Serving up a Thriller

Sixteen mixed pairs fought it out in four groups at the first day of mixed doubles table tennis at the Marian Centre.

Gary McDougall and Barbara Talbot from South Australia won a five set thriller, 12-10, against fellow South Australian pair John and Jill Cunningham.

The Cunninghams arrived early in Alice Springs and have been travelling around the Red Centre and playing the odd game of table tennis during club training times, so locals were well aware of their talent.

McDougall and Talbot went on to win in another tough five set match in the semi-final, defeating the very experienced and skilled South Australians Lyndal Ellis and Kevin Solly who have played in multiple Alice Springs Masters Games.

On the other side of the draw, South Australia’s Harry Hatsitsopanidis and local Laurel Duffell had a close battle with fellow locals and eventual bronze medallists, Roland Maddocks and Catherine Albina in the semi final.

After much sweat and jokes about warm ups in the 35 degree heat, the grand final was played in good spirit with Hatsitsopanidis and Duffell taking gold, 3 sets to 1; and McDougall and Talbot taking home the silver.

Team matches have also begun with local NetBounce winning 6-5 against Murray Bridge, including a magnificent triumph by Bayani Albina in a five set battle against McDougall.

Other impressive performances included Mixed Nuts and Late Bloomers in their respective divisions.

The competition has been a great learning experience for the local division 2 players, who have had to adapt to the very unorthodox styles and vast experience of the interstate visitors.

Play continues with mixed doubles, singles and teams events at 4pm and 7pm today, Thursday and Friday.