Marsh, Greaves top Haslam TT
Christopher Marsh of Kingston and Desreen Greaves of St Thomas dominated the inaugural Orville Haslam Challenge Cup, staged at the William Knibb Memorial High School on National Heroes Day. Marsh capped a solid display of table tennis by outpointing Peter Moo Young 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6 in the men's final while Greaves was untouchable in her trips to the table in a round robin women's competition. Both earned $30,000 for their effort in an event put on by the Trelawny Table Tennis Association.
Marsh and Moo Young, who between them have five Jamaica men's singles titles, cruised through their pre-liminary-round groups and their semi-finals. Marsh eased past Commonwealth Games Trials third-placer Alphanso Morris three games to zero in his semi while Moo Young, who rarely plays tournaments now, was comfortable in a 3-0 win over England-based David Williams in the other semi. Those results set up a rematch of the 2000 National final when Marsh won the first of his three national titles.
SHREWD BALL PLACEMENT
Moo Young got off to the fastest start and led 5-1, but the tall left-handed Marsh levelled at 9-9 and battered two heavy forehand topspin drives to win 11-9. After he took the second game 11-6 and moved to 8-6 in game three, an early end to the proceedings looked imminent. However, shrewd ball placement by Moo Young, the 2008 and 2009 national champion, brought the score to 8-8, 9-9 and eventually he won 11-9.
In game four, Marsh got the 5-1 lead and with his backhand serve making opening for his heavy topspin he eased away to win 11-6 to complete a match watched closely by national coach Satoshi Takashima.
Marsh said afterwards, "the table is taking a lot of spin, so I just used that serve specifically with a little backspin and that did the trick."
The vanquished Moo Young was gracious in defeat.
"He's playing very well ... I need to work on my fitness but he's playing very well."
Greaves' opponents included her former national team colleagues Elaine McKoy and Cecile Dennis but she was supreme. She reckoned that her win was due to the training she once did with national coaches like Winston Cowans and Donald Salmon.
"It is what we call foundation training through persons like Mr Cowans, Donald Salmon," Greaves said.
Haslam won the Caribbean men's singles from 1967 to 1971 and later served as coach and president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association.
Ron Lawrence, the president of the Trelawny Table Tennis Association, intimated the event has gotten off to a good start.
"We would have loved more support from the general public", he admitted, "however, the titans themselves came out and we are very appreciative of it." He believed that the children present learnt a lot. Speaking before the men's final, he commented, "They have the best to learn from and what they have seen on display today is mastery of table tennis at its best."