ALEENA EDWARDS’ tremendous win streak ended in pulsating and nail-biting fashion when Guyanese players came from behind to win thrilling five-set finals of the Silver Bowl Table Tennis Championships Saturday night at Central Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Chaguanas.
The ten-time national champion fought so desperately to keep the streak alive that she saved an incredible eight match points before finally hitting a forehand long to put an end to one of the most dramatic sets of table tennis seen in this country in a very long time.
Chelsea Edghill, the 2012 Caribbean Under-21 runner-up who was Guyana’s Junior Sportswoman of the Year last year, jumped for joy after clinching the marathon game on the 12th match point, 22-20.
The 16-year-old led for most of the decider, but she had been forced to play catch-up leading up to it as she had to battle back after losing both the first and fourth games. The final score was: 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 22-20.
After winning all four tournaments she contested at home last year, Edwards was triumphant in the Classified Championships in January and was one point away from capturing her sixth major title in succession.
Edghill, who had taken down Edwards in three straight games en route to being crowned champ in the Super Singles Tournament the last time she was here in December 2012, captured the Under-18 and 21 titles the day before.
Arun Roopnarine had beaten Shermar Britton en route to picking up the Under-18 crown on Saturday, but the left-hander had the last laugh when he won the clash of the teenagers for the men’s crown.
The 15-year-old had gone under after securing the first two games the day before, but bounced back from a game down twice to prevail 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11, 11-7 on this occasion.
Britton also gained sweet revenge over Aaron Wilson as he trounced the Tobago Open champ 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 in the quarter-finals after losing in four games when they squared off in the Under-21 semis the day before.
The top-ranked junior in Guyana then whipped Alaric Humphreys 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 to book his place in the title match.
Roopnarine, who trailed Kenwin Small 7-9 in the decider before winning the last four points to survive the “round of 16”, gained revenge over Humphreys’ brother Curtis, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 in the other semi-final.
The top-ranked Humphreys, who had beaten the 16-year-old in the “Classified” final in January, needed five games in the previous round to nose out former national champ Anthony “Sandfly” Brown 4-11, 11-7, 11-3, 7-11, 12-10.
Defending champ Reeza Burke was the top seed, but the five-time national champ was stunned 3-11, 16-14, 5-11, 13-11, 12-10 in the first round of the knockout draw by Edghill’s brother Kyle.
In the women’s semis, Chelsea beat 2012 champ Linda Partap-Boodhan 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, while Edwards got the better of 1963 (not a misprint) national champ Merle Baggoo 11-3, 11-9, 12-10. Baggoo had shocked Brittany Joseph, who was crowned 2012 national champ at age 14, 14-16, 11-4, 12-10, 11-3 in the quarters.
Catherine Spicer, who squandered four match points in the semis of “Nationals” a few years ago against Edwards, led the same opponent 10-9 in the first, 9-3 in the second and 9-6 in the third and lost all three games – 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 – in the quarters.
The tournament will conclude at the end of the month with the Under-11, 13 and 15 events.