Vetts Southern Masters
A report on the recent Vetts Southern Masters competition
The weekend of 13/14 February saw the Southern Masters table tennis tournament played in Crawley South London (one of six such national tournaments each year), and Phil Cawser was there from Pudsey. Having won his group matches on the Saturday, he nearly fell in the first round on Sunday to a fast blocker from London, hanging on grimly to win deuce in the fifth.
Phil then won two tight matches playing more freely, before waiting to play a quarter-final against Tony Clayton from Dorset who some will remember was England No 3 in the Seventies/Eighties. However Tony lost a titanic scrap to a six foot 4 inch penhold, no-sponge-pimples blocker who blasted almost every ball and they went on. So, Phil took on the man he nicknamed Jaws and, having lost to him in their only previous meeting, changed tactics and slow rolled him to the backhand and blasted topspins wide down his forehand. Another deuce-in-the-fifth cliffhanger went Phil’s way.
In the semi, Phil met Herbert Neubauer, the legendary Swiss pimple blocker and inventor/producer of the dastardly range of long pimple rubbers beloved by players around the world. Herbert was playing with his latest inventions (Granville, eat your heart out!). Phil essentially used the same tactics, slow roll to the backhand corner and flat-out loop wide to the forehand, and won in three very close games.
Brian Johns, former top 10 England player, waited in the tournament final. Phil came out like a rocket and won the first two games. "I was moving well & caught him cold" said Phil, "but as his touch improved, he began to give me less & less chances to attack him, and his short game is where his class really tells. He started to pick off the first small chance each time." Phil eventually went down 8-11 in the final game but admitted he was extremely pleased with how well he had played against top quality opposition. Phil also admitted he never fails to be surprised by how many parts of the human body can ache after a day like that!
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Posted 16 Feb 2016, 09:02