Superior Rocky team wins back the holy grail
TABLE TENNIS: A group of local players made amends for the loss of the Cree Shield to Bundaberg in 2016 with an emphatic victory at the Leichhardt Park playing centre last Saturday.
For more than 45 years the Rockhampton and Bundaberg clubs have engaged in an intercity clash on an annual basis and the current trophy, the Eric Cree Shield, was won by Bundy late in 2016 after hanging on a wall in the Rocky club house for the previous seven years in a row.
The two clubs take it in turns to travel and this year it was Bundaberg’s turn for a road trip. However, the locals were very keen to win back the shield that has become the holy grail, as far as trophies are concerned, between these two cities.
Overall, the result looks quite one-sided but a lot of the individual clashes were closer than the final result indicates. The shield was returned to Rockhampton with a resounding five matches to one victory.
In division one Rayden Smith, Dane Coughlan and Matthew Pettett lined up against the best heavy-hitters Bundy could muster for the trip in young Sam Freeman along with veterans Peter Spratley and Andrew McCurley.
Spratley excelled when he blasted Coughlan in a straight sets encounter to level at one apiece after Smith beat Freeman in the first round. After that Rockhampton took control though Bundaberg were unlucky not to post a win when Freeman went down to Coughlan 13-11 in the fifth set decider, and Spratley stole a game from both Pettett and Smith and McCurley did likewise when pitted against Smith.
A similar situation developed in division two with the visiting captain Dave Delpratt prevailing over Ann-Louise Stewart in apparent easy fashion and despite some titanic battles Rocky won the court comfortably, according to the score sheet. James O’Sullivan was probably lucky to edge out Jeff Loughran 12-10 in the decider and Stewart crept home over Pieter Poldervaart 11-9 in the deciding game. O’Sullivan won a tight contest over Delpratt and Stewart conjured a good win over Loughran in four. Gary Walmsley was too solid for the victors and didn’t lose a set in his singles rounds and both doubles ties were close encounters.
Jeff Green, Dave Hockings and improving junior Matthew Steffen had too much firepower for Andrew Udal, Travis McDermid and Sammy William in the showdown in the third section while Linda O’Sullivan, Craig Ottaway and Paula Hockings combined well in fourth division to create a solid victory. Jim Butling, Deleece McDonald and Nev Newitt put on a bold challenge for the visitors.
In fifth division Patricia Green, Dave Milverton and Brent Rodgers had too many answers for the young side of Kye Meuli, Matt Udal and Kain Chantarat. Bundaberg’s win came in the sixth section with Meg Freeman edging out Nick Green 13-11, 4-11, 8-11,11-8, 11-8 in the deciding rubber when the match was tied at five rubbers apiece.
Green and fellow juniors Emily Stewart, Rachael Headon and Dylan Rowley fell at the last hurdle with Freeman, Tayla Scott and Pat Rodgers surviving some tough clashes to set up the skinny win.