Cippenham Veterans' 2-Star Open - 27 November 2016
Deja vu at Veterans’ Open
It was business as usual at the Cippenham Super 6 Veterans’ 2-Star Open on Sunday with Old Windsor resident Martin Gunn defeating Reading’s Hari Gehlot in a repeat of the final when the tournament was last played in April. Gunn’s record at Cippenham is quite phenomenal, having won five of the last eight veterans’ titles that have been contested.
However, this was a reversal of the seeded positions as Gehlot was top seed with Gunn in second position. That meant nothing in the final as Gunn, at the top of his powers, played a series of spectacular winning shots to defeat the fluent Gehlot. Both players fought hard for the title in what was easily the most entertaining match of the day. Gunn attacked his way through the first game but Gehlot fought back to take the second. It seemed impossible for Martin Gunn to shift up yet another gear but that is exactly what happened as he blazed his way emphatically through the next two games and secured back to back titles.
Life was not quite so straight-forward for the other top ranked players. All four seeds made it through their preliminary round groups unbeaten although fourth seed Radovan Zivkovic was given a scare by Gwynne Penny who he only beat deuce in the fifth and deciding game. Third seed Anthony Corbin’s progress was more emphatic, winning all his matches 3-0.
Kevin Nicholls emerged from Group 5 with the loss of only one game, that to Cippenham’s Simon Vine while two other Cippenham players went head to head in Group 6. Mike Rhodes was declared the winner of the group after a three-way tie with Paul Baker and Dean Rose. Paul recovered from a 2-1 deficit to beat Rose whereas Mike could not and was beaten 3-1. In the very last match Mike found his true form and overcame Paul 3-0 and on sets ratio Mike was placed first, Rose second and Paul third.
Into the knock-out stage of the competition and all the top three Cippenham players had the unfortunate experience of being drawn against Hari Gehlot in successive rounds. Paul Baker, after having eliminated Alex Aston in the first round, was first to go, then Simon Vine, having recovered from 2-0 down to beat Les Samuels, suffered the same fate in the quarter-final. Meanwhile Mike Rhodes progressed against Henry Arthur and then had a magnificent win against third seed Anthony Corbin in the quarter-final. Like the others before him, though, Mike was no match for the impressive Gehlot in the semi-final.
The bottom half of the draw was also providing some interesting match-ups. David Hadley, who had impressed on his way to runner-up spot in Group 3, then tore fourth seed Radovan Zivkovic apart, winning easily 3-0. However, a round later and he was upstaged by Kevin Nicholls in a tighter match but nevertheless again 3-0. Martin Gunn eased his way past Gordon Shaw and Scott Cooper, who had done very well to reach the quarter-final, then proved a step too far for Nicholls in the semi.
The consolation event was won by Paul Martindill who beat Trevor Davies in the final.
The tournament was organised by Graham Trimming, refereed by Sue Hayes and attracted a decent entry of 37 despite to the unfortunate clash of dates with the VETTS Eastern Masters.