FIFTEEN months ago, QPCC (Queen’s Park Cricket Club) Parkites was a virtual non-entity at national level in the sport of table tennis.
Today, the St Clair-based outfit is the most powerful club in the country and this was in evidence again over the weekend when six of their players were among the ten who qualified for tonight’s final round of the RMSL (Reliability Maintenance Services Limited) Super Singles Tournament.
Brittany Joseph, Imani Edwards-Taylor and Chloe Fraser are in the women’s final four while Aaron Edwards, Derron Douglas and Shermar Britton are among the six for the men’s equivalent straight-robin shootout.
Just a couple months after joining the Parkites, the “Britts”, Joseph and Guyana’s Britton, lifted the trophies in this tournament last year, but it will be a much more difficult task for the club to sweep the titles this time.
With 2015 champion Linda Partap-Boodhan eliminated at the quarterfinal stage on Saturday and two-time national champion Catherine Spicer and 11-time national champ Aleena Edwards not even taking entry, Joseph is considered “tied by the post.”
But Britton will have to contend with Aaron Wilson, who was training in Germany when he was crowned champ last year.
The two, born just a few months apart, have been playing against each other for more than five years and Wilson has won the majority of their battles.
The 21-year-old defeated Britton in last year’s Trinbago Open in October, and in the Silver Bowl Championships in March in their two meetings in major finals since Britton began studying here at university.
The Caribbean singles bronze-medallist has won two tournaments since coming across but Wilson was absent both times, as he was also missing – training in Spain – during this year’s “Trinbago” two months ago.
The national champ has to be a very strong favourite to capture the title as he has won seven of the last eight major tournaments he has contested and has not lost to a locally-based player at this level in the last two years.
The other realistic contender for the title is Arun Roopnarine, but last year’s runner-up also has a dismal record against Wilson these days after they were very close head-to-head in juniors.
National under-18 champ Douglas is already ranked fifth in the country and is the only one of the remaining three likely to upset one of the “Big 3.”
Fellow teenaged debutant Jesse Dookie, last year’s national A2 champ, and Edwards, who is in the final six for the second straight time after upsetting 2007 champ Curtis Humphreys on Sunday, are the others involved. Fraser stunned Partap-Boodhan on Saturday night to give herself a perfect present, as today is her birthday.
The 11-year-old should get past under-15 player Edwards-Taylor and the winner of her very interesting battle with national under-18 and 21 champ Chelsea Fong could determine who finishes second to the top-ranked Joseph.
Play on the final day of the fifth and final major table tennis tournament of the season is scheduled to begin at 6.30 p.m.