Brian returns to number one spot

Brian Hill.
Brian Hill.

Brian Hill was left ‘gobsmacked’ after discovering he was once again top of the national table tennis rankings.

After two years of injury problems, the Wyberton veteran returned to number one spot in the English over 70s men’s section after winning the VETTS National Championships.

The championships, part of the Masters series, was held in Wolverhampton last month.

And with ranking points counting as double, Brian made the most of the opportunity to reclaim his crown.

“The last couple of years have been tough really,” confessed Brian, who has been troubled with a sciatic nerve problem in his left leg.

“I’ve been injured and not able to play table tennis properly.

“When I was told I was back at number one I was gobsmacked.”

Brian progressed from his group following victories over Dennis Robinson (11-8, 11-1, 11-5) and Bob Hoare (11-3, 11-3, 11-8).

In the main draw he beat Andy Meads (11-8, 11-8, 11-2), Trevor Campbell (11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 11-4), doubles partner Herbert Neubauer (8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9) and John Clarke (9-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 12-10) to set up a final against Maurice Newman.

Newman, who is five years younger than Brian, who turns 75 next month, moved ahead 6-11.

But Brian responsed 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 to claim victory.

“(My wife) Audrey told me to just go there and try to enjoy myself. Anyway, I went and won it,” said Brian.

“I was staggered to think I won the biggest tournament of the year in the over 70s singles.

“I hadn’t won a Masters tournament for two years.”

With partner Neubauer, Brian won two of his three doubles encounters.

He will now team up with Neubauer again as they prepare for the European Championships in Budapest, which run from June 29 to July 6.