Festive Grand Prix - 20 December 2018
Shae on top without dropping a game
A record 23 players took part in the Cippenham TTC Festive Grand Prix on Thursday evening - the addition of liberal amounts of mulled wine and mince pies making this our version of a Christmas party!
Maybe because at age 15 he is too young to partake in the mulled wine, it was GB Para star Shae Thakker who rose to the top of the tree with a sparking performance in which he did not drop a single leg, winning all his five matches 3-0. Shae's hardest match came in the semi-final against Razvan Bucur. Razvan pushed Shae to within two points in each game, eventually succumbing 12-10, 13-11,11-9. Compared to that, Shae's final win by 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 over Hari Vennapusa was much more comfortable. Hari, though, had a good evening, winning his preliminary round group with ease and then fighting off the challenges of Gary Crick and Vlad Mihajlina in the second group phase. Gary, at one stage, led Hari 2-0 before the left-hander fought back to eventually win 11-9 in the fifth.
The first stage saw a titanic struggle in one of the groups in which each of the three matches was decided in the fifth game and this caused a section of the event to run a little late. Igor Liiko won through this group but was pushed all the way by up and coming junior Jaiden Caldeira and the more experienced Tony Jackson, one of the coaches at the Club.
It was good to see a few of the Club's younger players allowed to participate with school having broken up for Christmas. Stage 2 saw father and son David and William Saint pitched against one another. However, father did not allow his son an early present but did require a 16-14 scoreline in the fifth game to prevail.
Razvan beat Gary for third place while fifth and sixth places were sorted out by Igor Liiko's win against his teammate Vlad Mihajlina.
It was great to welcome Brian Guilloud back to the Club even though his illness earlier in the year means that he will unfortunately never be able to play again. Also, nice to see Ike Greenberg after his recent heart problems looking well but wisely deciding not to play!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all !!
1. Shae Thakker
2. Hari Vennapusa
3. Razvan Bucur
4. Gary Crick
5. Igor Liiko
6. Vlad Mihajlina
7. Seb Nimier
8. Elroy Hull
9. Tony Jackson
10. David Saint
11. Keith Hall
12. William Saint