Table Tennis: Douglas denied further glory

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The Independent Online
DESMOND DOUGLAS gained most of the attention but Carl Prean took the title at the English National Championships at King's Lynn yesterday.

For much of the day it had looked possible that Douglas might, at the age of 37, beat the years and the top seed, and it was only in the final game of an absorbing match that the younger man dominated. Prean won 13-21, 21-17, 14-21, 21-10, 21-9 and deserved it for his courage and persistence in the face of a fluent counter-hitter.

Two games to one up, and with victories under his belt against Nicky Mason and Alex Pirie, Douglas looked close to extending his record of men's singles titles to 12, finding enough opportunities with his forehand loop to keep the 25-year-old under pressure.

But a surge from 4-11 to 8-11 in the fourth game by Douglas seemed to convince Prean that he had to force the pace even more with his backhand. When he did, he kept his opponent out and the crowd quiet.

Most of them had understandably wanted Douglas to snatch a famous victory. He almost achieved another when he lost in the final game of the men's doubles final with Richard Tilford, a qualifier replacing the injured Alan Cooke. The victory by Mason and Skylet Andrew made them the first pair to win it five times.

Andrea Holt won the women's singles 22-20, 22-20, 21-18 in a battle of former champions against Fiona Mommessin. Earlier Holt had beaten the No 1 seed, Lisa Lomas, and Mommessin had come from two games down to beat the holder, Alison Gordon.

Results, Sport in Short, page 29