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Cippenham Team 1-Star Open - 6 January 2024

The seventeenth annual running of the Cippenham Team 1-Star Open on Saturday was once again an enormous success with teams really enjoying the concept despite the fact that two teams failed to appear on the day without notice. This competition, devised by Cippenham Table Tennis Club, allows for teams of two rather than individual players and, after the preliminary round groups, features a progressive knock-out format that produces a final ranking list of all twenty-four teams.

The top four seeded teams all made it through safely in first place in their groups. The eight group winners then played each other for right of passage straight though to the top eight positions. The losers of those matches had to play one more match against a team that had finished second in their group. Ultimately six of the group winners made in to the top eight and they were joined by two of the pairs that had finished second in their group. Those two pairs included Ping Kong who had been beaten by the second seeds in their group but ultimately finished the day in third place after beating fourth seeds Oxford Spinners along the way. Well done to Brandon Crouchman and Scott Dowsett. The other pair who elevated themselves at the same stage were the young brothers from the host club, Bharath and Sai Prasanna Kumar.

The ultimate winners were the Perfect Match combination of Mircea Neagu and Ewelina Sychta. They eased their way through the draw with a near perfect record, Neagu remaining unbeaten throughout while Sychta lost only once to Gabriela Tankel in the first progressive knock-out round. Tankel remained one of only three players to remain unbeaten throughout the day as, apart from Neagu, only Kiarash Shaddel had a similar record.

In the quarter-final Perfect Match ended the hopes of Cleve Park and then in the semi-final ended the ambitious run of Ping Kong. Meanwhile, Devon’s Finest, in the guise of Kevin Nicholls and Simon James, were putting an end to the Prasanna Kumar boys’ exploits in the quarter-final and then in the semi-final the third seeds beat the second seeds Abdul Raqueeb and Klodian Shaqiri.

Of the Cippenham players, Jamie Woodford had the best return with six wins from eight matches, George Driscoll five out of eight, Sai Prasanna Kumar five out of nine and Bharath Prasanna Kumar three out of eight. Sai is a name to watch in the future as he is still only nine years old and was playing in his first senior event!

The tournament was organised by Graham Trimming and refereed by Sue Hayes.



  1. Perfect Match: Mircea Neagu & Ewelina Sychta

  2. Devon’s Finest: Kevin Nicholls & Simon James

  3. Pink Kong: Brandon Crouchman & Scott Dowsett

  4. He’s Got No Backhand: Abdul Requeeb & Klodian Shaqiri

  5. The Smashers: Akash Shah & Gabriela Tankel

  6. Oxford Spinners: Kiarash Shaddel & Farshad Shaddel

  7. Sai Bharath: Bharath Prasanna Kumar & Sai Prasanna Kumar

  8. Cleve Park Table Tennis Club: Rita Lopes & James Meyers

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