…after ousting favourites in quarterfinal
By Donald Duff
in St Lucia
Trenace Lowe and Chelsea Edghill were not surprised that they won the women’s doubles title at the 51st annual Caribbean Table Tennis Championships in St Lucia.
They knew the title was almost in their back pockets after they defeated the top pair of Eva Brito and Lineth Vila from the Dominican Republic in their quarter final showdown on Thursday afternoon at the Beausejour Indoor facility.
“After winning the quarters we knew we would have gotten the gold because the two players we thought we would have met in the finals, we actually met in the quarters,” Lowe said.
Of that quarter final clash Lowe said: ”The first game was a little difficult but once we got into our stride everything went right for us”.
Playing the France based semi-professional player Rheann Chung, a player who has won the singles title at this annual tournament more than once, and an 11-year-old precocious talent by the name of Ja’Sher De Gannes (she told me that her first name carried an accent after the a and before the s) Lowe and Edghill won in straight games but not without some hiccups.
They had won the first game 11-6 and from all appearances the final seemed to be a done deal, a stroll in the park, a picnic for the Guyanese.
But all that changed in a flash.
Chung and De Gannes raced out to a 6-0 lead in the second set as the Guyanese pair failed to find their rhythm.
To compound matters De Gannes’s pips out rubber on her backhand was creating the type of problems it was designed to do.
The Guyanese pair had to dig themselves out of a deep hole.
And that’s just what they did!
Lowe, wily veteran although in her early 20s began by running her high toss backspin serves deep into De Gannes forehand, a tactic the U13 Caribbean singles champion failed to come to grips with.
Edghill, not to be outdone followed up by attacking those serves which were returned and the comeback had commenced. Point by point they began to reduce the deficit until the scores were knotted at 10-10.
After the score reached 11-11, the Guyanese emerged from the smoke as the second game winners and the smell of victory was in the air.
In the third game there was no stopping the Guyanese who gave Guyana its first gold medal of the championships with an 11-7 win.
The Guyanese pair had reached the final with a 3-1 win over the Guadeloupe pair of Manoelle Gamon and Corinne Vaillant 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-2.
Lowe, who said she was happy to win a gold medal for her country pointed out that it was not her first women’s doubles title triumph as she and Michelle John had won the title three years in succession.
For Edghill however, it was her first and she told Stabroek Sport that she was still savouring the taste of the win.
“Winning any title is always a good feeling,” Edghill said of her first women’s double title.
She narrowly missed a second gold medal.
The 16-year-old Bishops’ High School student lost a heart-stopping four-set final to Eva Brito of the Dominican Republic in the girls’ 21-years and under final.
Edghill lost 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11.
“In the final against Brito, she was good but I think I could have done a little better,” she said.
“I was exhausted but nevertheless I am not disappointed it was a big match but I still felt that I could have done better.”
In losing to Brito, Edghill showed the talent, the temperament and the heart of a champion and if the GTTA handles her the right way she should be dominating the U21 category soon despite the presence of the Dominican Republic players. She had announced that she is a force to be reckoned with even against the big girls when in the women’s team final against the World-ranked Chung, she half turned and smashed a serve that flew past the Trinidadian’s backhand.
Thursday night she played vintage table tennis showcasing crisp forehand drives, spinny forehand loops and good retrieving skills whenever she was forced off the table. Brito began playing aggressively and her backhand loop down the line, one of the best in the tournament with the exception of Chung, was a treat to watch.