CIPPENHAM Table Tennis Club held its annual Five by Two Senior and Veterans’ One-Star Open.

The day included a veterans competition in the morning, which was surprisingly stronger in standard, and an open age group event in the afternoon.

The veterans’ competition provided most joy for Cippenham players as three of the four semi-finalists were current or former club members.

The veterans’ singles commenced with 32 competitors arranged into six groups, with the top three in each progressing to the championship knock-out event and the remainder taking their place in the consolation event.

The top three seeds all made it through in first place in their groups with the top two, Hari Gehlot and Phil Smith winning all their matches.

Third seed Mark Banks however lost his opening match to Sanjiv Malhotra, but he lost to both Paul Martindill and Alan Papier, so Banks won the group.

Fourth seed Kevin Nicholls emerged second hin his group having been defeated by former champion Steve Davis.

The other group winners were Dutchman Olawale Bada and Steve Buck.

Two current members of the Cippenham first team in the Veterans’ British League, Gehlot and Banks, then carved their way through the draw and met each other in the semi-final.

In the round of 16, Gehlot beat Martindill, while Banks had a comfortable win over David Page.

Both faced greater tests in their quarter-final matches with Gehlot beating Bada 3-1, while Banks had a narrow five-game win over Nicholls, a master topspin defender from Devon.

Gehlot was the winner of the all-Cippenham semi-final encounter 3-1.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Smith made it through to the semi after beating tournament organiser Paul Baker and then Alex Aston.

In the other quarter, group winner Davis was well beaten by Dean Rose, one of the players of the tournament, but he then lost to Buck.

Buck came from behind to beat Smith over five games in their semi-final.

The final was between current Cippenham player Gehlot and former member Buck, who had performed remarkably well having had a plaster cast on his playing hand, following a wrist fracture, removed just to days earlier.

Gehlot, the higher ranked player, proved to be just too consistent and ran out a winner in four games.

Another Cippenham member, Graham Trimming, reached the final of the consolation event but was beaten over four games by Malhotra.