Edinburgh Banded (No. 3: Bathgate Academy-
Band 1 report.
Danny ‘backhand’ Bajwa (Dumfries) collected the biggest prize of his fledgling TT career as he picked up the Band 1 title at the Edinburgh Banded (no 3) on Sunday. In so doing he’s put himself in pole position to take the overall Edinburgh Banded series (the 4th and final event in on April 2nd). Though seeded 3rd, Danny won all 7 of his matches. He played consistently all day: displaying plenty fluency but also
grit- he won three 5-setters.
In what was effectively a final, his match with John Hannah was a really tight affair. Both played some great stuff but also missed some easy balls (one missed forehand caused Danny to utter “My mum could have made that!”).
Going into the 5th set the momentum was with John, as he’d breezed through the 4th 11-6 and managed to get his backhand firing. John also began the decider strongly but an on the run backhand winner turned the set in Danny’s direction and at 8-5 up he forced John into a timeout. A net dribbler helped John level it at 8-8 before Danny took the final 3 points and overall victory.
He was delighted with his win over John but felt that he’d been a bit lucky to beat Harvey McDonald (in 4 tight sets). That match was one of the more ‘passionate’ matches with both youngsters playing flat-out and overcoming psychological lows.
Danny felt that his trademark backhand had been firing most of the day but that it was his consistency that was the key factor in his victory. He felt that recent training sessions with the likes of Keir Morton and Chris Main had helped him find form at the right time. The victory boosted his confidence ahead of the nationals where he aims to win the Cadets’ event and ‘at least’ get through to the knock-out
stages in the Seniors’ event.
No. 1 seed John Hannah had a decent day but was left feeling frustrated by his losses to Danny and to Robert Toth: feeling that he ‘really should’ve’ won both. Robert and John played out a tight, good quality match but some key errors when trying to finish the points cost John. John had a testing start to the day -missing 4 match points versus Tor (Kitiphon Tongpaibool) in the 4th set before re-focussing
and taking the 5th. Otherwise he was untroubled-winning his other matches with some ease: such as his comfortable win vs Stewart Armitage (5, 4, 5).
Harvey McDonald provided plenty of evidence of his recent development with several good performances -and wins over Charlie Ellis, Dariusz Szymczak and Tor. His tricky serves and powerful 3rd balls caused all his opponents difficulties. He will be one to watch at the upcoming Nationals. Tor (Kitiphon Tongpaibool) was urged on by his ‘entourage’ and belied his seeding with 3 handy wins-including beating 4th seed (Robert Toth)- 11-6 in the 5th.
In general Band 1 was full of good matches between well-matched opponents (only 130 odd RC points between seed 1 and seed 8) with only 1 player winless (his identity is being protected!). The closest game of the day was Stewart Armitage’s win (14-12 in the 5th) versus Robert Toth: Stewart finishing it in style with 2 cracking winners-including a brilliant forehand down the line on match point.
Robert and Dariusz produced a fine match with several epic rallies. Robert eventually winning a 5-setter (he lost his 1st three matches 2-3!). Dariusz did however pick up 2 wins-including a 3-0 win over Stewart Armitage in his final match.
Plenty people helped on the day but special thanks to Ken Ben (a good stint of umpiring) and particularly Dave Fairholm for his efforts on top table and as tournament referee. Thankfully his plea for better behaviour was largely heeded.
report by Charlie Ellis