Prior to flying out to the Commonwealth Games a couple of months ago, Paul Drinkhall and Darius Knight had the pleasure of meeting Michael Bublé. Or maybe that should be Michael Bublé had the pleasure of meeting (and playing against) Paul and Darius as Bublé told a spellbound Sheffield audience, “Today I had one of the coolest days of my life”.
Prior to Paul Drinkhall and Darius Knight joining Barrow TTC I had little interest in following the England team. Now I have an association with the players, I love it. Watching England vs. India at the Commonwealths was intense and seeing Paul’s dramatic comeback against Sharath Kamal Achanta was something special.
During that match, in my eyes, Paul demonstrated unbelievable fight, visible for all to see as he punched the air in triumph. However, for some other England fans this demonstration was a little too much. What do you think? (leave your comments below)
Comment published by a British League player:
“Having said this, I feel I must comment on the atrocious behaviour of our no 1 ranked player, whose antics at the end of each point by shouting, raising a fist in the air and often parading around in what I can at best only describe as ungentlemanly behaviour, in my view, serves to bring the game into ridicule & disrepute.”
“I detest this sort of behaviour, as everyone else that I have spoken to, agrees with as well and goodness knows what sort of example this sets for other aspiring young players we are trying to attract to our sport.”
“I believe that the umpires should stamp out such intolerable, provocative behaviour/bad sportsmanship, as this should not feature in table tennis as I know it.”
Sometimes, you think you know someone. Then bang! Out of the blue they pull something out from their history which takes you by surprise. Well, this could be one of those instances.
Check out the picture below and tell me which person is a current Barrow TTC player and who that player is.
I really enjoyed last weekend for a number of reasons, but there is one highlight that really stands out.
It isn’t that Barrow II retained their 100% record beating division leaders Chesterfield in the process. It isn’t that it was so good to see so many of the first team present supporting the second team. It isn’t even laughing, as Denis Neale got so wound-up when Duncan Crawford suggested Bradley Billington had beaten Jan-Ove Waldner. Lastly, it isn’t how well Graham Coupe played against Peter Morgan on the Sunday afternoon. Infact, it wasn’t even a table tennis match. Though it did involve Sheffield player Peter Morgan.
It was only a matter of time before the PS3 came out. With Peter Morgan boasting a 3-year unbeaten FIFA spell, the gauntlet was laid. It was Kane that took up the challenge.
Whilst Pete enjoyed most of the possession, he simply couldn’t convert in the last third. Kane on the other hand possessed unpredictable flashes of brilliance, which were deadly. So deadly, they ended Pete’s 3-year FIFA unbeaten spell in the most entertaining of fashion. It was brilliant, compelling on the edge of the seat stuff and my highlight of the weekend.
Happy days and massive thanks to Darius for putting us up.
The weather was kind as the Barrow II squad of Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford, Scott Crawford, Tristran Swan, Steve Dixon and Graham Coupe travelled over the Pennines to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Joining them for a weekend of British League Division 2 North action were supporters Paul Drinkhall, Darius Knight, Sebastian Laux, Tom Smith and coach Denis Neale.
Barrow II vs. Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II’s first opponents were Drumchapel Glasgow III. Sitting third in the table, only one place behind Barrow II, a tough match was expected.
However, the forecasted stormy waters didn’t materialise as Barrow gave Drumchapel a drumming, winning 8-0.
Barrow’s Bradley Evans beat Scott Barton (11-9, 11-8, 11-6) and Calum Main (10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2), Jonathan Crawford beat Calum Main (11-8, 11-8, 11-4) and Nathan Courtney (11-7, 11-8, 11-1), Scott Crawford beat Andrew McFadyen (11-7, 13-11, 11-6) and Scott Barton (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-7) and Steve Dixon made his season’s debut beating Nathan Courtney (9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8) and Andrew McFadyen (12-10, 11-9, 11-8).
Final Score: Barrow II 8-0 Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II: Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Steve Dixon (2)
Drumchapel Glasgow III: Calum Main (0), Scott Barton (0), Nathan Courtney (0), Andrew McFadyen (0)
Chesterfield vs. Barrow II
Saturday afternoon’s opponents were Chesterfield. A team disappointed not to have been promoted last season and this season’s league leaders. On paper, Chesterfield’s game difference over Barrow suggested they might be favourites, but Barrow were boosted by the presence of England Number 37 Bradley Evans.
Jonathan Crawford got the match underway for Barrow against Chesterfield’s Will Cooney. Sets were traded as Jonathan took the first 11-6, Cooney the second 9-11 and Jonathan the third 11-5. The fourth set looked to be breaking the pattern as Jonathan took a 10-4 lead. However, Cooney had other ideas as he fought back to make it 10 apiece. Cooney couldn’t maintain the momentum though as he failed to set-up what would have been a very nervous fifth set as Jonathan won the fourth 12-10. Bradley Evans followed and scored a comfortable win over Andy Henry (11-6, 11-7, 11-6) to give Barrow an early 2-0 lead.
Chesterfield’s Andrew Horsefield proved too sharp for Barrow’s Steve Dixon. Despite his best efforts, Dixon just couldn’t keep Horsefield’s aggressive attacking at bay as he went down 5-11, 13-15, 6-11. Scott Crawford then stepped forward and beat the impressive-looking Mark Short (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 13-11) to earn Barrow a 3-1 lead at the halfway point.
The second half got underway with Bradley Evans winning a 5 set thriller against William Cooney to guarantee Barrow at least a draw. Barrow expected to win the next game to seal the victory. Andrew Horsefield, however, was determined not to be beaten and defeated Jonathan Crawford (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 7-11) to keep Chesterfield’s chances of a draw alive. Chesterfield’s hopes were soon dashed as the younger Crawford (Scott) stepped in to seal an important victory for Barrow with a win over Andy Henry (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9). Consolation for Chesterfield came in the form of a Mark Short victory over Steve Dixon (3-11, 9-11, 4-11) to leave the score line of a very important match 5-3 to Barrow.
Final Score: Chesterfield 3-5 Barrow II
Barrow II: Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (1), Scott Crawford (2), Steve Dixon (0)
Chesterfield: William Cooney (0), Andy Henry (0), Andrew Horsefield (2), Mark Short (1)
Barrow II vs. Ormesby III
Sunday wasn’t a day of rest for Barrow II as they got the day underway playing fourth placed Ormesby III. A strong start it was, too, as Jonathan Crawford beat Martin Rutter (13-15, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10), Scott Crawford beat Edward Fambely (7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 13-11) and Tristran Swan beat Karl Shaw (11-5, 11-7, 11-8) to give Barrow an early 3-0 lead. It was nearly a perfect start, but Graham Coupe was just edged out by Michael Young (7-11, 14-12, 10-12, 9-11) to make the score 3-1 at the halfway mark.
Barrow’s winning ways returned as Jonathan Crawford beat Edward Fambely (11-4, 11-7, 11-6). Tristran Swan then went down to Martin Rutter by the closest of margins (12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 13-15). Scott Crawford beat Michael Young (12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) and Graham Coupe won his first match of the season in a tactical exchange against Karl Shaw (3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9) to give Barrow a comfortable 6-2 win.
Final Score: Barrow II 6-2 Ormesby III
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (1), Graham Coupe (1)
Ormesby III: Edward Fambely (0), Martin Rutter (1), Michael Young (1), Karl Shaw (0)
Barrow II vs. Sheffield
Barrow II overcame Sheffield 5-3 at the start of the season. A far from convincing margin and a game Sheffield felt they could have come away from with a little bit more.
The match got under way with Jonathan Crawford overcoming the improved Jack Grant (12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7) and Scott Crawford beating Jack’s father, the experienced Bill Grant (11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9).
With Barrow expecting the Crawford brothers to win four games, a fifth game had to come from somewhere for Barrow to win the fixture. For Barrow, the most likely fifth win would come in the next match, Tristran Swan versus Liam Carson.
It was then the turn of Graham Coupe who stepped into the court to face the much higher-ranked Peter Morgan. Coupe always gives 100%, but on this occasion he was visibly fired up for the game. A defender by trade, Coupe played some ferocious forehands away from the table and on occasion they were just a little too crazy. The match was without doubt the most entertaining of the weekend as Coupe played some of his best table tennis. Despite his best efforts though, Coupe eventually went down to a relieved Morgan 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11.
With the score 3-1 to Barrow at the halfway point, Jonathan Crawford faced up to Bill Grant and came away the victor (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7). Helped by a dose of good luck, Tristran Swan scored a good win over Jack Grant (11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 4-11, 11-6) and Scott Crawford maintained his weekend’s 100% record with a battling loop-to-loop encounter with Peter Morgan (11-9, 9-11, 13-15, 11-3, 11-6). Liam Carson was too consistent against Graham Coupe’s defense, winning 10-12, 4-11, 11-9, 8-11. It was Barrow though that walked away with a better-than-anticipated 6-2 victory.
Final Score: Barrow II 6-2 Sheffield
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Graham Coupe (0)
Sheffield: Bill Grant (0), Jack Grant (0), Peter Morgan (1), Liam Carson (1)
It was Division 2 North of the British League last weekend and in attendance was Barrow TTC Coach Denis Neale. Now, for those that don’t know Denis, he is a passionate (mature) man that is always correct. It is his passion and strong beliefs that make him fun to wind-up every now and then.
Anyways, whenever I see Denis, he always asks whether I know when the next $100,000 hardbat tournament is going to be in Las Vegas. As far as I knew, last years event was struggling to get sponsors and wasn’t happening.
This weekend however, Denis had the answers. Apparently the hardbat tournament had been modified to a sandpaper bat tournament and is once again going to be held in Las Vegas. At first, I thought someone was winding him up and suggested that this might be the case. Denis insisted it was genuine and that he was in the process of entering.
Well, the first thing I have done this lunchtime is check out whether this $100,000 sandpaper bat tournament is genuine. Guess what, it is!
UPDATE: Barrow Table Tennis Club’s Paul Drinkhall will be playing the 2011 World Championship of Ping Pong on February 7-8th, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Allow me to introduce you to the new premier table tennis organization, the World Championship of Ping Pong (WCPP). We are officially accepting applications for the 2011 World Championship of Ping Pong on February 7-8th, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The top sixteen professional players will be selected to represent their respective countries and will compete in the ‘Classic’, a single elimination round robin tournament with one ultimate champion. The second day’s competition features the ‘Marco Polo Cup’, a team event pitting the eight World players against the eight Asian players.
We are proud to partner with FoxSportsNet and Matchroom Sport, as we will offer the first global broadcast of the WCPP with eight original hours, premiering in April, 2011. The programs will be viewable in over 810 million homes worldwide on Fox Sports Net in the USA, Eurosport in Europe, CCTV in China, and ESPN Star TV throughout Asia, to name a few.
The WCPP aims to revitalize the sport of table tennis with the introduction of our unique sand paper racquets. Racquets will be distributed to you via mail before the tournament starts. Since the racquet is the first of its kind you will have an equal opportunity to train and play.
The World Championship of Ping Pong will take place on February 7th and 8th, 2011, in Las Vegas at the Pearl Theatre of the Palms Casino Resort. Here, the world’s top table tennis players from around the world will be showcased as you compete for over $100,000 dollars in total cash prizes. Every player will be awarded a minimum of $1,500 for attending, free round trip airfare, hotel accommodations, as well as a daily stipend for food and leisure spending.
Back in time I wore a cap whilst playing in the British League. It seems to have given me some sort of notoriety and Tony Meredith (British League Referee) referred to it as my d*ckhead cap.
Well, this season the cap has been laid it to rest. This hasn’t come without a couple of consequences though. One is that people no longer recognise me and the second is a new pre British League weekend ritual. I now get my haircut the week before a British League weekend (the length of time between British League weekends is such that my hair grows to a length it gets in my eyes whilst playing). I know, the latter consequence is very tragic indeed.
I got my haircut today, which means only one thing. Yes, it is time to dust down my bat and kick into British League Division 2 North action with Barrow II as we battle for promotion. In fact, this weekend is going to be massive as we face up to league leaders Chesterfield.
Come on Barrow boys, we can do it!
This weekend, Barrow II play their second set of British League Division 2 North fixtures at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.
Like the first team, Barrow II has all to play for as they fight for promotion to Division 1 North. After four matches, Barrow II have a maximum 8 points, but sit second in the table to Chesterfield on game difference.
Over the weekend, Barrow II will face some tough opposition including: third placed Drumchapel Glasgow III, current table-toppers Chesterfield, fourth placed Ormesby III and fifth placed Sheffield; whom Barrow II have already beaten once 5-3.
Coming away from the last British League Premier Division weekend, there are three things that stand out in my mind:
- How much I had underestimated Ormesby, DHS Greenhouse Progress and Fusion. These teams played tremendously, in particular Jason Sugrue and Sule Olaleye, and our matches were as competitive and intense as our first match against Drumchapel Glasgow. Indeed, on the day, I think our scores against DHS Greenhouse Progress and Fusion flattered us.
- How much Darius Knight has improved. I have yet to see him tested, but his comfortable win over Gareth Herbert who is in tremendous form is testament to how well Darius is playing at the moment.
- That Barrow really is the best team to play for in the British League. I don’t think there is a team with our camaraderie and to see every game well supported, whether it is a match clincher or the last match when everything has been decided is brilliant. Not only that, but everyone gets on so well off the table and it is brilliant to see the players families all involved.
For those that haven’t witnessed a British League Premier weekend, I would go as far as saying last weekend was way better and way more exciting than last season’s English Open finals (during which my girlfriend knitted a scarf as I fell asleep next to her).
Barrow I travelled with a full squad to last weekend’s British League Premier Division at the BATTS table tennis centre in Harlow. The team was buoyant and confident, expecting little in the way of obstacles ahead of the final match of the weekend: a showdown with Drumchapel Glasgow. Complacency breeds contempt, so it was imperative Barrow didn’t let things slip along the way.
Barrow I vs. Ormesby I
Barrow I’s first opponents were Ormesby I, a team that knows how to win and has won the British League on a number of occasions.
After the first weekend, Ormesby occupied 4th place in the league table but, against Barrow, fielded a strengthened team.
Playing for Ormesby I were: Damien Nicholls (England Number 8), John Murphy (Ireland Number 1), Michael Marsden (England Number 13), Karina Le Fevre (England Number 5)
To start, the game went to expectation. Paul Drinkhall comfortably beat John Murphy (14-12, 11-3, 11-5), Gavin Rumgay beat Damien Nicholls (11-9, 11-6, 11-9) and Darius Knight was too strong for Karina Le Fevre (11-8, 12-10, 11-5).
Barrow’s Bradley Evans ranked at 37 in England then faced the seasoned fighter and higher ranked Michael Marsden (England Number 13). Both players seemed to struggle to get settled. Marsden repeatedly served off the end of the table or in to the net. Evans didn’t take advantage, as he proved too inconsistent in the rallies. In the end, Evans’ inconsistency was too much as Marsden battled with himself to take the game in 3 straight sets (7-11, 9-11, 7-11). At the halfway point, Barrow I had a 3-1 lead.
The pattern of the first half was repeated. Drinkhall comfortably beat Nicholls (11-4, 11-4, 11-6), Knight easily beat Murphy (11-9, 11-5, 11-3) and Rumgay came through a tougher than expected match against Marsden (10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2). Once again, Evans struggled to get his game going and went down in a surprise defeat to Le Fevre (10-12, 11-13, 7-11) to leave the match score 6-2 to Barrow.
Final Score: Barrow I 6 – 2 Ormesby I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Gavin Rumgay (2), Darius Knight (2), Bradley Evans (0)
Ormesby I: Damien Nicholls (0), John Murphy (0), Michael Marsden (1), Karina Le Fevre (1)
DHS Greenhouse Progress I vs. Barrow I
Barrow I’s second game of the weekend and last for the Saturday was against DHS Greenhouse Progress I. DHS Greenhouse Progress I finished 2nd last year and, two seasons prior to that, had won the British League Premier division a massive 10 seasons on the trot.
Playing for DHS Greenhouse Progress I were: Po Huang Chen (China), Colum Slevin (Ireland), Jason Sugrue (Ireland), Daniel Basterfield (England Number 43)
First up saw Barrow’s Gavin Rumgay face the massive forehand of China’s Po Huang Chen. For all Rumgay’s fight, Chen’s forehand was simply too much to handle as Rumgay went down 11-1, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6. Paul Drinkhall followed for Barrow and scored a comfortable win over the deceivingly-good Colum Slevin (7-11, 10-12, 6-11).
It was then up to Barrow-born Scott Crawford to overcome a much more experienced player in the form of Irish Senior International Jason Sugrue. Crawford went on with the intention of playing his own game, but in the end Sugrue’s experience overcame Crawford’s enthusiasm as he took the game (11-6, 11-8, 11-6). Darius Knight, as composed as ever and looking better than ever overcame Daniel Basterfield (4-11, 8-11, 8-11) to leave the match closely poised 2 apiece at the halfway mark.
Drinkhall, fresh from winning the Polish Open U21’s, was simply too sharp for Chen as he won in three straight sets (5-11, 12-14, 9-11). With the score now 3-2 in Barrow I’s favour, Rumgay faced Sugrue in a match that was an expected win for Barrow. Rumgay lost the first two sets by the narrowest of margins (14-12, 12-10) before staging a come back to take the next two sets (5-11, 7-11). Going into the deciding set it appeared like the momentum was with Rumgay. Sugrue had other ideas though as he raced off to a 7-1 lead. It wasn’t just Rumgay feeling the pressure, the whole Barrow team and travelling supporters did too as they shouted for their man. Rumgay heard the cries, thrived on the pressure, upped the tempo and took the game in the most dramatic of fashion 12-14. The importance of this match cannot be underestimated as it gave Barrow a 4-2 lead.
Barrow’s cool Knight night then faced Slevin. A game needed to guarantee Barrow victory and to ease the pressure off Crawford who would face much higher ranked competition in the final game. At first, Knight was surprised by Slevin’s quality and consistency as he went down in the first set 14-12. Knight held his cool and went on to take the remaining sets and the match by equally tight margins (7-11, 11-13, 10-12).
With the benefit of no pressure, Crawford faced Basterfield, a player ranked 48 places higher in England. Basterfield took the first set 14-12. Crawford then came back in the next set taking it 6-11 before Basterfield scored a comfortable 11-2 victory in the third set. Crawford didn’t let this get to him, he stayed focused and came back to take the next two sets (5-11, 6-11) giving Barrow I a flattering 6-2 win.
Final Score: DHS Greenhouse Progress I 2 – 6 Barrow I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Gavin Rumgay (1), Darius Knight (2), Scott Crawford (1)
DHS Greenhouse Progress I: Po Huang Chen (1), Colum Slevin (0), Jason Sugrue (1), Daniel Basterfield (0)
Barrow I vs. Fusion I
Barrow I’s Sunday started with a match-up against Fusion I, the team Barrow were
promoted to the British League Premier Division with the season before. During their play-off encounter, Barrow and Fusion drew 4 all. However, this team was a very different prospect with former Nigerian International Sule Olaleye the only familiar face.
Playing for Fusion I were: Sule Olaleye (Nigeria), Lorestas Trumpauskas (England Number 14), Kazeem Adisa Adekeke (Nigeria), Mohammed Emran Hussain (England Number 24)
The match opened with Barrow’s Paul Drinkhall facing Lorestas Trumpauskas, the one time Lithuanian National Champion. Trumpauskas was simply outclassed as Drinkhall won 11-3, 11-8, 11-4. Gavin Rumgay then played Sule Olaleye. The game started in dramatic fashion with intense rallying. The titanic first set was eventually settled as Olaleye won 16-18. Olaleye continued to play like a man possessed, his eyes oozing determination. Rumgay covered the court and battled hard, as you would expect Rumgay too. It wasn’t to be though as Olaleye was too much for Rumgay to handle as he took the next two sets 7-11, 2-11.
Darius Knight didn’t get going in the first set against Mohammed Emran Hussain (5-11), but then looked invincible in the following three (11-4, 11-2, 11-4). Laux lost to Kazeem Adisa Adekeke (10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11) in a game he will have come away from thinking he could have done better and maybe should have won. At the halfway point, the match score was Barrow I – 2, Fusion I – 2; there was all to play for.
Olaleye stole the first end off Drinkhall 9-11. Sensing an upset, Olaleye tried his best to psyche out and eyeball Drinkhall. Too experienced to let such mind games affect him, Drinkhall upped his game and won the free flowing rallies that ensued. Drinkhall’s power was the difference as he won the next three sets 11-2, 11-9, 11-8. Knight then proceeded to beat Trumpauskas (11-8, 11-13, 11-6, 11-6), Rumgay overcame Adekeke in a fashionably tough five-set battle (11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8) and Laux comfortably overcame the downbeat Hussain (11-3, 14-12, 11-7) to give Barrow I a 6-2 victory.
Final Score: Barrow I 6 – 2 Fusion I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Gavin Rumgay (1), Darius Knight (2), Sebastian Laux (1)
Fusion I: Sule Olaleye (1), Lorestas Trumpauskas (0), Kazeem Adisa Adekeke (1), Mohammed Emran Hussain (0)
Barrow I vs. Drumchapel Glasgow I
The last match of the weekend saw the start of the second half of the British League season. For Barrow I, this meant a rematch with fellow title contenders Drumchapel Glasgow I.
In the first match, Barrow I won by the tightest of margins 5-3. This gave Barrow a two-point lead over Drumchapel Glasgow, which they have managed to maintain ever since.
Barrow fielded the same side as the last time the two teams faced each other. Drumchapel Glasgow made one switch with Welsh Number 3 Stephen Jenkins coming in for Scottish Number 2 Craig Howieson.
Playing for Drumchapel Glasgow I were: Ryan Jenkins (Wales Number 2), Gareth Herbert (England Number 9), Terry Young (England Number 12), Stephen Jenkins (Wales Number 3)
The match got under way with Barrow’s Paul Drinkhall facing Drumchapel Glasgow’s Gareth Herbert, a player who had been playing magnificently throughout the weekend. Drinkhall took the first set (11-4) and Herbert the second (5-11). In the third set Herbert was on fire and took a 0-6 lead. Drinkhall fought back to 8-10 before Herbert took a timeout, gathered his composure and came back to the table to take the set 8-11. Drinkhall was now 2-1 down in a match that it was imperative he won if Barrow were to beat Drumchapel Glasgow. The smart money would have been on Herbert at 9-9 in the fourth set with Herbert serving. However, Paul flicked the first serve for a winner and then won the next point against the serve to win 11-9. With everything tied in the final set of a must-win game for Barrow, the pressure was on. Drinkhall came good and took the final set 11-7 to give Barrow the early lead.
Next Gavin Rumgay faced Ryan Jenkins. Of late, it has been Jenkins that has been getting the better of Rumgay. Rumgay was looking good as he took the first set (11-7) and he was unlucky to loose the second (10-12). Despite playing his best table tennis of the weekend, Rumgay didn’t have what was needed to beat Jenkins as he lost the next two sets (7-11, 8-11) and the match.
Darius Knight once again quietly went about doing the business as he comfortably beat Stephen Jenkins (11-6, 11-6, 13-11). Sebastian Laux wasn’t able to avenge his defeat against the strong-looking Terry Young (9-11, 11-13, 4-11). At the halfway point, this left the match 2 apiece.
It was then Drinkhall’s turn to face Ryan Jenkins in a game Drinkhall would expect to win. At first, Drinkhall looked to be cruising as he comfortably took the first two sets (11-8, 11-4). Jenkins’ tactics didn’t look to have changed drastically, but Drinkhall did seem to be tiring as Jenkins fought back to take the next to sets (9-11, 7-11). In the Barrow camp the tension could be felt. Again, this was a must-win game that was on the cusp of swinging in the favour of Drumchapel Glasgow. In the fifth and final set, as the players switched ends, Drinkhall held a comfortable 5-2 lead. Drinkhall began to look ever more tired as the momentum switched to Jenkins. Jenkins recovered to 8-7 and then found himself 8-9 up. On the next point Jenkins caught the net to give himself an important 8-10 lead. There was still hope for Barrow as Drinkhall is famed around the world for playing his best table tennis at moments like these. Drinkhall took the next point, 9 -10. Everyone watched in silence with a feeling of expectation. On this occasion it wasn’t to be, Jenkins took the next point to win the game and give Drumchapel Glasgow the lead for the first time. The score was now 3-2 to Drumchapel Glasgow.
For Barrow, the next match was vital. Knight versus an in-form Herbert whose serve and deathly touch and feel is feared. The conviction with which Knight won (11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7) is a reflection on how much his game has improved over the last couple of months as he retained his 100% record. Rumgay and Young then entertained, but it was Rumgay that took home the victory (13-11, 7-11, 11-4, 13-11).
With the last seven matches consigned to history, the score 4-3 in Barrow’s favour, it was up to Laux to seal an all-important victory for Barrow. At first, Laux struggled to read and return Stephen Jenkins serves as he lost the first two sets convincingly (6-11, 5-11). In the third end, Laux started to get into the game as the pressure mounted on the shoulders of Jenkins. With the score at 4-2 to Laux, the umpire called a questionable let as Jenkins crashed through the barriers on a point Laux was sure to win. It was clear both players and teams couldn’t understand the reason for the let call, the umpire made no attempt to give an answer as he just stared forward. With so much at stake, Jenkins didn’t show any sportsmanship and play resumed.
At this point it seemed things weren’t going to go Barrow’s way. Thankfully, the let call didn’t have any bearing on the rest of the set as Laux held his nerve and went on to win 11-8. Going into the fourth set, backed by strong vocal support, Laux continued to throw everything he had into the match. It wasn’t to be though as Jenkins held strong and took the fourth set 6-11 to earn Drumchapel Glasgow a valuable draw.
Final Score: Barrow I 4 – 4 Drumchapel Glasgow I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (1), Gavin Rumgay (1), Darius Knight (2), Sebastian Laux (0)
Drumchapel Glasgow I: Ryan Jenkins (2), Gareth Herbert (0), Terry Young (1), Stephen Jenkins (1)