Great show of talents

HIGH-quality play continued at the city's annual closed championships at the Leichhardt Park Table Tennis Centre during the week.

Despite the withdrawal of a leading player in each of the two premier singles events a great show of talent unfolded.

The men's singles was robbed of the presence of the high-profile of Darren Green due to an illness in his family but Scott Headon stepped up to the plate and emerged from the bottom half of the draw to reach the final. Onlookers considered Headon's performance to be the best of his career on his way to the play-off. Among other great results he created a special effort to down second favourite Dane Coughlan early in the draw and played a determined game to overpower the improved Kerrod Coughlan in the semis.

On the other side of the draw the top seeded Joel Coughlan performed according to plan and reached the gold medal match after a solid clash against Jay Killoran in the semis. Headon really put it to Coughlan in the decider and in an exceptional best of seven game final won two sets and really pushed hard in the others. While Coughlan won the contest Headon really displayed that he has plenty of ability.

Multiple victor of the women's singles Erica Nolan was a late withdrawal due to illness. This effectively made the shot at the title for Susan Jones much easier and she travelled through the rounds proving too good for Paula Hockings, Anne-Louise Stewart and Helga Leitner. Jones lined up against Pam Clarke in the final clash and her powerful game set up a win but after dropping one set and being pushed in another.

Joel Coughlan made it a double when he partnered Craig Ottaway to create a straight sets win in the open doubles over Gerard Watts and Jay Killoran. There were plenty of tough clashes in the earlier rounds with many narrow score-lines. Watts confirmed favouritism in the veteran singles with a skinny win over the in-form Ann-Louise Stewart.

In the B-grade hit-out Jason Warr lived up to expectations when he overpowered the second seeded Steven Black three games to one in the final of the singles while he and doubles partner Chris Leitner lost the final of the doubles to Matthew Pettett and Dave Milverton 11-8, 11-9, 12-10. The consolation singles event in this grade was won by Jipping Zhou over young David Hockings in a long five sets duel.

The city's leading junior boy, Kerrod Coughlan, took out the major junior singles event when he held out a determined effort by Kent Jacobsen. The victor lead by two sets to zero before the challenger struck back with a strong win in the third set. Coughlan took control early in the fourth game and while Jacobsen struck back later he only came within a few points of extending the encounter to a decider.

Paula Hockings just prevailed over Enoch Pun in the second section in a come from behind effort 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5. In an exceptionally exciting match Matthew Pettett and David Hockings combined brilliantly to win the junior doubles over five great games against Kerrod Coughlan and Riley Steffan.

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