Cliffhanger final caps top day on tables

By Andrew Johnsen

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SPIN DOCTOR: Rodney College and No3 seed Ben Morley, who went on to win the event. PHOTOS/JOHN STONE
SPIN DOCTOR: Rodney College and No3 seed Ben Morley, who went on to win the event. PHOTOS/JOHN STONE

A thrilling final in the boys' division was the standout match at the Northland Secondary School Table Tennis championships this week.

Thirty students from seven schools in Northland descended upon the Northland Table Tennis Centre in Kensington for a high-octane day of table tennis action.

Rodney College's Ben Morley met Bay of Islands College's Ryan Nankivell in the boys' final after convincing semifinal wins.

Morley toppled last year's runner-up and top seed Danyon Tana from Otamatea High School 3-1, while Nankivell comfortable beat fellow Bay of Islands College student Michael Davis 3-0 to set up a breathtaking final.

The first four sets were sharply contested, neither player willing to budge, sending the game into a deciding fifth set.

Morley gained the ascendancy, forcing Nankivell into critical mistakes, and ultimately came out the victor.

Bay of Islands College were prevalent in both divisions, taking both spots in the girls' final. The final score of 3-0 was no reflection of the closeness of the fixture.

While Dayna Nankivell defeated Khan Tana in straight sets, the individual sets were only separated by two points.

Nankivell and Tana then teamed up with Jessica Owen to give Bay of Islands College the girls' team championship for the fifth consecutive year.

The streak doesn't look like ending anytime soon, as most of the players are in Year 11 and will be pushed by an exciting group of younger players looking to crack the top side.

Bay of Islands College then completed a trifecta of championships, taking out the boys' team championship, ousting defending champions Otamatea High School in straight sets in the final.

Bay College easily handled Rodney College in the semifinals with a 3-0 win while Otamatea had to work to beat Whangarei Boys' 2-1.

After playing table tennis for five years at Bay of Islands College, the core group in the team are graduating and will need to see the younger players step up if Bay are to defend their title next year.

In other playoff matches, Troy Hughes from Whangaroa College won the plate championship after beating Bay College's Puke Clarke 3-0 in their final, while Tarrin Rous from Rodney College defeated Rourke Tancred-Whitham from Whangarei Boys' to win the bowl.

- Northern Advocate

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