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Saturday Events by Geoff Ware

Fourteen year old Alice Loveridge from Guernsey, in her first ever Tees Sport sponsored Butterfly Senior Grand Prix, took the gold medal in the Womenís Band One event on the first dayís play at the Wavertree Tennis Centre in Liverpool.

Guernsey, famous for its banking and as a tax haven, can now boast a very talented young lady who has the potential to make team GB for 2012, and with this in mind the BTTF based in Sheffield has surely made a sound offshore investment in Aliceís future, by placing her firmly in the Talent ID squad.

Alice was made to fight all the way to her debut title victory after a titanic struggle at the semi-final stage against another top junior, Karina Le Fevre in five close sets, and then follow up with a gutsy four set win over a very gallant Stephanie Donnelly in the final.

Stephanie had played extremely well to grind out a five set win against Claire Nelson at the quarter-final stage, and then take her place in the final with Alice after another great performance over Hannah Hicks in the semis.

The first Butterfly Grand Prix of the season had a truly international mixture of players, with contenders competing from the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Germany, and nearer to home a strong challenge from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Guernsey.

It was to be one of these visiting players that took the podium top spot in the Menís Band One competition. Nineteen year old Raphael Graf from Lieselheim in South West Germany took the winner's cheque for £60 in relative ease on his way to the title. Adam Laws caused the German the most problems in the group stage, going down in five sets, however from then on Graf got the better of young Zak Zilesnick in four sets, and  then went on to overcome Alim Hirji and Remi Petrosius, to take him to a final showdown with Hampshire Junior David McBeath. McBeath had enjoyed an excellent tournament, recording victories against Jonathan Crawford, Julien Gittens, Darren Reed, and then Richard Andrews at the last four stage. The final was a one sided affair with the German Division 3 player taking the title in straight sets.

A pattern was soon emerging of the younger players dominating all the banded events on the first dayís play in Liverpool.

The Womenís Band Two crown went to the dynamic young cadet superstar, Chloe Whyte from Cleveland, defeating Scotlandís Natasha Milliken in the final, and then went so close to taking the Womenís Band Three title, losing out in four tight sets to another top cadet, Laura Robinson from Yorkshire.

England number one in under 13s boys, Zak Zilesnick, was victorious in Menís Band Two, with a superlative performance against Chris Smith in an all action packed final. Both these juniors gave everything possible with some very hard hitting long topspin rallies covering all parts of the table, with Zilesnick just nicking it 11-8 in the fifth end.

Irelandís ever improving junior, Ashley Robinson, had a super day taking both Menís Band Three and Four titles, which puts him firmly in the hunt for player of the weekend. Ashley defeated Beijing bound Paralympian Will Bayley in a five set final, following up with another determined exhibition of top quality table tennis to take double gold against Warren Slaney in the Menís Band Three final.

Polandís Taj Kudryk shone in the 72 player entry of Menís Band Five, with a powerful performance against Nick Rate from Lincolnshire in five sets. Kudryk almost took Menís Band Six, losing out to Myles Collins from Avon in a four close set final.

The Liverpool "Player Focus" features one of the unsung heroes of the Grand Prix circuit. The legend called Helmuth Osborne is an ever popular competitor at these events and continues to try to pull himself out of Menís Band Six, after 4 years of competing. The 50 year old extremely likeable character with what can only be described as having an unorthodox playing style, just loves playing table tennis. A professional photographer by trade, Helmuth is regularly seen competing in the Worksop and Sheffield leagues in his spare evenings, and has been known to go anywhere in his quest to improve. Training camps and competitions have taken him as far afield as Jersey, Guernsey, Sweden, Hungary and Taiwan, with his claim to fame as having been the only competitor to participate in every Grand Prix and satellite event three years ago. For this achievement he was presented with a special award, and as his friends call it, "The Helmuth Osborne" trophy.
 

 

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Menís Band 2.
Zak Zilesnick (Mi) bt. Chris Smith (Dv) 11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8.
 

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Ashley Robinson after receiving his award for TeeSport player of the tournament

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Menís Band 6.
Myles Collins (Av) bt Taj Kudryk (POL) 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7.

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Menís Band 4.
Ashley Robinson (IRL) bt. Will Bayley (K) 11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7.
 

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Womenís Band 2.
Chloe Whyte (Cv) bt. Natasha Milliken (SCO) 11-5, 11-1, 11-5

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Womenís Band 3.
Laura Robinson (Ys) bt. Chloe Whyte (Cv) 12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9.

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Womenís Band 1.
Alice Loveridge (GGY) bt. Stephanie Donnelly (Cv) 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10.

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Menís Band 3.
Ashley Robinson (IRL) bt. Warren Slaney (Dy) 11-6, 12-10, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9.
 

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Menís Band 1.
Raphael Graf (Germany) bt. David McBeath (Ha) 12-10, 11-3, 11-8.
 

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A mention for the group stage victory by Liverpool League player, Peter Taylor who beat the England number 23 junior, Myles Evans. Peter, the 1954 Merseyside Open junior singles runner-up, was giving the Buckinghamshire youngster  55 years!!

 

Full results from day one as follows:
Menís Band 1.
Raphael Graf (Germany) bt. David McBeath (Ha) 12-10, 11-3, 11-8.
Menís Band 2.
Zak Zilesnick (Mi) bt. Chris Smith (Dv) 11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8.
Menís Band 3.
Ashley Robinson (IRL) bt. Warren Slaney (Dy) 11-6, 12-10, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9.
Menís Band 4.
Ashley Robinson (IRL) bt. Will Bayley (K) 11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7.
Menís Band 5.
Taj Kudryk (POL) bt. Nick Rate (Li) 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 10-12, 11-5.
Menís Band 6.
Myles Collins (Av) bt Taj Kudryk (POL) 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7.
Womenís Band 1.
Alice Loveridge (GGY) bt. Stephanie Donnelly (Cv) 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10.
Womenís Band 2.
Chloe Whyte (Cv) bt. Natasha Milliken (SCO) 11-5, 11-1, 11-5.
Womenís Band 3.
Laura Robinson (Ys) bt. Chloe Whyte (Cv) 12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9.

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