Table Tennis: Evergreen Winkley has golden touch

By Shane Hurndell

It's a given in sport just as it is in life in general ... as one gets older one eases up on the workload.

Try telling that to Hawke's Bay table tennis veteran Russ Winkley.

The 27-time A grade men's singles champion at the Napier club played 24 matches over 12 hours during the first of two days of play on the way to winning six medals, three gold and three bronze, at the New Zealand Masters Games which ended in Wanganui at the weekend.

"I didn't feel too bad at the end of Saturday's play but I definitely struggled during the next day's play," Winkley recalled.

Winkley, 57, is believed to be the Bay's most successful individual at the Games. The fact one of his golds was won in the 35-plus age group added to the enormity of the feat.

Playing with Wanganui's Shane Wilson, the 35-plus singles title winner, Winkley won the 35-plus doubles title with an 11-9 fifth set win against regular New Zealand Veterans champions Ian Talbot and Bryan McConachie of Wellington.

"That was my first time playing with Shane and I didn't expect to win anything," the modest Winkley said.

He also won the 55-plus mixed doubles title with Valerie Scarr of Masterton and the 55-plus doubles title with North Harbour's David Scott. Winkley's bronze medals were won in the 55-plus singles and in the 35-plus and 45-plus mixed doubles where he played with fellow Hawke's Bay player Shar Benjamin.

Three days before Winkley's weekend of table tennis he played in the tennis segment of the Games. With a couple of close losses in pool play he didn't reach the medal playoffs.

Waipukurau's Sue Williams won gold in the 40-plus singles tennis section.

The Napier Sunhawks men's and women's basketball teams again featured among the medal winners.

The Weldwell Sunhawks men recovered from a loss in round robin play to win the 45-plus division with a one point win against Taranaki in the final.

Miso Majstorovic, Dave Thomas and Pete Forshaw were all prominent in the side.

The Napier Sunhawks women again produced play which belied their ages on the way to capturing silver in the 50-plus division and bronze in the 45-plus division.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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