By Brian Croasdale
No new table tennis champion comes to the fore very easily. Mike Bradbury is Mr. Matlock, a force who can command respect by virtue of his pleasant character.
For me, the finals of the Matlock Closed Championships mark the end of the season with most players taking time off or, for the keen ones, gearing themselves up for the enjoyable Summer Leagues to come.
Last Saturday was the finals night, held at the Cromford Community Centre, and few really appreciated the treat that was in store for them.
Opening the night were the first two mens singles semi-finals in which Tony Gregory lost out to Mike Bradbury 10-12, 11-13, 5-11 and, somewhat surprisingly, John Davies lost out to Chesterfield’s Dave Kelly 11-7, 3-11, 12-14, 11-13.
The mens doubles was a tetchy affair in which favourites Geoff Gill and Mick Padley were beaten by Mike Bradbury and Graham Morson 7-11, 117, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9. The Veterans featured Geoff Gill against Mike Bradbury with the verdict this time going to Geoff.
After a short break, Dean Clayton teamed up with event organiser Pat Thorley, who played Mike Bradbury and Whitworth’s Jackie Cullen in the Mixed Doubles. Dean and Pat won this one.
The penultimate match was the Under 21s singles final with 13-year-old Tim Denby taking on Jake Meikle, an epic duel which had the crowd off their seats.
We were then faced with the showpiece of the night, the Mens Singles final, in which Mike Bradbury faced Dave Kelly. For those who thought Dave would be unable to repeat his performance in the semi final, we were wrong as he pushed Mike all the way.
n Gerald Finney, Matlock Development Officer, is arranging a coaching session at the Wirksworth Leisure Centre on April 26, from 2pm to 4pm. This is predominately for Anthony Gell School pupils, although other interested parties are welcome. Full details are available on 01629 824717.