competition in Roy's honour, and the top two sides made it to the decider.
Minor Premiers Grippers, seeking to avenge their Major Semi loss two weeks prior, looked in good shape against Charolais when they went out to leads of 2-0, 5-2 and 7-3. Charolais slowly clawed their way back into it, getting to within a game at 9-8 down late in the match.
Grippers doubled their advantage to two games at 11-9 but Charolais took the last singles 2-0 to see the match locked up, 11-apiece, going into the doubles.
Grippers won a topsy-turvy first doubles 2-1, leaving Charolais with the task of winning the second 2-0 for outright victory, or 2-1 to force a sudden-death third doubles.
Charolais gave themselves every chance by pocketing the first game 11-8, but Grippers responded with a nail-biting 11-9 triumph in the second. Grippers had just enough left in the tank to take the third game, 11-7, and claim the title, 15-13.
Mick Wagner was the shining light for Grippers with 6-2, while Lou Kappos (3-5) and Linda Kappos (2-4) were both solid in support.
Charolais will rue their lost chances, dropping five of the six rubbers that went the three-game distance.
Sean Jenkins finished 4-2 and Peter Jaccoud 5-3, with Leon Rust losing four games by two points to record 2-6. Fourth team member Sharnie Roberts cheered from the sidelines but her side fell just short.
The Winter competition for 2021 is set to commence in early February. Interested players should contact Pauline Wellfare (0432265624) for more information.
Full Results: (Grippers mentioned first)
M Wagner (Handicap -27) def S Jenkins (-16) 11-8, 12-10. Lou Kappos (-21) lost to P Jaccoud (-8) 5-11, 12-10, (-10)-11. Linda Kappos (+2) def L Rust (-7) 11-3, 14-12.
M Wagner (-27) def P Jaccoud (-8) (-7) -11, 11-7, 11-6. Linda Kappos (+2) lost to S Jenkins (-16) 9-11, 12-14. Lou Kappos (-21) def L Rust (-7) 12-10, 6-11, 11-9.
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Linda Kappos (+2) lost to P Jaccoud (-8) 8-11, 9-11. M Wagner (-27) def L Rust (-7) 11-7, 7-11, 12-10. Lou Kappos (-21) lost to S Jenkins (-16) 9-11, 12-14.
M Wagner/Linda Kappos (-12) def S Jenkins/P Jaccoud (-12) 11-6, 5-11, 11-4.
Lou Kappos/Linda Kappos (-9) def S Jenkins/L Rust (-11) 8-11, 11-9, 11-7.
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