Senior British League - Round 1

Post date: Sep 12, 2018 10:22:5 PM

The Ravenscroft-backed Guernsey Table Tennis sides have returned from their opening round of fixtures in the Senior British League with mixed results.

The first team of Garry Dodd, Joshua Stacey, Lawrence Stacey and Ben Foss were competing at the heady heights of the Championship Division in Northamptonshire at the Corby Smash Table Tennis centre and as expected found the going tough.

The Championship is the highest rung of the Senior British League structure that the Island has ever reached as it is just a single one below the Premier Division, however despite this fact, the Sarnian side battled well and managed to pick up a vital point during their draw with Batts II on Sunday morning.

In this fixture it was Foss who contributed to a vital double courtesy of excellent wins over Tony Halling and Samuel Chesterman, ranked at 70 and 97 in England respectively. Lawrence Stacey also overcame Chesterman, but it was Dodd who achieved the most impressive win of the weekend when he defeated the second highest ranked player in the Division. Ethan Walsh is ranked 25 in the England Senior Men’s ranking list and is the 7th best Under 21 Male player, but the left-handed Guernsey player played excellently to see off the tough challenge.

The weekend commenced with a 6-2 defeat to Horsham Blades I, however Dodd again picked up a solid win over the top player from the Blades, Swedish player Emil Ohlsson , who is ranked around the equivalent of top 50 in England. Foss also picked up another win over the Horsham number 3.

The afternoon fixture was a hard fought contest, but a narrow 5-3 defeat was incurred against Scottish side Drumchapel Glasgow II. Foss again performed well from the number 4 spot and picked up wins over Sepehr Bidari and Zaid Khalid. Bidari is equivalently ranked in the top 65 in Senior Men within England and the 5 set win was even more impressive as it required Foss to battle back from 2-0 down to win. Lawrence picked up the other win during his 4 set win over Khalid and he came very close to securing a point for the Guernsey side, narrowly going down in 5 sets to Dylan Curry. Stacey had led 2-1, but was crucially edged out 13-11 in what proved to be a decisive 4th end.

The final match of the weekend came against the strongest side in the Division, Whitworth Academy I and they won via an 8-0 whitewash. This does not serve as a true reflection of the competitiveness of the match however, as only 2 of the matches were won 3-0 by the league leaders and both of these matches were won by the impressive highest ranked player in the Division, Team GB Paralympian Kim Daybell, who is ranked in the top 20 in England’s senior Men’s ranking list. Foss came the closest to getting a match on the board as he lost in 5 sets to Samuel Perry who is ranked 64 in England.

The players will be returning to action at the end of September for a further 4 fixtures.

The youthful second team captained by Paul Hainsworth containing Daniel Collenette, Ryan Bichard and Matthew Casey had an excellent weekend in National C-6 held at the Generation 2 Table Tennis Centre in Fareham and managed to win all 4 of their matches.

Hainsworth, operating from the number 1 spot led the team strongly courtesy of an unbeaten weekend of 8 straight singles wins and he was well supported by the rest of the team, who won 15 of their 24 singles matches.

The first match of the weekend was a perfect test against Forresters III and in the end a very close 5-4 victory was obtained. Hainsworth and Bichard made the perfect starts in the fixture as each went unbeaten in singles action. Both defeated the 7th best Under 21 female player in England and former Junior International Kate Cheer, with Hainsworth coming back from 2-0 to win in 5, whilst Bichard impressively dispatched her in straight games. Hainsworth’s other win came in straight sets against Forresters number 1 Adam Daley, whilst Bichard came back from 2-1 down to overcome the tricky challenge of Christopher Penrose. In the same nature as Hainsworth and Bichard, Collenette did it the hard way in his win as he came back from 2-1 down to overcome Cedric Felder over the full distance, 13-11 in the final game.

The remaining fixture of the day against Brighton City III saw an emphatic 8-1 win obtained by the team. The match saw Casey earn his first wins of the weekend and both were secured in 4 sets. Collenette lost the only match in 4 games to the very unorthodox style of Brighton’s junior Jamar McGlaushin who was playing from the number 1 spot.

Sunday commenced with an encounter against Waterside II and Hainsworth and Collenette directly contributed to 5 of the 7 wins. Each defeated number 1 Jared Schaller, the youngster who had competed and won 3 of his 4 matches in the Higher National B Division the previous day. Collenette came through impressively in 3 tight sets, whilst Hainsworth had to do it the hard way and won in 5 sets. The duo won their other singles matches 3-0 and also teamed to win the doubles over Schaller and Paul May comprehensively in straight sets. Bichard picked up a 4 set win over Cameron Brealey, whilst Casey edged past Jason Lockyer 11-9 in the 5th set of the final match of the encounter.

The final match was yet another tough clash, but the side showed good mettle when required and won through 5-4 against Newton Abbott TTC. Collenette and Hainsworth gave the side the perfect start courtesy of wins over number 1 Kevin Nicholls in straight sets and number 2 Fraser Kent in 4 sets respectively and Bichard ensured a 3-1 lead was taken into the doubles when he beat Wim Faassen 3-0. The Newton side took the doubles in 4 sets over Bichard and Collenette and the following 2 matches were absolutely pivotal towards the outcome of the match. Hainsworth was defending his 100% singles record against Nicholls and was far from his best. He dug deep though and came back from 2-1 down to win it 12-10 in the decider, having earlier spurned 2 match points at 10-8. Collenette was also struggling in the very next match against Newton number 3 Jon Cheung, but like Hainsworth he battled extremely hard and managed to successfully over-turn a 2-1 deficit, saving multiple match points before coming through 14-12 in the decider. With the result already obtained, the final 2 matches were lost by Bichard and Casey to Kent and Faassen in 5 sets respectively.

The second team return to action in October for the next round of fixtures.