City teen all class in retaining singles title

New Zealand under-15 table tennis doubles titleholder Michael Zhang retained his Southland Residentials Table Tennis A-grade singles title without dropping a set at the Southland Table Tennis Stadium in Lindisfarne St.

The Invercargill teenager was a class above a quality field that included five previous titleholders in the SBS Bank-sponsored event.

The event was littered with upsets.

Three of the top four seeds were knocked out in the first round with Phil Brocks taking his first victory over Greg Buzzard, Nathan Kennedy, a three-time titleholder making a return to the sport, beat the in-form Blair Davies while nine-time titleholder Ron Garrett disposed of the 2011 champion Richard Cavanagh.

In the final, Zhang beat Brocks in three sets in his closest match. Zhang, who turned 16 in August, now has three Southland titles to his name.

Debbie Garrett maintained her mortgage on the A-grade women's singles title with her eighth consecutive win, beating Debbie Cooper in three sets.

Garrett combined with Brocks to win the mixed doubles from Davies and Cooper and also combined with Denise Findlater to win the women's doubles.

Doubles prodigy Zhang combined with Ron Garrett for a straight-sets victory over Brocks and Davies in the men's doubles final.

Brocks capped off a good championship to win the over-40s title, while Ron Garrett took out the over-50s and stalwart Clive Adamson the over-60s.

Ngaire Garrett beat Pat Swale in the over-60s women's final.

Debbie Garrett combined with Southland coach Kennedy to win the over-40s doubles. Her father, Ron Garrett, won the over-50s doubles with Kelly Martin.

Meanwhile, Clive Adamson and John McFarland won the over-60s doubles title in a closely fought five-setter from Southland veteran representatives Ngaire Garrett and Swale.

Matt Shields, in only his second competitive season, won the under-21 men's singles title, and a newcomer to Southland, Tiffany Wong, won the women's under-21 title.

This season's big improver, Kelly Martin, won the A Reserve singles title in a three-set battle with promising junior Kent Verbeet, while Ngaire Garrett beat Findlater in the women's final.

Martin and Garrett beat Wong sisters Christine and Tiffany in the A Reserve doubles final.