Monday 23 September 2013

Team Lines Drawn for NZ Senior Champs 2013

The teams are ready to go for the NZ Senior Table Tennis Championships which are set to kick off on the 2nd October, just over a week away. The big teams will clash another year with Canterbury fielding strong teams and hoping to claim the top spot on home turf. With the experience of Jong Eub Han leading the top Christchurch team and a powerful combination of top players, Yi-Sien Lin and Malcolm Darroch, joined by Czech player Ivo Mikulec, it will likely be Canterbury presenting the biggest challenge to defending champions Auckland.

Auckland 1 team member John Cordue
Image courtesy of Murray Finch
With top NZ ranked Phillip Xiao absent from the Auckland 1 team it will be the task of 2 time National Champ Teng Teng Liu along with John Cordue, Josh Alexandre and Kevin Wu to put the pressure on the locals in order to retain their title. A fairly evenly balanced competition, it will be interesting to see how this competition goes down. Both regions also field strong second teams with Auckland 2 comprising of Zhiyang Cheng, Ollie Scarlett, Aaron Gong and Craig Dye while Canterbury's Stuart Armstrong, Simon Fenwick and Jonathan Wang are joined by Canterbury's second Czech player Pavel Daněk.

Otago will grace the A grade for the first time in some years with the usual strong contender Ben Duffy being joined by two international companions. Miroslav (Mirek) Janča and Jesper Villadsen join the Otago team from Czech Republic and Denmark respectively and add a wealth of playing experience and ability to the team. This presents a great challenge to the top teams and Otago will look to capitalise on the opportunities presented, joining Auckland 1, Canterbury 2 and North Harbour in the group round.

Victor Pollett in North Harbour Team
Image courtesy of Murray Finch
North Harbour fields the young combination of Victor Pollett and Bryn Lindsay, joined under the direction of 2005 NZ Champion Brad Chen. No doubt Brad will look to lead the team while Pollett and Lindsay look to capture some top level wins in a tough grade. 

Manawatu are fielding one of their strongest teams in many years. Typically the team lead by Matthew Ball and Tim Seaholme has fielded a slightly weaker 3rd player and forced Manawatu into grading in many occasions. In 2013 the two regulars are joined by Wellington Open champion Lei (Jerry) Zhang and Mike Tate-Davis, a team with plenty of potential to cause some upsets. They join Canterbury 1 and Auckland 2 in their group along with the winner of a very tight grading match.

Grading will see just 2 teams clash for the 8th spot in the draw of fairly even callibre and no real way of knowing who may advance. Mentality, determination and drive will be big factors on the day as Wellington and Waikato go head to head in a battle of nerve. Wellington led by Ben Collins with Paul Brown, Depak Patel and Paul Solt in support while Waikato's Matt Hetherington is joined by young World Hopes Team member Yanglun Zhao along with Paul Whitehead and Daniel Delbourgo. The match is sure to be entertaining as both teams put it all on the line to try and make the top grade.

Timea Tapai leads Canterbury Team
Image courtesy of Murray Finch
The Women's Team event will see the return of two former Auckland team players in Korean defensive player Jung Mi Kim and short pips attacker Sophie Shu. Joined by former NZ champ Vicky Yang and the highly rated Sara Hu, the team is surely a force to be reckoned with. Canterbury's hopes are lead by reigning national champion Timea Tapai joined by the younger Angel Huang and Mariam Seif along with Mimi Walle, the Canterbury players will surely look to press the home side advantage, with Timi driving the team it will be up to Angel, Mariam and Mimi to provide a strong support to bring home the wins for the local team. 

Manawatu are lead by the strong combination of Natalie Paterson and Catherine Zhou, both top ranked players and supported with draft player Taylor Nesbitt. Paterson will no doubt be looking to continue improving on a strong year after appearing in the North Island Championships final, by fighting for more top level wins against the strong opposition.

Waikato's Armindeep Singh and Jessica Macaskill are accompanied by Barbara Perry and again, the pair who have consistently been ranked in the top 10 women in the country will be fighting to seal some victories for the Waikato team.

Otago's team will be graced by two time NZ Open Champion and TTNZ Hall of Fame member, Yvonne Fogarty. The veteran player has come back to table tennis and will no doubt be full of inspiring stories for her teammates, Emma Paton and Debra King. Fogarty part of a long running family line of table tennis players was a bronze medallist at the 1973 Commonwealth Championships and was a strong international representative for New Zealand during her peak.

1 comment:

  1. Where do we find the draws for the team event Matt? :)


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