All pictures reproduced with kind permission of Roger Hance


UGUR Saglik became the first University of Essex student to win the Colchester Table Tennis League's men’s singles title in 40 years.

Z Rashide was the last student from the university to win the event, four decades ago.

This is 19-year-old Saglik’s first season in Colchester and he has made a good impression leading up to the tournament, losing just once to last year’s winner, Richard Hutchinson.

The pair both made the semi-finals, played at the Holmwood House sports hall - home of the Tollgate club.

Andy Warner, himself a previous champion, was Saglik’s opponent and, in an enthralling tussle, it was the latter's speed that led to Warner’s exit.

The highlight was the second game which Warner led most of the way, having lost the first.

Warner retrieved an incredible amount in his ‘wear him down’ style but was dealt a bitter blow, losing 18-16.

Saglik eventually won a highly-entertaining match in straight games.

In the other semi-final, Hutchinson took on James Denyer, a player of huge talent and a former Clacton men’s champion.

Denyer, 22, came out on top in four ends, setting up the two youngsters for what promised to be a great final.

The pair did not disappoint and just as in the Chelmsford final, Saglik lost the first two games.

Somehow he thrives on the extra pressure and the highlight of his game is the high-toss serve.

This, surprisingly, he learned from YouTube and not from a coach as it enables extra pace on the ball to give more spin, which was first used by the Chinese in the 70s.

This can also leave the opponent flat-footed if caught ball-watching.

Saglik clawed his way back into the game with a string of searing forehands.

Denyer fought hard with his trademark back from the table aggressive style but, as the momentum swung, Saglik took the honours 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.

He hails from Istanbul and came third in the Cadet National Doubles event - an amazing achievement.

He moved to England at the age of just 16, completing his A-levels in Brockenhurst.

Saglik praises the help of Generation 2 coach and vice-president of Table Tennis England Charlie Childs as a key figure in his development.

He plays senior British League national B level and studies Economics at Essex University.

Gracie Edwards, as expected, retained her Colchester ladies' singles title against the 22-time former winner Sue Welham, in three games.

Edwards is ranked 20 in England under-18s and is currently studying at the Grantham College Table Tennis Academy.

She also teamed up with veteran Andy Warner to retain their mixed doubles title but missed out on the ladies' doubles with grandmother Chris to Welham and the evergreen Amanda Hogger.

In the men’s doubles, the experienced Ipswich pairing of Andy Warner and Richard Hutchinson triumphed over the youthful Clacton duo of James Denyer and the awkward Paul Hume in four close ends.

Warner beat his arch rival Hutchinson surprisingly in straight games in the vets 40+ final, gaining revenge on last season’s win for Hutchinson.

In the 50+, Mark Wicker triumphed over Trevor Lloyd, who had the consolation of winning the 60+ over tournament organiser and league chairman John Andrews.

The junior events were a major triumph for the Tollgate club, fielding 16 out of 22 players entered.

Ollie Rampton was the star, reaching all three finals and winning the junior under-18 title after beating Olly Fifield in four close games.

Earlier, Fifield had knocked out the number one seed Dan Young in a thrilling five-end encounter.

Rampton accounted for Arran Hutchinson in the semi-final and the pair teamed up to take the junior doubles in the biggest upset of the weekend against top seeds Gracie Edwards and Dan Young without dropping a game.

Young extracted revenge in the cadets under-15 event over Rampton.

However, as both players are ranked in the top 80 in the country, they showed the future is very bright for local junior talent.

Young’s counter-punching style won the day to add to his growing medal count in local league tournaments.

Gracie Edwards was once again winner of the junior girls' singles, beating Tiffany Lee in a round-robin event.

Dan Young also took the division one singles crown with Liam Harris division two, Nigel Hutchinson division three and Luke Burridge the division four event.

Three of the four winners are under-15.

Roll of honour: Junior Boys' Singles: Ollie Rampton beat Olly Fifield; Junior Girls' Singles: Gracie Edwards beat Tiffany Lee; Cadet Singles: Daniel Young beat Ollie Rampton; Division One Singles: Daniel Young beat Ian Whiteside; Division Two Singles: Liam Harris beat Bright Bedding; Division Three Singles: Nigel Hutchinson beat Mike Baldwin; Division Four Singles: Luke Burridge beat Toby McLewin; Veterans 40+ Singles: Andy Warner beat Richard Hutchinson; Veterans 50+ Singles: Mark Wicker beat Trevor Lloyd; Veterans 60+ Singles: Trevor Lloyd beat John Andrews; Men’s Semi Final 1: Ugur Saglik beat Andy Warner; Men’s Semi Final 2: James Denyer beat Richard Hutchinson; Men’s Singles: Ugur Saglik beat James Denyer; Ladies' Singles: Gracie Edwards beat Sue Welham; Junior Doubles: Arran Hutchinson and Ollie Rampton beat Gracie Edward and Daniel Young; Men’s Doubles: Richard Hutchinson and Andy Warner beat Paul Hume and James Denyer; Ladies' Doubles: Sue Welham and Amanda Hogger beat Gracie and Christine Edwards; Mixed Doubles: Gracie Edwards and Andy Warner beat Gary Cattermole and Sue Welham.