Thursday, 11 October 2012

Auckland Sweep NZ Men's Team Title

Once again at the NZ Senior Table Tennis Championships it was Auckland who claimed both the men's and women's team shields after convincing wins in the finals over opposing teams, Canterbury in the men's and Auckland 2 in the women's.

John Cordue for Canterbury 1
Photo Courtesy of Murray Finch
The road to the final was no stress for Auckland 1 with the strongest team in the country. They claimed a 7-0 win over Waikato in their first matchup, showing they were ready for business. Canterbury also won 7-0 over Wellington while Brad Chen saved 1 match for Xi'an to beat North Harbour 6-1. Manawatu who had won their grading match over Canterbury 2 fell 5-2 to Auckland 2, with Matt Ball leading a 3-0 win over Ben Collins and the reliable old team of Tim Seaholme and Matt Ball combining to win the doubles over Oliver Scarlett and Josh Alexandre.

Auckland 1's first appearance against Canterbury ended quickly with Teng Teng Liu, Phillip Xiao and Kevin Wu on good form, winning the initial 3 singles in straight sets then finishing the match off by winning the doubles. Kevin Wu was the only player not to substitute after the result and fell into the trap with a 3-1 loss to Yi-Sien Lin.

The outstanding result came from Auckland 2, Josh, Ollie and Wayne Gear combined to lead a 5-2 win over the visiting team from Xi'an, China. All 3 players shared a 3-0 win in one of their matches with Roger Rao subbing in for the doubles to win that and then Oliver winning his 2nd singles 3-1. A top result and a crucial one for the finals draw. Following that, Auckland 2 suffered defeated by North Harbour 4-3. Brad Chen won his 2 singles comfortably while Mitchell Barker won the final match against Josh Alexandre 3-0 to seal a 4-3 win for Harbour.

Teng Teng Liu for Auckland 1
Image Courtesy of Murray Finch
In the semifinals it was Auckland 1 sweeping Xi'an winning the first 3 singles, afterwhich the visiting team decided to call it quits. A 4-0 result and a place in the final. Canterbury 1 won 4-1 over Auckland 2, Josh Alexandre took his win over Malcolm Darroch in 5 sets.

The finals were a one way street for Auckland with plenty of fight from Canterbury. Malcolm Darroch lead out strongly in the start of each set against Phillip Xiao but was unable to close out towards the end, Phillip held himself confidently to win 3-0 and take the first match for Auckland. The 2nd match was pure entertainment, Yi-Sien Lin put up a great fight against Teng Teng Liu, losing 3-1 but having plenty of chance to go to 5. Unfortunately a fault serve at 11-10 up in the 4th cost him and despite having played some amazing backhands and putting some pressure on his opponent it was still Auckland who led 2-0. John Cordue bit back with a 3-1 win over Kevin Wu and in the doubles, 2 common partnerships clashed. John Cordue and Yi-Sien Lin being well known for pairing in Canterbury teams in the past, however the fresher team of Kevin Wu and Teng Teng Liu took the game with ease 3-0, Auckland needing just one more for victory. Phillip Xiao was the man to finish Canterbury off with a smashing 3-0 win over Yi-Sien Lin, a far cry from the 4-3 win months ago at the North Island Championships.

So again it is Auckland who hold the Men's Team Shield. Teng Teng Liu, Phillip Xiao, Kevin Wu, Zhiyang Cheng and Daniel Lowe (Auckland 1) are the winners of the 2012 NZ Senior Championships Men's A Grade Teams.

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