Hendersonville First Baptist Church-Newgy Table Tennis Open – Roger Dickson

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It was a busy table tennis week in Middle Tennessee as the TN Sr. Games Table Tennis events were completed on Tuesday, July 17 and 41 players came to the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee for a fun, yet spirited event on Saturday, July 21!

Two players drove from Kentucky and one each from Cookeville & Jackson, Tennessee, just for some good matches against new opponents. In the Open, Slawomir “Swavik” Waclawik took a day off from his custom bass shop to see if he could repeat as Open Champion. Challenging Swavik for the honors were Roger Jett from Paducah KY, Daniel Fang of Brentwood, Tennessee and Shaun Stallings, returning to competition after a few months break.

The top two seeded players – Swavik and Roger Jett roll through their groups with little pressure. The big upsets in group play involved Daniel Fang, Shaun Stallings, Jim Campbell and Fort Campbell, Kentucky’s David Girdner. David defeated Daniel 3-1, but then lost 1-3 to Brian Rassavong! If Brian wins or loses 2-3 against Daniel he will advance as 1st place in the group to the Semi-Finals, but Daniel has other plans and quickly ends both Brian and David’s plans with a 3-0 win and breaks the tie in his own favor! The other upset was Jim Campbell over Shaun Stallings, having just won gold at the Sr. Games, Jim kept up the pressure and mixed up his offense.

So the Open Semi’s were set Swavik vs. Jim and Roger vs. Daniel, the match proven top seeds advanced to the final while Jim and Daniel faced off for 3rd. Usually Jim is the quick hitter and counter attacker, but Daniel was too strong on his first attack and Jim adjusted by reversing roles and attacking with spin first! Once again Jim pulls off the upset and captures 3rd!

In the Final Roger came out blasting his forehand and forcing errors from Swavik’s backhand side to go up two games to zero! Suddenly Swavik quit making mistakes and starting forcing a few from Roger to get it even at two games each! The King of Comebacks completed his journey by getting a lead then not letting up, ending Rogers’ dreams - with a short side /top serve that Roger put a little too high to Swavik’s stinging  backhand kill!

In finishing his Class A final Brad McClung –soon to be freshman at Lee University- told me Harrison Ngo couldn’t have picked a better time for a first time win (12,4,-14,9) for Harrison! Both Harrison and Brad came out as the #2 players from Group play to get to the Finals! Scott Hogan somehow found a will to win against the ever smiling Akiko Nakamura –the ladies champion over Song “Sunny” Reed of Clarksville, Tennessee. Takumi and Akiko are here with Takumi’s employer and are enjoying the competitions in the area.

In Class B there was no clear favorites going in as the players have never played in competition before, but everyone was afraid of Peng Zheng and his left handed attack! Recently relocated to Hendersonville, Peng is just getting back to playing. Jason Pennington got by Peng at 9,9,9 to win Group 2 and was happy at that! Darin Lloyd rolled through Group 1 and was rewarded by getting to play Peng and 2nd place finisher Clay Walker would face Jason in the other semi-final! Sometimes the seeds hold true as both 1st place group winners advance to the final! Jason used a bit more power to get by Darin in a well played final by both guys!

Bob Carpenter was quite amused to FINALLY win a 1st place trophy and it was at Joe Newgarden’s expense! Class C was a mixed group with Mary Walker joining the boys for more match experience than she got at the Sr. Games this year due to defaults there, but she couldn’t get a game from these two wiley veterans!

With 5 players in the Youth division, the draw was really important as it was twins (Ryan & Drew Stallings), a brother & sister (Matthew & Abigail Mason) and Jacob Miller. Jacob has the big advantage as he trains frequently at the Newgy Table Tennis Center AND is left handed! When the dust settles Jacob comes out 1st with no losses and Drew battled his way to 2nd!

Thanks to all those who volunteered their time & effort and I will keep you posted on the next event date!

Roger Dickson

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