Stiga player Tin-Tin Ho brings home the treble at Nationals

Huge congratulations to Stiga player Tin-Tin Ho who brought home the treble this weekend.
Tin Tin (who is just 17 years old) bagged her first singles title and also brought home the Women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
What a weekend.

Read more below:

Tin-Tin Ho has her first Women’s Singles title after beating top seed Kelly Sibley at the PG Mutual National Championships in Hatfield today.

The 17-year-old from Paddington twice came from behind to win it 4-2 (5-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6) and complete a treble of titles having successfully defended both the Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Liam Pitchford’s three-year reign as national Men’s Singles champion is at an end after Sam Walker defeated him in seven games in the semi-finals.

The No 4 seed Walker – like Pitchford a World Team Championships bronze medallist earlier this month – prevailed in a high-quality match which swung one way, the other and back again before Walker’s decisive move from 3-2 down in games.

The first trophy of the day was won by Walker & Ho who took the Mixed Doubles title for the third successive year, beating David McBeath & Emma Vickers.

Ho & Tsaptsinos then retained their Women’s Doubles title, beating Karina Le Fevre & Vickers.

Pitchford & Drinkhall were then in blistering form as they made it four Men’s Doubles titles in a row with a demolition of Chris Doran & Mike O’Driscoll.

Mixed Doubles

Sam Walker & Tin-Tin Ho celebrated a hat-trick of Mixed Doubles titles as they sunk David McBeath and Emma Vickers in three straight.

Walker in particular unleashed a barrage of shots which the silver medallists had no answer to as the top seeds – who had faced elimination in the semi-finals at three match points down – took the trophy.

Walker said: “It’s great to win it again – that’s the hat-trick and it was good to keep my momentum up.

“The semi-final was really tough, but to be honest, I think we should have won it 3-0 and shouldn’t have really given them the chance, but they managed to pull it back and should have won.

“We got some good balls back and had a bit of luck, but you need that, and we were confident going into the final.”

Ho added: “It feels good to win it again, for the third year in a row. Sam’s a great doubles partner. The semi-final was really tough but we got it at the crucial point and took our chance.”

Silver medallist Vickers admitted Walker’s power was a decisive factor: “The quality of Sam’s shots is so difficult, especially for me.

“We’re pleased because we weren’t expected to get to the final, but no one wants to lose or be satisfied with silver.”

McBeath said: “It’s the second time we’ve lost to them in a final, so it’s a bit disappointing, but they definitely played the better game. I don’t think we really go started and we were struggling from that point.”

It was a case of match points missed and taken in the two semi-finals. In the first match, the two Under-21 singles champions, Tom Jarvis & Maria Tsaptsinos, having twice fought from a set down to level, had their chance at 10-9 up in the decider, only for McBeath & Vickers to take their first chance two points later.

Walker & Ho saw two match points saved by Chris Doran & Hannah Hicks in the fourth game of the second semi and then themselves faced three in the decider.

The defending champions were not about to go quietly though, saving those with the aid of an edge to make it 10-10. They duly completed a run of five successive points to book their place in the final.

Women’s Doubles

Tin-Tin Ho & Maria Tsaptsinos won their second titles of the tournament as they defeated Karina Le Fevre & Emma Vickers in four.

A one-sided first game was not an indicator of things to come as the beaten pair went toe-to-toe with the champions for the rest of the match, losing a narrow second before closing the gap in the third.

But the champions were not in the mood to fall victim to a comeback and they took the fourth to ensure their second successive title in this event.

For Ho, it added to the mixed title won in the previous match, while Tsaptsinos yesterday took the Under-21 crown in dramatic fashion against Ho.

There was no hangover from that as the two good friends teamed up today, and Tsaptsinos said: “We’re always friends but you have to be professional when you play each other.

“I’m still not 100 per cent after yesterday but I played better than I thought I would and it’s really good to win. Now we want to win it again many times, we don’t just want it twice.”

Ho said: “It’s always good to retain a title and always good to win with Maria. It sets us up well for the international scene.”

Le Fevre said she had been nervous in the first end but had then found her form. She added: “We played quite well in the third and fourth ends but it’s little points that make the difference at this level.”

Author: Paul Stimpson (Photo by Alan Man)
Publish date: March 20, 2016

Stiga Player Emily Boulton Wins the Junior National Cup

Great performance from Stiga Players Emily Boulton and Charlotte Bardsley at the Junior National Cup this weekend.

Emily Boulton beat Charlotte Bardsley in a great final.

The full details of the two days are below:

Day 2
A pivotal clash came in the first round of the day when Bardsley, the only player with a 100% record after day one, met top seed Bolton – who had been beaten by Duhan in her final match on Saturday.

And it was the top seed who get her campaign back on track with an impressive win in four straight (4, 6, 7, 9).

That condensed things at the top, with Duhan now making it a leading trio with a win over Amy Humphreys by a 4-2 margin (11-6, 6-11, 11-3, 11-5, 12-14, 11-3).

Second and third seeds Kate Cheer and Denise Payet and also picked up wins to stay in contention.

Round 7 saw Duhan drop back off the pace as 10th seed Mollie Patterson came from 2-0 down to defeat her 4-2 (8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9).

Payet picked up an important win over Kate Cheer by the same 4-2 scoreline, while Bolton and Bardsley kept up their winning ways against, respectively, Letitia McMullan (4-1) and Humphreys (4-2).

The penultimate round was notable for two big 4-3 results as the destination of the medals remained up in the air.

Duhan stayed in contention by beating Jasmin Wong 4-3 (11-2, 11-9, 9-11, 2-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9), as did cheer with the same scoreline against McMullan (9-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-9, 11-13, 11-3, 13-11). Bolton and Bardsley still led the way though.

Duhan could still have won the title if she had beaten Bardsley in the final round and other results had gone her way. In the event, she was beaten in five and had to settle for bronze, while it was Bolton’s title when she beat second seed Cheer, also in five.
Day 1

Charlotte Bardsley was player of day one at the Junior National Cup, beating the second, third and fourth seeds on her way to a 100% record.

And with top seed Emily Bolton losing her final match on day one in Milton Keynes, it is Bardsley who leads the way – and the two girls face each other in a potentially pivotal first match the second day tomorrow.

It was sixth seed Gauri Duhan who beat Bolton to finish with four wins from five – three of them against the top three seeds as she rivaled Bardsley for the best performer.

In the boys’ event, Tom Jarvis and Alex Ramsden remain unbeaten after day one.

Girls

Bardsley kicked off the day with an eye-catching defeat of third seed Denise Payet in six in the first round. And she finished in style with an 11-1 game to round off victory (9-11, 14-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-1) – and she never looked back.

Jasmin Wong, seeded ninth, got off to a good start with a 4-0 win over seventh-ranked Amy Humphreys.

Bardsley was at it again in Round 2, defeating the player one place above her in the rankings, Letitia McMullan, 4-0 (7, 8, 8, 6), while Payet bounced back to get her win tally moving, 4-1 over 10th seed Mollie Patterson, which included a 17-15 second game in Payet’s favour.

Also off the mark in Round 2 was Duhan, who had been beaten by McMullan in the first match of the day but recovered to overcome Amy Blagbrough, ranked eighth.

That started a great run for Duhan, who then shocked Payet 4-0 in Round 3 – the scoreline 7, 8, 7, 5 – to leave Payet with a lot to do to if she is add the Junior title to the Cadet one she won last month.

Second seed Kate Cheer and Bolton both notched their third wins, as did Bardsley, coming from 2-0 down to beat Patterson 4-2 (11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-4, 16-14) and avenge a defeat in the Cadet event.

There was a first win for Humphreys, in seven, against McMullan (6-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 12-10).

Duhan ended the unbeaten record of Cheer in five games in Round 4, leaving only Bolton and Bardsley running at 100% – Bardsley impressing in defeating Wong 11-7, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 and Bolton coming back to win 4-1 after Humphreys took the first.

Bardsley completed her impressive day by defeating Cheer 4-2 (11-5, 5-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6) in Round 5.

Wong also ended on a high, defeating McMullan in five, and there was a first win for Patterson, over Blagbrough, with a 4-2 scoreline (11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 2-11, 12-10).

But the last match to finish saw Bolton upset by Duhan – making that late run for the unofficial accolade of player of the day. The score was 4-2 (9-11, 11-4, 12-14, 14-12, 11-3, 11-9).

Author: Paul Stimpson
Publish date: March 5, 2016

English Leopards’ team take Bronze at the World Championships

English Leopards’ team spirit helped us make history as they take Bronze at the World Championships

Author: Paul Stimpson
Publish date: March 6, 2016

Team spirit and seizing opportunities were the biggest factors in the England Leopards’ dramatic and historic World Championship bronze medal-winning performance.

The players have been speaking about their achievement in Malaysia, after a well-earned night out celebrating their incredible rise to the top of the world game.

The squad of Liam Pitchford, Sam Walker and Paul Drinkhall secured England’s first podium finish since 1983 and became the first team to be promoted to the top division (in Tokyo two years ago) and win a medal at the following Championships.

They needed a bit of a favour from Sweden to make it out of the group on countback ahead of second seeds Germany, but then took full advantage with wins over Poland and France – the latter courtesy ofDrinkhall’s 13-11 win in the deciding game of the deciding match against Emmanuel Lebesson.

It put them into a semi-final with Japan, which they lost 3-1, despite Walker’s victory over world No 20 Yuya Oshima.

Here is what the players and staff made of a stellar week in Kuala Lumpur.

Liam Pitchford: “It’s absolutely amazing. We never thought it was possible but we’ve done it. We knew we had to approach it with the belief that we could do it.

“Our aim was to stay up but to be in the semi-finals and put on a great tournament is out of this world.

“I think the main reason is team spirit, not just between us but between the whole group out here, the girls’ team, the staff and everyone who was supporting us.

“In the match against Germany, we knew Timo Boll wasn’t playing but they were still favourites on paper. But we also knew we could beat them and we all played really well.

“We still needed a bit of luck from Sweden taking two matches off Germany so we could get out of the group, then we got a good draw and made the most of it.

“We’ve proved we can mix it with the best teams in the world and that gives us a lot of confidence.”

Sam Walker: “I think we’ll need a bit more time for it to really sink in. It’s a fantastic feeling and an amazing achievement.

“Our realistic goal was to stay up and we didn’t really think about getting a medal, it was just a dream. To do it was fantastic.

“Personally the match against Oshima was my best match but unfortunately we lost the overall match so I couldn’t celebrate that as well.”

Sam celebrates his victory over Yuya Oshima (ITTF picture)

Sam celebrates his victory over Yuya Oshima (ITTF picture)

Paul Drinkhall: “It’s amazing. We just keep looking at each other and thinking ‘we’ve got a medal!’ It’s something you think about but you don’t really see it happening – we just took our chance and made it happen.

“I think the win against Germany was the turning point, even then we needed Sweden to take two wins off Germany, which they did.

“For us to get through the group was a big positive and we relaxed after that and started to play a lot better.

“In games like the one against Lebesson, it is mental. We play at the same club and know each other’s games well. We’re at a similar level.

“I managed to build up a lead and he did well to stay in the game, though I should have closed it out. When he had the match point I just tried to put him under pressure and then I got the two points I needed.

“We had the belief as a team and looking at the others on the bench, and the supporters in the crowd, helped me to get through it.”

Paul and Liam support from the bench

Paul and Liam support from the bench

Coach Alan Cooke: “The good thing was the preparation coming in. Paul and I went out to Germany to Liam and Sam’s club and had two weeks there and then we went out to Singapore early, so we probably had a little bit more time together in the build up.

“The realistic goal was to stay in the top 16, which was a big achievement in itself and was hard to do with the likes of Germany, Sweden and France in the group.

“But we didn’t put a ceiling on what we could do. It was the old cliché of one game at a time and being fully focused on one point at a time, and the players did it brilliantly.

“We knew there was an opportunity and all three played amazingly. The team spirit has been something we will never forget.

“Only having three players there, in some ways it’s harder, but in fact I think it bonded them closer together and the team spirit was awesome. They were fighting every single ball and when they needed inspiration, they could get it from each other.

“Every neutral there seemed to get behind us and that was terrific and a reflection of the respect they had for the team. I’ve never experienced anything like it – they all wanted England to win, and that gives you a real boost when you need it.”

Head of Talent and Performance Simon Mills: “They’ve done an outstanding job and took their opportunities. We had great support from the physio Freddie Murray and there was an outstanding atmosphere in the team. They’ve made history.

“It was always part of the plan to return to the top of the world. We’ve done it a bit earlier than expected and the challenge now is to use this as the launchpad.

“It proves English and British players can achieve in the modern era and battle with the rest of the world.”

China wins men’s and women’s titles at World Team Table Tennis Championships.

China wins men’s and women’s titles at World Team Table Tennis Championships.

Both the men’s team and women’s team swept Japan 3-0 in their final matches. It’s the women’s 20th world championship, while the men have now collected the title eight times.

It was a very consistent performance by both Chinese teams all the week, with neither one losing a match in the eight days of competition.

Stiga player Faye Leggett wins the Girls Under 13’2 & Junior Band 1 at the Stiga Blackpool Junior 4* Open

Congratulations to Stiga player Faye Leggett who was runner up in the Cadet Girls Band 1 and won the Girls Junior Band 1 and the Girls Under 13’s competition also at the Stiga Blackpool Junior 4* Open over the weekend.  That’s magic 🙂

TT_Blackpool_4_Star_Feb16_Faye_Legget_U13_RUB1cadet_B1J

All the photos and standings can be found here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bpltabletennis/page1

or on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Thorntons-Table-Tennis-1585919588306518/