Byng Hall's livewire Daniel Lawrence was at his entertaining best to win a fantastic Men’s Band 1 title at the Bribar Nottingham Grand Prix.
The drama began for the England junior in the group stage where he was pushed to the full distance in just his second match of the day against Alex Forshaw. Perhaps tired from his early morning start, Lawrence was almost caught napping when Surrey player Forshaw nearly surprised him in a 3-2 (8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9) defeat.
Having escaped his group in top spot, the third seed faced another stern test in the form of Adam Harrison, who battled through four ends in a feisty affair during their quarter-final.
It was action-packed from the beginning, any element of luck for either player causing a stern look of criticism from across the table, while the duo played out some high-calibre table tennis in Lawrence’s 3-1 (11-9, 15-13, 9-11, 11-8) win.
After such a tight match it was a real surprise that the Kent youngster then rushed through a one-sided semi-final with Adam Nutland (3-0) to set up a final meeting with Sam Mabey.
Mabey, who had lost in the morning to Nicolas Leung, battled his heart out in the semi-final rematch against Leung to make the final hurdle – determined not to miss out for a second time. Although he trailed 2-1, Mabey saved two match points from 10-8 down to win through in the final game 3-2 (12-10, 6-11, 11-13, 12-10, 12-10).
In a similarly dramatic final, Lawrence and Mabey traded blows in the first four games to set up a classic and tense title-deciding end.
Mabey made the early running with a dominant 5-0 lead but Lawrence incredibly fought back to set up two match points at 10-8. However, once Mabey turned it around to lead 11-10, it took every ounce of the Kent players skill, and nerve, to scrape through a dramatic 13-11 game.