BRITISH table tennis legend Desmond Douglas paid a surprise visit to Kidderminster Harriers Social Club for the local league’s finals night this week.
The 11 times English champion was a special guest at the Kidderminster & District Table Tennis League’s 72nd annual showcase.
Douglas travelled from his home in the West Midlands to witness what will probably be Adam Nutland’s last match for his home town league and, as a bonus, agreed to present some of the trophies on the night.
Nutland, who has reached number 18 in the English rankings, despite only taking up the sport eight years ago at the age of 13, is arguably the best player ever to come from Kidderminster. The 20-year-old has now decided to move to the south east to further his career as a professional player and coach.
Adam’s coaches, including Douglas who oversaw his development at Wolverhampton’s Woodfield club, turned out to see him off and the player’s parents Rob and Liz Nutland were guests of honour on the night.
As expected, he cruised to his fifth straight Open Singles title with another powerful display, overcoming the spirited resistance of Tom Savary 11-6,11-6,11-5.
Arguably the pick of the finals, however, was the Veterans’ clash between Bromley team mates Jason Thompson and Steve Horton. Horton, who had won this title for the past five seasons, started well and took the first two sets but Thompson gradually wore down the defender to take the decisive set 12-10.
There was further disappointment for Horton when he and Thompson lost the Open Doubles in straight sets three to Lee Horton and Pete Canavan. Horton and Thompson, did, however win the Veterans’ Doubles.
John Rowell triumphed in the Handicap Singles against Tim Giles, while Frank Carroll was relatively untroubled against promising youngster Oliver Lowe as he took his third straight Junior Singles title.
Carroll’s younger brother George won a tough battle against Dave Whittingslow for the Restricted Singles title (for players in divisions two and three). The league’s AGM will be held on May 15 at Harriers Social Club at 7.45.
All clubs must send a representative or face a fine.