Guernsey’s table tennis stars know just how to rise to the occasion when it comes to the Island Games and at St Joseph’s Middle School there has been no exception as once again they stood proudly on the top step of the podium at the end of another high-quality team event.
This time it was Jersey who took on the champions in the final and, obviously, the Sarnians knew exactly what sort of threat they posed, particularly on the men’s side of the draw where the Caesareans are very strong. Crucially, though, Guernsey No. 1 Garry Dodd got the first point on the board for his side and they did not look back.
The first game of his opening rubber against Luc Miller was close throughout until the Jerseyman got lucky with the net coming to his advantage at the end of a long rally, which helped him to take it 11-8.
That just inspired Dodd and soon he was in control of the second game, winning it to three, and it was a similar story in the third, which he won to four.
Miller tried to stage a fightback in the fourth, but Dodd closed it out 11-8 to win the point.
Dawn Morgan then doubled Guernsey’s advantage by overcoming familiar foe Karen Lefebvre in three tight games 13-11, 12-10, 11-9.
Jersey’s top player Jordan Wykes halved the deficit on his introduction to the match, coming through in straight games against Lawrence Stacey, but Morgan joined forces with Paula Le Ber to good effect to see off Lefebvre and Irene Bree.
That left Guernsey a point away from gold.
The best entertainment was still to come, though, as Dodd and Wykes served up a real treat for the raucous fans of both sides.
Their epic duel swung one way then the other and back again as Dodd edged ahead before Wykes took the second and third games only for Dodd to force a decider.
It was the Jerseyman who was to prevail on this occasion, although not before Dodd saved the first match point which conjured up a magical rally that had the Guernseyman defending for his life before coming up trumps.
Wykes, though, took the next point to win 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7.
There was to be no dramatic comeback from Jersey, though, as Dodd and Morgan quickly quelled any momentum by doing a job on Wykes and Lefebvre in the mixed, understandably targeting the Jersey woman and sealing gold with an 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 success.
‘It feels fantastic – a really good win,’ said Morgan, who admitted it means a bit more when you beat Jersey in the final.
‘There’s a good, friendly rivalry between Guernsey and Jersey and it just makes it that extra little bit special.’
She added, though, that the team were not overly confident of gold coming in Gibraltar. ‘There were some teams with players who play at a higher level, so we knew the teams were different and we knew that it was going to be a big ask for us to get to the final and then to take the gold. We did really well as a team.’