Franklin stops Britton again to retain National Men’s Table Tennis title
By Akeem Greene
National teammates, club mates, training partners, teacher versus student; the Christopher Franklin and Shemar Britton’s duel for the 2022 Senior Men’s National Table Tennis title was yet again a thriller of intense competition.
At the end of it all, the loudest hurrah came from the 37-year-old Franklin, who retained his title at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Sunday evening.
Two years ago, Franklin outclassed Britton 4-1 for the title, and there was a sense brewing that there was an outside chance, the talented Britton could go the full distance and win his first Senior Men’s title.
In set one, Franklin surged to a comfortable 11-4 victory, but from there on, the match became extremely competitive.
Both players’ serve brought points and the two produced lengthy rallies much to the amazement of the audience.
It could be the case that Franklin knows Britton’s game inside-out as he used top-spin to good effect, but at times, Britton came with strong counter-punches.
Backed by his Queen’s College schoolmates cheering vociferously, the youngster rallied back to win the second set 11-8.
More often than not, it was a point for a point and none of the players looked intent on giving in to each other.
Each mistake made and point lost, a loud grunt was heard, as both knew the margin of error was slim.
In the third set, Franklin crunched it 11-5, and just as it seemed he could close out the match, Britton had another inspiring performance to win 11-7.
It was squared at two, and anybody’s game.
Don’t awake a sleeping lion they say?
Crouched with piercing eyes for each of Britton’s serves, Franklin held off the raging Britton and it became more a mental battle of composure, rather the ever-present skill.
The final two sets went the champion’s way 11-8 and 11-7.
Speaking after the high-quality match, Franklin revealed he was training intensely since January and it was the best he has seen the former Caribbean Under-21 Champion play against him.
However, he was extremely determined to silence the pre-tournament noise about his chances.
In the semi-final, Franklin had a tough battle with Miguel Wong, who narrowly missed out on a spot in the final.
Wong kept fighting throughout the entire contest and the semi-final placement should be good enough for him to book his ticket on Team Guyana for next month’s Senior Caribbean Championships in Cuba.
Franklin won the semi-final 12-10, 4-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10.
Meanwhile, Britton faced his successful Double’s teammate Jonathan Van Lange and he cruised to an 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 triumph.
The Men’s Singles brought the conclusion to the National Championship organised by the Guyana Table Tennis Association.
Men’s – Christopher Franklin
Women’s – Chelsea Edghill
‘B’ Class – Jonathan Van Lange
‘C’ Class – Saalih Rahim
Under-21 Male – Jonathan Van Lange
Under-21 Female – Jasmine Billingy
Boys Under-19 – Jonathan Van Lange
Girls Under-19 – Jasmine Billingy
Boys Under-15 – Colin Wong
Girls Under-15 – Jasmine Billingy
Novices – Emmanuel Jeffrey