Cippenham Team 1-Star Open - 27 February 2022
The ever-popular Cippenham Team Open took place on Sunday and was once more oversubscribed. The maximum entry of twenty-four teams was reached four days before the official closing date but, unfortunately, one team withdrew late on Saturday evening and so twenty-three teams of two players took to the tables for this unique event that combines a team event with the progressive knock-out format in which all the competing teams are ranked at the end of the day.
Players arrived from all over the south of England with the eventual winners, husband and wife team Neil and Lauren Charles, having driven down from Norwich. After winning the preliminary round group, The Slothes then met up with HJ in the form of Jacob Evans and Harry Yip. Neil Charles lost the opening set to Evans then Lauren demolished Yip to equalise the score 1-1. At this stage the two losing players met to determine the match result and it was Neil that eventually prevailed against Yip but only by the narrow margin of 14-12 in the fifth and deciding game. That win put The Slothes in the quarter-final where they met Devon Dynamos. This proved to be straight -forward as Neil beat Mike Hugh and Lauren beat Kevin Nicholls, both 3-0,
The semi-final was more of a test for The Slothes but the result was still 2-0. Neil Charles had to work hard to defeat Matt Evans over five games while Lauren prevailed 3-0 against Edward Simms.
Meanwhile, the most exciting and closely-fought matches were happening to the eventual runners-up, Flickers TT. Straight-forward wins against Double Trouble and BATTS TT in the group stage gave them a match against Devon Dynamos in the first progressive knock-out round. This was the easiest of their encounters as Eren Gozcu beat Mike Hugh 3-1 and Ugur Saglik took only three games to dismiss Kevin Nicholls. That paved the way for two incredibly close matches to follow.
In their quarter-final, Flickers had to pull out all the stops to pass HJ. Jacob Evans gave HJ the lead against Gozcu 3-2, then Saglik equalised for Flickers by beating Harry Yip in a set in which all five games were won by the narrowest margin of two points. As the two losing players, Gozcu and Yip met to decide the match and again it was 11-9 in the fifth, this time in favour of Gozcu. The semi-final against Big Fish was just as close and followed the same pattern. Chris Cockburn gave Big Fish the lead, winning 13-11 in the fifth against Gozcu and Saglik brought the match equal with a win 11-8 in the fifth against Veton Zeqiri. Gozcu and Zeqiri, as the two losers, met to decide the match and once again it required five games and once again it was Gozcu that rescued his side 11-7.
The final also required a deciding set before The Slothes beat Flickers TT 2-1. Neil Charles beat Eren Gozcu 3-0 before Lauren Charles suffered her only defeat of the day against Ugur Saglik, a feat that meant that it was Saglik that finished the day unbeaten and yet not on the winning team. Lauren finished the job off 3-0 against Gozcu and that brought an end to the day’s proceedings.
On an adjacent table, Big Fish and Wootton Boys had been playing off for third and fourth places. Big Fish won this one as Chris Cockburn beat Edward Simms after having lost to Matt Evans, while Zeqiri managed a demolition job on Simms.
The Slothes: Neil Charles & Lauren Charles
Flickers TT: Eren Gozcu & Ugur Saglik
Big Fish: Chris Cockburn & Veton Zeqiri
Wootton Boys: Matt Evans & Edward Simms
HJ: Jacob Evans & Harry Yip
Devon Dynamos: Mike Hugh & Kevin Nicholls
Scotticron 2022: Lee Phillips & Scott Cooper
Graham Spicer 1: Vadzim Antonau & Tim Waller