Winner Lee Orton. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
TABLE TENNISSMILING Lee Orton was determined to have fun at the IW County Press-sponsored Top Ten table tennis tournament at the Carl Prean Centre — and was like the cat who had the cream at the end.
Rather than take the competition too seriously, the Binstead man went into the competition in relaxed and cheerful mode, and swept aside all before him.
In the group stages, he took on Roger Hookey, Piyanchai Chainiyom, newcomer to the competition, Dave Hilliam, and Roger Nevell.
Finishing second to Hookey, he then had to face the winner of Group A, Alex Rorke, and the pair could barely be separated.
The match went to the final set, where Orton won 13-11.
Then in the final, he had to replay Hookey, who had defeated Andrew Ely in three straight sets in the other semi-final.
Once again the match went to five sets but in the end, Orton prevailed, winning the decider 11-9.
"I went into it for a laugh," said Orton, 49. "But I had been playing well recently, and I thought I had a chance if I could just play well. I was very happy to win, and I think next year I will take it more seriously."
The Top Ten Tournament is an annual competition held by the IW Table Tennis Association, where the top-ranked players from around the leagues vie for glory.
Alongside Orton, Hookey, Chainiyom, Hilliam, Nevell, Rorke and Ely, the rest of the top ten comprised Chris Angus, Robert Love and Don Hobbs.
Love was a surprise package, having never taken part in the contest before. He took the scalp of Hobbs, winning that match 3-0, before pushing Angus to five sets in their group match.
Carl Prean, organiser of the tournament, said: "It was a great tournament, with plenty of excitement."
• More pictures in the Friday, May 18, County Press.