Top juniors get state test

WHILE the city’s leading youngsters are competing in the Queensland Junior Championships this week at Bundaberg, all other players are enjoying a two-week break, courtesy of the school holidays.

Paula Hockings, Matthew Pettett, Rayden Smith, Enoch Pun, David Hockings and Melissa, Shaina and Hayden Green are representing Rockhampton at the state junior championships, in teams and individual events across three age groups. The ultimate goal is to reach the annual state ranking lists, while a bonus would be being selected to represent Queensland at the national junior championships later in the year.

On the local scene the season is unfolding nicely in open grade at the Rockhampton Table Tennis Centre. There have been no real surprises at the top end, as the leading players continue to return the best performances most of the time. However, there have been plenty of great battles between the front-runners.

Kerrod Coughlan, who has been in impressive form for most of this year, enjoyed his first competition victory at the expense of the experienced Darren Green in the last round of the Tuesday-night fixtures. Coughlan lost the first two games by the mandatory two-point margin and onlookers thought the more fancied Green would run away with the match, but the younger rival played a very controlled game to take the next two sets, to nine and six points, before setting up an incredible 13-11 win in the decider.

Joel Coughlan proved his superiority again when he cleaned up Jay Killoran in straight sets after a slow start by his usual standards. Erica Nolan brought her attractive, controlled, attacking game to the court and downed Jeff Green and James O’Sullivan. However, Green played well to push her to five long sets.

In a clash between the club’s best two left-handers, Dane Coughlan held out a solid challenge by leading junior Matt Pettett, who won the opening game 12-10 and looked like creating an upset. However, the experience of Coughlan was evident in the next two games, before the youngster fought back to level the encounter. Coughlan got out of the blocks early in the decider and took control of the outcome to conjure a victory in a clash that proved to be a great spectacle.

The Tuesday night B-grade competition continues to produce plenty of great clashes. In the last round Zenon Harabasz had too many aces for Phil Smith and Jiping Zhou. Young Enoch Pun showed that his recent good form was not a fluke when he ousted Chris Leitner in a narrow result in the deciding set, while Leitner survived a scare from Long Lieu when he narrowly won in a five-game duel.

Rayden Smith overpowered Geoffrey Pang three-zero and won a marathon from David Hockings over five sets. Melissa Green posted a good win over Geoffrey Pang, 14-12 in the decider.

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