Jacqui Wood picked up four medals. Photo: Supplied.

Medals galore for table tennis contingent

The eight-strong Marlborough contingent at the South Island championships staged in Timaru returned with 14 medals.

Jacqui Wood was the most prolific of the local crew, claiming four medals.

She performed strongly in the A grade singles, beating second seed Shelley Neal from Otago, then Manawatu junior Abbey Webb to top the pool.

In the semis she was up against Jill Liu, the No 1 seed, and although losing in six sets she performed well against the nation’s No 11 player.

Jacqui won the B grade singles, giving her the “double” as she won the equivalent event at the North Island championships in July.

She was paired with A grade singles champion Takai Ngata-Henare from Northland in the women’s doubles and they took the title with an 11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8 win over Jill and Shelley.

Jacqui is the third Marlborough player to win this title following Megan Stratford and earlier Debbie Stratford (nee Looms).

Jacqui combined with Nathan Watson in the mixed doubles and they reached the final, losing to Canterbury’s Craig Dye and Shelley in four sets.

Nathan also had a good day. In A grade qualifying he beat fourth seed Craig 13-11, 1-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-9, his first win against an opponent ranked 35 nationally.

In the quarter-final, he lost to the third seed, Jesse Wilson in six sets.

Nathan won both titles in the B grade. In the singles final he beat Otago’s Tavish Voight 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8. Then he combined with Alex Kennedy to take out the men’s doubles over Tavish and fellow Otago player, Isaac Hobbs.

In the C grade, Matt Pigou beat Alex in the quarter-final of the men’s singles and went on to reach the final against Otago’s Willie Brocks, losing 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8. Matt combined with Alex in the men’s doubles where they lost to Willie and Canterbury’s Derek Partridge in the final. Matt and Alex reached the semi-finals of  the B grade singles, Matt losing to Nathan and Alex to Tavish.

Vanessa Wood-Lin made the quarter-finals of the under-18 girls singles, losing to the eventual finalist. In the under-21 grade, she reached the final of the doubles with Canterbury’s Aarya Advilkar, before losing to the top seeds.

Hannah Smit paired with Takai in the girls’ under-18 doubles, reaching the semi-finals and picking up a bronze medal.

Warren Haszard won a silver medal in the men’s D grade after a countback of points, while Marion Wood lost in four sets to Canterbury’s Flora Lin in the final of the women’s over-60 singles.


Marlborough’s Medals


Jacqui – A Grade WD, B Grade WS; Nathan – B Grade MS; Nathan/Alex – B Grade MD


Jacqui/Nathan – A Grade XD; Matt – C Grade M/S; Matt/Alex – C Grade MD; Warren – D Grade MS; Marion O-60 WS; Vanessa – U-21 WD Bronze

Jacqui – A Grade WS; Alex – B Grade MS; Matt – B Grade MS; Hannah – U18 GD

Nathan Watson topped the men’s rankings again this season. Photo: Supplied.

Table tennis success celebrated

A season of successes, both at home and around the country, was recognised by the Marlborough table tennis fraternity at their annual dinner.

A grade team competition winners for the were Jnr, comprising Nathan Watson, Rory Osborne and Joseph Ruwhiu, with Unorthodox Rubbers (Simon Bishell, Jeff Sawyer, Malcolm Honour) being runners-up. Third was Ken’s Team (Ken Thompsett , Billy Hebberd and Peter Cowdrey).

First round winners were Two and a Half Men (Matt Millar, Rob Honour and Rory Osborne) with Forrest Gump (Zac Cowdrey, Billy Hebberd and Vanessa Wood-Lin) runners-up.

Alex Kennedy was named Most Conscientious Club member, while the Most Improved Male Player was Malcolm Honour. Vanessa Wood-Lin was voted the Most Improved Female Player and was confirmed as the Marlborough Sports Awards Nominee.

High achievement at various national events was also recognised. The Marlborough Girls’ College team of Vanessa Wood-Lin, Hannah Smit, Sophie Woodhouse and coach Megan Stratford won the National Girls’ Title and the Tasman Secondary Schools.

Nathan Watson, Alex Kennedy, Matt Pigou, Jacqui Wood and Vanessa Wood-Lin won medals at the national championships in Christchurch while Jacqui, Vanessa and Warren Haszard medalled at the South Island Championships in Invercargill.


Season’s rankings

Men: 1 Nathan Watson, 2 Alex Kennedy, 3 Matt Millar.

Women: 1 Jacqui Wood, 2 Vanessa Wood-Lin, 3 Kylie Hurren.

Under-18 boys: 1 Rory Osborne, 2 Joseph Ruwhiu, 3 Peyton Ritchie.

Under-18 girls: 1 Vanessa Wood-Lin, 2 Hannah Smit, 3 Sophie Woodhouse.

Under-15 boys: 1 Rory Osborne, 2 Joseph Ruwhiu, 3 Peyton Ritchie.

Under-13 boys: 1 Peyton Ritchie, 2 Theo Sandford-Jury, 3 Tama Cresswell.

Marlborough-based players competed with distinction at the recent national table tennis championships. Photo: Supplied.

Table tennis players show skills at nationals

Marlborough-based players competed with distinction at the recent national table tennis championships in Christchurch, claiming several medals.

In the senior section, Alex Kennedy took part in the B grade men’s teams competition with two players from Sri Lanka. They won four out of five matches, Alex beating current NZ under-18 champion Jason Sivilay in a team win against Waitemata 2. In the individual events he qualified for post section play, losing to team-mate and eventual B grade winner Helitha Hendawitharana. In C grade, Alex was seeded eighth but made his way to the final losing to the top seed.

Alex and Matt Pigou played well in the C grade doubles, beating the top seeds in the quarter-final before bowing out in the semis.

Nathan Watson was part of the Manawatu 2 team that finished third in B grade. He was seeded second in the B grade doubles with Nelson’s Daniel Astle, and they reached the semi-final, losing to an unseeded pair who went on to beat the top seeds in the final. Nathan beat the well-performed David Walle of Canterbury in qualifying for A Grade, making the main draw.

Jacqui Wood was drafted into the Manawatu women’s team, who finished sixth in a quality field. In the individual events, she reached the final of the over-30 singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. In B grade qualifying she lost to top seed and eventual winner Kris Alisch of Canterbury  in five close sets.

Jacqui paired with her daughter Vanessa in the open women’s doubles, taking a set from the top seeds who went on to win the title. In the open mixed doubles she paired with Hasitha Samaraweera and they won a round before bowing out to Dean Shu and Kiwi table tennis legend Li Chunli.

Matt Pigou played only in the individual events but had a superb tournament. In addition to a bronze medal in the C grade men’s doubles with Alex, he reached the quarter-finals of the C grade singles, losing to eventual winner Jay Zhu.

In the D grade singles, Matt beat both the third and second seeds before losing in the semi-final to the fourth seed, bagging another bronze medal.

Youngster Vanessa Wood-Lin played for Canterbury 3 in the women’s teams and won both her singles matches against Australia in a 4-3 win.

Rob Honour, playing in his first nationals, teamed up with Matt and they were just pipped 16-14 in the fifth set against the fourth seeds who later claimed the title.

Megan Stratford, a former NZ title-holder, played in the open mixed doubles  with Rob.

Malcolm Honour, also playing his first nationals, came up against top seeds in the over-45, over-55 and D grades.


Vanessa reached the final of the girls’ under-15 doubles with her regular partner Lydia Mercer-Beumelburg of Canterbury.

The girls, who were seeded fourth, beat the number one seeds in the semi-final before losing to the second seeded pair of Annie Chen and Takaimaania Ngata-Henare in a close five-set decider.

Vanessa excelled in the singles, reaching the last 16 in both the under-18 girls’ singles and under-15 girls’ singles. In the last event, she lost to Joanna Yang, who went on to win the title.

In the teams event, playing for Canterbury 1 in the girls under-18 grade, Vanessa won seven matches from nine starts.

The Marlborough under-15 boys’ Team of Rory Osborne, Joseph Ruwhiu and Peyton Ritchie competed in the B grade with their closest match coming against Canterbury 2, losing 4-3.

In earlier matches , the boys lost 6-1 to Bay of Plenty, Southland 5-2, and to Counties-Manukau who won the grade.

Hannah Smit was a draft player who played for Presidents 1 in the girls’ under-18 grade. She won a single and a double against Presidents 2 in a 7-0 win and was part of the team that lost to Australia 4-3.

Nathan Watson’s interclub team prevailed by the narrowest of margins. Photo: Supplied.

Destination of table tennis trophies decided

Marlborough’s table tennis fraternity have been busy over the past week with the interclub competition winding up and the annual Town v Country battle taking place.

The Town v Country Cup literally went west on Tuesday when Wairau Valley’s Peter Wells and his Country team beat their Town counterparts by 48-36.

After knocking on the door last year, Country tore the hinges off it this year with 20 of their 21 players winning singles and the other player claiming a doubles win.

Section 1 saw the province’s top players in action, with Town prevailing 7-5. Matt Millar and Matt Pigou won two each, while Town won the doubles 2-1. Nathan Watson was in good touch, winning his three singles comfortably.

Section 2 was very competitive with Zac Cowdrey, Josh Sim and Simon Bishell winning two each to give Country a 7-5 win.

Section 3 was won by Country 9-3. Billy Hebberd had to work hard to get his three wins, but produced his best shots when the pressure was on. Vanessa Wood-Lin won two singles and was just pipped 11-9 in the fifth by Kylie Hurren

Town took the fourth Section 8-4. John Diamanti led the way from the number one position with three wins.

Section 5 was won by Town 7-5. Peter Welsh continued his good inter-club form, picking up three singles and two doubles wins.

Country won Section 6 9-3 with left hander David Smith undefeated playing at number one.

Juniors were to the fore as Country won Section 7 by 9-3, Marlborough’s number two junior, Hannah Smit, winning three singles while Theo Sandford-Jury, a member of the Marlborough under-13 and under-18 teams, didn’t lose a set in his singles matches.


Tarrant Cup

Meanwhile, the final destination of table tennis’s Tarrant Cup was decided in the last match between winners Jnr and Alex’s Team.

When the Jnr combination of Nathan Watson and Rory Osborne beat Alex Kennedy and John Diamanti in five sets on the final night the match score sat at six mates all, with games level at 22.

Eventually, Jnr gained the bonus point on a countback of points, ultimately shading their rivals by a single point, 399 to 398.

Earlier, Watson won his three singles, to give him 27 wins out of 27 starts in the second round.


Final Points
Jnr (Nathan) 70, Unorthodox Rubbers (Simon) 68, Ken’s Team 65, Lost in the Woods (Jacqui) 63, Alex’s Team 59, Gone Loopy (Matt Pigou) 55, PJ’s (Jason) 54, Team Zac 53, Combination Fried Rice (Ping) 50, MSR (Matt Millar) 48


Player Statistics (Top 20)

The Top 6 have been brilliant all season with the matches between them being of high quality. All six players played for Marlborough in the South Island Teams in Christchurch in June.  The Top 6 is a hard “club” to get into, as out of 250 singles matches that they played outside the Top 6, only one was lost.

Nathan Watson – first round won 26, played 27, second round 27/27 98%; Matt Millar – 25/27, 20/21 94%; Matthias Krönert  25/27, 3/3 93% (first round plus one match as fill-in in second round); Alex Kennedy 22/24, 24/27 90%; Jacqui Wood 23/27, 21/24 86%; Matt Pigou 17/21, 18/21 83%; Ping Muanwong 20/27 74% (second round only); Jason Kennedy  17/24, 20/27 73%; Ken Thompsett 19/27, 19/27 70%; Billy Hebberd 11/21, 20/27 65%; Simon Bishell 14/21, 11/18 64%; Jeff Sawyer 16/27, 17/27 61%; Zac Cowdrey 18/27, 24/27 59%; Josh Sim 13/24, 16/27 57%; Vanessa Wood-Lin 11/21, 16/27 56%; Warren Haszard 13/27, 12/21 52%; Rob Honour 14/27 ,14/27 52%; Kylie Hurren 14/27, 13/27 50%; Rory Osborne 11/24, 13/27 47%; John Diamanti 12/27, 10/21 46%.

Jacqui Wood and Nathan Watson take on Matt Pigou (serving) and Matthias Krönert in the Marlborough champs. Photo: Supplied.

Watson, Wood hold onto singles titles

Nathan Watson and Jacqui Wood retained their singles crowns at the Alpine Motel Marlborough closed table tennis championships on Saturday.

In a repeat of the 2018 final, Nathan beat Alex Kennedy 12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 in another high-quality encounter between these two.

Both played some superb attacking shots, Alex hitting a string of winners to level the games scores at 2-2 before Nathan turned on the power in the next two games to take the match.

Nathan had a tough match in the semi-final against Matthias Krönert who pushed, chopped and hit to square up at two sets all before Nathan again found another gear to prevail 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8.

Alex reached the final with a win over Matt Millar. In the quarter finals, Alex had a great match with Matt Pigou, taking it

11-8, 10-12, 15-17, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 with both players firing forehands at each other.

The two singles finalists combined to win the men’s doubles final 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 over Matthias and Matt Pigou.

Jacqui beat her daughter Vanessa Wood-Lin in the women’s final 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5. Jacqui was able to score points with powerful topspin but the left-handed Vanessa did well to win the second set with some cross-court forehand winners.

The mother/daughter combination, who reached the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the South Island champs last week, beat Kylie Hurren and Megan Stratford 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 in the women’s doubles final.

Alex and Vanessa beat Jason Kennedy and Jacqui 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 14-12 in the final of the mixed doubles.

In the final of the under-21 singles, Alex beat Vanessa 11-6, 11-5, 11-5.

In the 22-39 grade, Nathan beat Matthias in four sets in the final.

Matt Millar dominated the over-40 grade, winning three titles. In the men’s singles final he beat Jason Kennedy in straight sets. The two singles finalists then combined for a win in the open doubles over Kylie and Kristin Ruwhiu.

His third title was gained when he paired with Kylie for a 13-11, 11-13, 11-5, 9-11, 15-13 win over Jason and Kristin.

Kylie took the women’s singles title from Marion Wood.

Second seed, Warren Haszard, beat top-ranked Ken Thompsett in the final of the over-50 singles while Malcolm Honour beat Peter Welsh 11-9, 11-5, 11-13, 11-4 in the final of the over-60s.


Other titles decided:

Men’s Singles Plate: Peter Welsh bt Malcolm Honour 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8. Under-21 Open Doubles: Alex Kennedy/Josh Sim bt Vanessa Wood-Lin/Joseph Ruwhiu 12-10, 11-3, 12-10. 22-39 Doubles: Matthias Krönert/Matt Pigou bt Nathan Watson/Jacqui Wood 2-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7. Over-50 Doubles: Warren Haszard/Malcolm Honour bt Peter Cowdrey/Peter Welsh 11-8, 11-9,11-5. Over-60 Doubles: Warren Haszard/Malcolm Honour bt Steve Rowsell/Peter Wells 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.

SI champs

Meanwhile Jacqui Wood, Vanessa Wood-Lin and Warren Haszard competed in the South island individual championships in Invercargill the previous weekend, bringing back 11 medals – seven gold and four silver.

Jacqui was in a tough qualifying group in the women’s singles, losing to Canterbury’s Jianyi Zhou who went on to win the title.

Jacqui combined with men’s singles winner Hongyi Li in the mixed doubles, where they reached the final, then she paired with Southland’s Shelley Neal in the over-30 combined doubles and the B grade women’s doubles, winning both titles. Her third title came in the over-30 mixed doubles when she paired with Southland’s Jeremy Gibson for a win over the top seeds.

Jacqui lost close matches to Shelley, a member of the NZ squad, in the finals of the over-30 and B grade singles.

Warren won gold medals in the D grade doubles, the over-60 men’s doubles and the C grade doubles, as well as reaching the final of the over-60 mixed doubles.

Vanessa won the under-15 girls’ doubles with regular partner, Lydia Mercer-Beumelberg from Canterbury. She qualified for post-section play in the under-15 girls’ singles but lost to second-seeded Lydia in five sets.


Junior titles decided

The Marlborough Junior Closed table tennis championships were played over the last two weeks with many close matches from some talented youngsters.

Theo Sandford-Jury won the under-13 singles, Rory Osborne took out the under-15 boys and under-18 finals while Vanessa Wood-Lin claimed the under-18 girls title.

Nathan Watson in action. Photo: Supplied.

Watson wins table tennis title

Nathan Watson took out the recent Half-Way Singles table tennis tournament, contested by 25 players.

Watson, the top seed, beat third-seeded Matthias Krönert in the final 11-6, 11-8, 11-9.

Watson dominated with his serve and cross-court shots and, although Krönert managed to block some shots with his pimple rubber, Watson kept the pressure on to get the win.

In the semi-final, Watson downed Matt Pigou 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7. Pigou has been playing well recently and unleashed some brilliant forehand drives to take the second and third sets. Watson won a tight fourth set and had a big lead in the deciding set, just hanging on as Pigou mounted a come-back.

Krönert beat Alex Kennedy in four sets in the other semi. Simon Bishell and Warren Haszard beat seeded players to reach the quarter-finals.

Josh Sim won the Special Plate 11-7, 6-11, 14-12, 11-7 over Zac Cowdrey. Sim downed Jason Kennedy in one semi final while Cowdrey beat Ping Muanwong in the other.

Malcolm Honour won the Plate over promising junior Joseph Ruwhiu who beat Peter Cowdrey in one semi, while Honour advanced to the final with a four-set win over Peter Welsh.

Peter Wells beat Barbara Burkhart in the Consolation Plate final.

Vanessa Wood-Lin led the gold medal-winning MGC team. Photo supplied.

College table tennis players among medals

Marlborough Girls’ College teams claimed the top two placings in the girls’ section at the recent Tasman Secondary Schools table tennis championships.

At the Saxton table tennis stadium in Nelson, Marlborough Boys’ College placed a creditable third in the boys’ section of 21 teams.

The MGC No 1 team of Vanessa Wood-Lin, Hannah Smit and Sophie Woodhouse beat two Nayland College teams 5-0 in pool play and Nelson Girls College 5-0 in the semi-finals.

The MGC No 2 team of Hannah Wilson, Carolin Vogt and Lotta Kristner excelled in reaching the final. They scored 5-0 pool play wins over two Nayland college teams, beat Nelson College for Girls 4-1 and Nayland Pink 5-0 to set up a battle with their schoolmates in the final.

MCG 1 came away with a 4-1 victory. Wood-Lin and Smit were in a class of their own, winning all their singles and doubles matches. Woodhouse won all but one single and was great value in the doubles.

For MGC 2 Wilson won three singles from five, Vogt four from five and Kristner was an outstanding No 3 player, winning all five singles.

MGC manager/coach Megan Stratford described it as a great result from all six girls.

The MBC team of Rory Osborne, Joseph Ruwhiu and Alec Dodson were up with the best in the 21-team boys’ section and were unlucky not to make the final.

They beat Nayland and Nelson College teams 5-0 in pool play and another Nelson College team 5-0 in the quarter-finals. They lost to a Nayland College team 2-3 in the semifinal, a match that could have gone either way. Osborne and Dodson both won their singles, but Ruwhiu narrowly lost in the deciding set and his team mates just missed out in their doubles. Garin College took out the final 3-2 over Nayland.

The boys made a clean sweep of matches in the play-off for third, beating Garin College 2.

Osborne and Dodson went through the day unbeaten in singles, and Ruwhiu only had one loss. The boys also won eight from 10 doubles, a fine result for a young team which includes two Year 9 boys and one Year 11.

Competition hot at table tennis champs

Canterbury table tennis player Yi-Sien Lin certainly enjoys his visits to Blenheim.

On his last trip, in 2010, he won the hotly-contested Marlborough Open title and repeated the dose last weekend, winning the men’s singles crown over fellow Cantabrian David Walle, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9.

Walle played an energetic attacking game, consistently smashing the ball to the corners while Lin produced some brilliant returns to get home in the deciding set.

Lin beat Marlborough-based Nathan Watson in one semi-final while Walle downed second seed Simon Fenwick in the other round-of-four match.

Earlier, Watson pulled out the stops to beat Canterbury’s Gregg Davey in section play, prevailing 16-14 in the fifth to finish as top qualifier in that section.

Local players to qualify for post-section play were Alex Kennedy, Matt Millar, Sam Flaherty and Blenheim-based Matthias Krönert.

Kennedy and Flaherty reached the quarterfinals.

In the women’s singles, local player Jacqui Wood reached the semis, losing to eventual champion Kris Alisch of Canterbury in straight sets.

Earlier, Wood put on a fine display against top seeded Mimi Walle in section play, coping well with the variations of spin that Walle produced to take the game to five sets.

Alisch beat Walle in the final 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 in a highly-tactical clash.

In the men’s doubles final Lin paired with Fenwick for a straight sets win over the local duo of Krönert and Matt Pigou, a good showing by the local pair who attacked at every opportunity against the New Zealand representatives.

After a round-robin competition, Alisch took the women’s doubles title alongside locally-based Canterbury representative Vanessa Wood-Lin. They beat Walle and Canterbury’s Anny Li, 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7.

Alisch, a former representative player in Australia, made it a clean sweep of senior titles when she combined with Fenwick for a win in the mixed doubles over Lin and Wood-Lin, the eventual winners saving a match point in the third set.


Other results:

Second grade

Men’s singles: Matt Millar. Women’s singles: Flora Lin.


Men’s singles: Simon Fenwick. Men’s doubles: Fenwick and Gregg Davey. Mixed: Fenwick and Alisch. Women’s singles: Mimi Walle.


Men’s singles: Paul Op Den Buysch. Men’s doubles: Warren Haszard and Derek Partridge.


Men’s singles: Davey. Women’s singles: Anny Li.


Men’s singles: David Walle. Women’s singles: Vanessa Wood-Lin. Men’s doubles: Alex Kennedy and Josh Sim.



Boys singles: Rory Osborne. Girls singles: Wood-Lin.


Boys singles: Finn Brown.


Boys singles: Brown. Doubles: Peyton Ritchie and Genji Nozaki.