Rocky representatives in action at state junior titles


The Rockhampton Table Tennis Association’s two representatives at the four-day Queensland Junior Championships that hit-off on Easter Monday morning in Brisbane are obviously finding out how hard the competition will be in the teams and individual events.

Nolan Hao is contesting the team events in the under-19 age-group and on Monday he only participated in one match and narrowly failed to put a win on his opponents.

All the mixed doubles draws were played out during the evening and he and his partners failed to make a positive impression in both the under-19 and under-17 divisions.

Hao has already represented the city on a number of occasions at state junior titles and has also represented Queensland at the last two national junior carnivals.

Opting to play the team’s competition in the under-19 division this year even though he still qualifies for the under-17 section may work against him when the selectors sit down to pick the state sides later this week.

Cooper Bulow is attending his first Q-Juniors and he will benefit greatly from the experience and with his great attitude around trying to improve his game he should really enjoy the carnival.

Bulow, who attends school at Gladstone, was introduced to the tournament part of the sport through the state schools’ championships.

Considering most children attend the state juniors from a very young age with the lowest age group being under-11, Bulow is a late starter qualifying for his first tilt at state championship level in the under-17 section.

While in his first two team-matches on Monday he failed to notch a win, he achieved some good scores against opponents from much stronger sides.

The first season for the year in open grade finished off last week with teams one and two on the leaderboard playing off for premiership honours after one full round of fixture competition.

The remaining sides played-off for the minor placings and some interesting individual contests unfolded across all clashes.

The major event on the evening was the battle for the flag between the first placed trio of Nick Green, Ann-Louise Stewart and Monica Deeth and the second-placed outfit of Gerard Watts, Erica Nolan and Allan Clarke, who was coopted late due to an unfortunate withdrawal.

With Green’s side holding a two-point cushion on the leaderboard after plenty of solid matches across the season favouritism was probably deserved.

However, finals can be tough to win and the experience of Watts and Clarke probably made the major difference in the result. Watts lead from the front to win his three singles rounds after dropping a set to both Green and Deeth and overpowering Stewart in straight sets in a clash where he played some high-quality points.

Clarke’s win over Green probably demonstrated what coaches have been advising young players for ages – persist with the use top spin if and when you can, as counter-hitting with handy veteran players can prove tough to win points.

Nolan also put a very close win on Deeth, as did Clarke to set up a victory for the outfit captained by Watts.

Entry details are available for the Rockhampton Open Championships that are being staged over the weekend of 20-21 April.

Entries close on Monday, 15 April at the club.