Paul Davison entered the record books by winning his seventh men’s singles title at the Braintree Table Tennis League finals night on Friday.
Davison (pictured above) previously shared the record with Terry Dowsett and Peter Hayden but his victory over Paul Lucas put him out on his own.
Davison had lost to Lucas in both the Braintree and Chelmsford leagues earlier in the season but he started with the confidence of a win in their last meeting in February, and earlier in the evening in the veterans’ singles final.
And this time he had his championship head on, fired up, digging in and not allowing his opponent to dominate. Lucas found his big shots coming back at him while Davison played the angles deftly.
Davison’s win in three games was more straightforward than his earlier win in the veterans’ singles, where he was stretched to five games.
Lucas made a lightning start, winning the first six points, but Davison slowly pegged him back to take the first game. He lost the second and fourth games before triumphing 11-6 in the decider.
In the men’s singles semi final, Davison overcame Alistair Hill, playing in his first semi-final. Hill was not overawed and was not afraid to go for the big shots, but the speed and experience of his opponent was always likely to prove too much for him.
In the other semi-final, Lucas had a tough battle with his Rayne A teammate Lee McHugh. McHugh has adopted a more defensive style than when he won the title in 2019 but Lucas’s heavy shots were eventually able to wear him down and he won through in four games.
In contrast with Davison’s longevity – he won his first men’s title in 2008 – the ladies’ singles will have a new name on the trophy. Kath Little overturned the formbook with a win over Jill Canning.
Canning has a better league record than her Black Notley G teammate and she had also beaten her in the round robin preliminary stage of the event the previous weekend, but did not really get going in the final.
The two players produced some quick snappy rallies but Little spread the ball well and more often picked the right one to hit.
Little was also on the winning side in the mixed doubles. She and Jim Davy had a steady probing approach against the more attack-minded Lindsey Dodd and Jamie Brooks and they eventually wore their opponents down with patience mixed with some hits of their own.
Lucas and McHugh did not go home empty handed as they teamed up to take the men’s doubles title with a victory over the unseeded Victor Chan and Keith Martin. The latter pair concentrated on doing the simple things well but the firepower at the other end was too much for them.
The remaining two events were both won by Sudbury Nomads players.
Karl Baldwin had lost to Adi Kamma in the group phase of the restricted singles, but he was in no mood to do so again and with a mixture of fast and slow, and some punishing forehands, he prevailed this time in three straight games.
As did Ken Lewis in the division one singles. His opponent Ashley Skeggs has had a very up-and-down season in the league and he was distinctly in down mode here, losing the first two games 11-1, 11-2 as Lewis’s trademark smashes left him standing. He reached 11-8 in the third game but a revival never looked likely.
Men’s singles final: Paul Davison beat Paul Lucas 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-5). Semi-finals: Davison beat Alistair Hill 3-1 (11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10); Lucas beat Lee McHugh 3-1 (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7)
Ladies’ singles: Kath Little beat Jill Canning 3-1 (11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5)
Men’s doubles: Lucas and McHugh beat Victor Chan and Keith Martin 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-3)
Mixed doubles: Little and Jim Davy beat Lindsey Dodd and Jamie Brooks 3-1 (11-9, 16-14, 7-11, 12-10)
Veterans’ singles: Davison beat Lucas 3-2 (11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6)
Restricted singles: Karl Baldwin beat Adi Kamma 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-7)
Division one singles: Ken Lewis beat Ashley Skeggs 3-0(11-1, 11-2, 11-8)