Ravenscroft Senior British National League Report Weekend 3 2018/19 Season 

Some of the Island’s leading table tennis players have recently returned from a successful weekend of British National League action.

Competing under the guise of sponsor Ravenscroft, the first team enjoyed their most successful outing in the extremely high standard Championship Division and managed to obtain draws in 2 of their 4 matches. 

These results obtained at the Corby Smash Table Tennis centre in Northamptonshire has seen the side treble their points total for the season and it saw all members of the team comprising Joshua Stacey, Lawrence Stacey, Ben Foss and Alex Robinson contribute towards these results.

The Saturday started with a strong 4-4 draw against the side immediately above the Sarnian side, Kingfisher I. Robinson was making his first competitive appearance for Guernsey this season and he was the main man in leading the side towards the point. He started by defeating the 3rd best Cadet Boy in England Jamie Liu in 4 sets and held his nerve very well in the final match to come back from 1-0 down to overcome Krasimir Ivanov in 4 sets. Foss also beat Ivanov in 4 sets and was unlucky to lose out 11-9 in the deciding 5th end to the unorthodox England number 62 Daniel Moses. It was Lawrence Stacey that picked up the other win during his 4 set victory over Liu, 18-16 in the concluding end.
Ryan Bichard impressed, winning 4 of his 8 matches                    

A crushing 7-1 defeat was inflicted by 4th placed side Horsham Blades I in the afternoon fixture. The Blades side had their strongest team this season due to the inclusion of Peter Svenningsen, who is the leading Danish Junior table tennis player. Joshua and Foss were no match for the Dane and each lost comfortably in straight sets. Foss did however earn the solitary win in the encounter when he overcame England number 117 Andrew Norwood in 4 sets.

Sunday morning saw another positive result for the team when a 4-4 draw was obtained against 8th placed Scottish based side Drumchapel Glasgow II. This was a true team performance as it saw a win for each of the Guernsey players. Joshua earned his first win of the weekend in impressive style due to his straight sets win over Keir Morton, who is equivalently ranked around top 100 in England. Foss also overcame Morton, but needed to edge through 12-10 in the 5th leg of their clash. He came very close to also winning his other match, but lost 11-9 in the 5th to Zaid Khalid. Lawrence beat Harvey McDonald in 4 sets, however it was again Robinson who held his nerve in the final match when he beat Khalid in 4 sets.

The final match of the weekend saw 6th placed side BATTS II win 6-2. Lawrence overcame 91st paced Samuel Chesterman in straight sets, whilst Foss defeated England number 118 Joe Walker in 5 sets. The result could quite easily have been 4-4 as Robinson lost in 5 sets to Chesterman, whilst Joshua was unfortunate to lose 12-10 in the 5th to England number 67 Tony Halling.

The Island’s second team had a more successful weekend and managed to win half of their matches which were contested at the Generation 2 Table Tennis Club in Fareham. The results obtained leave the side in level 2nd position of the 8 strong division.

The team of Paul Hainsworth, Ryan Bichard, Matthew Casey and late stand-in Ryan Gilson had a very tough start to the weekend against the 2 other sides sitting at the top of the table. The first match was against table toppers Joola Plymouth III and their strength in depth is evidenced by the fact that they have team GB Paralympian David Wetherill playing at the number 4 spot. Bichard was the sole winner in a tough 8-1 defeat as he secured an excellent 5 set win over the Plymouth number 1 Joshua Millman, who is ranked 174 in England. Casey came close to defeating Leon Zachariw and let 2 x match points slip from 10-8 in the 5th to lose 12-10, whilst Hainsworth and Bichard let a 2-0 lead slip against Millman and Wetherill in the doubles, losing 11-9 in the decider.

The afternoon fixture was equally tricky and lost to the side joint 2nd in the table, Horsham Spinners II by the score of 6-3. This was despite a promising start which saw Bichard open with an excellent straight sets win over the extremely tricky veteran Stuart Seaholme and a matching straight sets win for Hainsworth over Jack Trafford. Unfortunately for the Sarnians the next win was not obtained until the final match of the encounter when Gilson picked up his first win of the weekend against Scott Cooper in 4 sets.

Sunday saw some much stronger performances from the side and this opened with a 6-3 win against Haywards Heath II. In reverse fashion to the previous match, this saw a great comeback from the local side, who trailed 3-1 heading into the doubles rubber. The sole win during the early stages of the match was for Casey who defeated Terry Dean in straight sets. Hainsworth and Bichard combined very well in the doubles where they defeated John Strang and Ben Worley in straight sets before Hainsworth kept the tempo going with a gritty 4 set win over the Haywards Heath number 1 Strang. Casey then played superbly to overcome Worley in 4 sets leaving Bichard to finish the job against Richard Cousens in 4 sets. Gilson added some polish to the win when he beat Dean in 4 sets.

The final match of the weekend was against 5th placed side Forresters II and another 6-3 win was obtained. Hainsworth put in his best performances of the weekend courtesy of straight sets wins over Cedric Felder and the 7th best Under 21 Female in England, Kate Cheer. He also teamed with Bichard to pick up another strong straight sets doubles win, this time over Cheer and Felder. Bichard defeated Chris Pullinger in 5 sets, whilst Gilson beat the same player in straight sets. Casey finished off the weekend well with a straight sets win over Barry Cheer.

There is a fairly lengthy break until the next action in the British League, as the next fixtures take place on Saturday 16th February for the single day of action.