Last Sunday (23rd January, 2011), whilst Widnes Vikings were entertaining St. Helens on the field, inside the Halton Stadium, Barrow were completing rounds 9 and 10 of their British League Premier Division campaign.
Despite best efforts, for the first time this season, a complete Barrow squad didn’t travel to a fixture. Gavin Rumgay had returned from the Slovenian Open the day before and needed to be in Sweden that evening to play for his Swedish club BTK Rekord. His presence was missed by the Barrow team as well as the spectators who commented the venue lacked atmosphere without his cries of “cho”.
Barrow I vs. BATTS I
Going into the fixture, BATTS could feel the weight of the whole division upon them as they sat bottom of the table. With this in mind, Barrow were expecting a fight from a team with strength and depth (Wang Zheng, Craig Bryant, Thomas Bennborn, John Nilsson, etc.). However, BATTS’ star players didn’t travel despite an afternoon match against fellow strugglers Westfield. Maybe BATTS have accepted their fate?
Playing for BATTS I: John Nilsson (Sweden), Tom Maynard (England Number 17), Martin Kubrt (England Number 53), Jimmy Walsh (England Number 63).
With the English Open Pro-Tour starting on Wednesday, both Darius Knight and Paul Drinkhall looked particularly sharp. Indeed, Drinkhall had just returned from a rare and unique trip to China where he had trained with the Chinese U21′s for a week and the Senior National Squad for a further week. It was Knight and Drinkhall that got Barrow off to a winning start with Knight beating John Nilsson (11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3) and Drinkhall beating Tom Maynard (12-10, 11-4, 11-5).
After a 5 match absence, Barrow born Jonathan Crawford returned to action and winning ways disposing of Martin Kubrt (12-10, 11-9, 13-11). Barrow’s German signing Sebastian Laux followed and made easy work of Jimmy Walsh (11-6, 11-6, 11-5) to earn Barrow a 4-0 lead at the half-way mark.
The second half went the same way as the first as Barrow raced to an 8-0 victory. Drinkhall won an exhibition match against Nilsson (11-8, 11-5, 11-8), Knight beat Kubrt (6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4), Laux beat Maynard (11-7, 11-5, 11-8) and Crawford beat Walsh (11-9, 7-11, 11-1, 11-7).
Final Score: Barrow I 8 – 0 BATTS I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Darius Knight (2), Sebastian Laux (2), Jonathan Crawford (2)
BATTS I: John Nilsson (0), Tom Maynard (0), Martin Kubrt (0), Jimmy Walsh (0)
Barrow I vs. Sycamore
After a 7-1 thumping at the hands of Drumchapel Glasgow in the morning, Barrow’s next opponents had dropped to the second relegation spot.
For only the second time this season, Barrow fielded an unchanged winning team.
Playing for Sycamore: Kevin Dolder (England Number 19), Sean Cullen, Danny Lowe (England Number 34), Sam Perry (England Number 29)
Despite looking the better player and leading throughout, Jonathan Crawford just couldn’t close out Danny Lowe (8-11, 12-10, 12-10). Sebastian Laux followed and proceeded to make Sam Perry look ordinary (11-5, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6). This gave Barrow a 3-1 lead at the halfway point.
Kevin Dolder embodies the fight and drive teams like to see in their players and he threw everything he had at Barrow’s Paul Drinkhall. However, despite everything Dolder hurled at Drinkhall it all came back with painful ease as Drinkhall entertained and won (11-5, 11-6, 11-2).
Knight had a fright after been 10-8 down to the ever-consistent and deceptive Danny Lowe at one set apiece, but came away with his 100% record intact. Sebastian Laux completed a good day at the table with a comfortable win over Sean Cullen (11-5, 11-7, 12-10).
In the final match, Crawford once again looked the better player and led throughout against Perry. Perry mustn’t have believed his luck and for Crawford it must have felt like Groundhog Day as he let Perry steal the game (11-9, 14-12, 12-10, 14-12).
Final Score: Barrow I 6 – 2 Sycamore
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Darius Knight (2), Sebastian Laux (2), Jonathan Crawford (0)
Sycamore: Kevin Dolder (0), Sean Cullen (0), Danny Lowe (1), Sam Perry (1)
On Sunday, at the Halton Regional Table Tennis Centre, Barrow I will be going on an adventure to the quicksand mired world of the ‘Relegation Zone’. The ‘Relegation Zone’ is a place big enough for two, but currently occupied by three tribes; Sycamore, Westfield and BATTS. However, on this journey, there will only be enough time for Barrow to go to battle with two of the inhabitants, Sycamore and BATTS.
Barrow will be looking to make the visit to this hostile world brief and swift. But before calling to Denis Neale, “Beam us up Denis”, there is a couple of side missions Barrow will be wanting to complete. Barrow’s Paul Drinkhall will be relishing the opportunity to make a point against Sycamore’s Sam Perry and the team as a whole will be looking to lay to rest the ghost that haunted them so much last time, BATTS’ Thomas Bennborn.
During the day, I work as a Software Engineer on a Social Shopping site. Social Shopping is a shopping slant on the whole social networking thing we hear so much about and either love or hate.
I personally love the whole social media realm and in my spare time enjoy following the latest developments and news. Indeed, during the night I spend a lot of time updating and managing Barrow TTC’s many online social presences (as I’m sure you are all aware).
It seems that my love of table tennis and social media hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last week I was interviewed by PrimeTimePingPong and asked to discuss my two loves.
You can see an extract of the interview below. For the full interview, click here.
If you have any social media questions or want to discuss social media, please leave your questions/comments below.
When asked his advice for table tennis clubs starting out with social media, he (Tristran Swan) offers a word of warning about being too self-promotional rather than interesting and helpful. He says that people will eventually block it out much in the same way they do with other forms of advertising. “It’s almost like looking at an advert on the right hand side of the screen. You know it’s there, but it just doesn’t register.”
“It’s just trial and error. Even social media experts don’t always know what will work right away. Just find out what works best for you. It’s a very niche area at the end of the day. Just go with it and be brave. As long as you’re not offending anyone it doesn’t matter.”
“Just get useful information people find interesting on there. Give some sort of value-added service and people will keep coming back.”
Many people ask what software I use to create the Barrow TTC videos. I use the sometimes quirky iMovie ’09 on a MacBook Pro. Well, I use to at least.
At the weekend the syrupy sugar enriched liquid that goes by the name of Ribena ambushed the Mac. The Mac was fried within a split second and it seems it never stood a chance against the energy fuelled substance. Despite days of air drying, the Mac is no more.
This loss has reduced me to a single Windows 7 1.8GHz Core Duo laptop (not the most powerful beast). I have used Windows Movie Maker in the past to make videos on this machine. However, after having videos copied from YouTube, a requirement is to brand videos with the Barrow TTC logo. This is not possible in Movie Maker.
So, here is a question for you movie making moguls – What video editing software would you recommend?
The 2007/08 British League Division 2 North winning team of Jonathan Crawford, Scott Crawford, Tristran Swan and Steve Dixon were re-united for the first time this season at the weekend.
With only 5 sets dropped over 2 matches – Tristran Swan not dropping any – the proven winning combination demonstrated they haven’t lost their touch. Indeed, such was the convincing nature of the wins, it leaves very little to write about.
Barrow II vs. Derwent II
Barrow II’s first opponents were Derwent II. A team with only 1 point and almost certain to be relegated.
In the first half of the season, Barrow II beat Derwent II 7-1. This time around the team went 1 better and scored a crushing 8-0 victory. Jonathan Crawford beat Nathan Horsley (11-3, 11-4, 11-6) and Mick Wilcockson (11-7, 11-7, 11-6), Scott Crawford beat Mick Wilcockson (11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10) and Richard Crowther (12-10, 18-16, 11-7), Tristran Swan beat Doug Bartle (11-6, 11-4, 11-6) and Nathan Horsley (11-4, 11-4, 11-5) and Steve Dixon beat Richard Crowther (10-12, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5) and Doug Bartle (8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-1).
Final Score: Barrow II 8-0 Derwent II
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Steve Dixon (2)
Derwent II: Mick Wilcockson (0), Nathan Horsley (0), Richard Crowther (0), Doug Bartle (0)
Barrow II vs. Halton II
Barrow II’s afternoon opponents were Halton II. A team sitting comfortably mid-table.
In the first half of the season, Barrow II narrowly beat Halton II 5-3. With Halton missing the experienced Chris Ford, it was a much more comfortable affair this time for Barrow II as they romped home with an 8-0 win. Jonathan Crawford beat Pawel Orzechowski (11-5, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5) and Jake Shaw (11-5, 11-8, 11-8), Scott Crawford beat Jake Shaw (11-3, 12-10, 11-7) and Ernest Mpundu (11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2), Tristran Swan beat Khamal Hussain (11-6, 11-5, 11-8) and Pawel Orzechowski (11-4, 11-8, 11-2) and Steve Dixon beat Ernest Mpundu (11-5, 11-8, 11-9) and Khamal Hussain (11-9, 11-2, 11-8).
Final Score: Barrow II 8-0 Halton II
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Steve Dixon (2)
Halton II: Jake Shaw (0), Pawel Orzechowski (0), Ernest Mpundu (0), Khamal Hussain (0)
Barrow II will be looking to carry forward 2010′s momentum into 2011 this Sunday at Halton Table Tennis Centre. Sitting 2 points clear at the top of the British League Division 2 North table, Barrow II will be looking to maintain their 100% record as they complete their opening fixtures of 2011. On a personal level, Barrow player Scott Crawford will be looking to keep hold of the top spot in the individual averages.
On the Sunday, Barrow II will face relegation-threatened Derwent II, who they beat 7-1 at the start of the season, as well as mid-table-but-dangerous Halton II, who Barrow II beat 5-3 in their previous encounter.
It is the start of a new year. A time to reflect and a time to look ahead and think about what we want to achieve.
With this in mind, I asked a few Barrow TTC players the following questions (as well as answered them myself). Please leave your answers to the questions in the comments section below.
- What is your table tennis target for 2011?
- What is your personal goal for 2011?
- To win Division 2 North of the British League with Barrow II and to help Barrow I win the British League Premier Division. Going into the new season, I’d like to take everything I’ve learnt running the Barrow teams this season and make things even better.
- To adapt to a new life as a father and find the right balance that allows me to do everything I want and keep those important to me happy.
- To qualify for the U21 Pro-Tour Finals – it is my last year.
- To be ranked in the World top 150 ahead of the Olympics next year.
- To win the British League Premier Division with Barrow and maintain the outstanding team-spirit.
- To enjoy the last half of my stay in England.
- To practice and compete more and help Barrow win matches in the British League.
- To successfully complete my degree (BSc. (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science) achieving a 2.1. Also, manage my time effectively so I can still practice and compete in table tennis.
- To reach the top 40 men in England.
- To get into University and achieve an A in Business Studies (A-Level).
- To reach 2000 ranking points by mid-year to get me up into Band 3 for the Grand Prix events the following season. Then hopefully build on this total during the 2011/2012 season.
- Try and get more organise and a bit more tidy!
Not since Eric Cantona’s infamous Kung Fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan have I heard of such a sporting spectator assault.
It is being reported on the table tennis talk forum that an assault took place on a spectator at the Western Masters VETTS tournament at the weekend. You can see an account below (taken from this thread on the table tennis talk forum). When first reading it I was dumbstruck. I hope the ETTA acts swiftly and appropriately, but what would an appropriate disciplinary action be?
“I’m not going to give names in this question as it may affect the objectivity of responses. If anyone responds to this and is aware of the individuals, I think it would provide a more objective discussion if you also avoided using names.
I played the Western Master this weekend and there was an incident resulting in a player being ejected from the tournament. I’ll give you my approximation of events. I am satisfied that they are fairly correct, but there may be some small details that are not exactly accurate.
‘Player’ refers to the competing player in this story and ‘Spectator’ refers to the non-playing person.
A fairly significant match is being played towards the latter end of one of the main competitions. It’s 2-2 in legs, and I believe the score was 5-3 in favour of the Player’s opponent. The Player claimed that the Spectator was coaching his opponent and obviously got annoyed. The player decided to resolve the issue by going to his kit bag, taking out a spare bat and physically attacking the Spectator about the head with it, until being physically restrained.
The outcome of all of this was a Spectator that had been physically assaulted (not really any other way to put this) and the Player was ejected from the competition and the premises.”
He isn’t a super hero, but self-styled ‘Stigaboy’ is shaping up to be England’s next table tennis child prodigy and possible future champion. The 7-year-old son of James Brown (no, not the “Godfather of Soul”, but he of luminous trainer fame) is improving fast and I’ll definitely be following his progress through his YouTube videos.
Good luck Stigaboy!
Firstly, I hope everyone had a nice illness free Christmas and New Year (for those abroad, there are a lot of nasty flu varieties circulating around these parts). Personally, I had a very enjoyable Christmas with family and spent a ‘chilled’ New Years with some good friends. My spare time was largely spent relaxing with my girlfriend and thinking about our new baby whom is baking away (i.e. lots of pram shopping). So, all in all, a very nice break.
Now the festive holiday is over, it is back to reality and January is shaping up to be a very busy month for Barrow TTC and its players. So far, it is looking something like this:
- Jan 16th – British League Division 2 North (Halton Table Tennis Centre, Widnes, WA8 7DZ)
- Jan 18th to Jan 22nd – Slovenian Open (Gavin Rumgay & Darius Knight playing)
- Jan 22nd – Training Camp for kids (tbc)
- Jan 23rd – British League Premier Division (Halton Table Tennis Centre, Widnes, WA8 7DZ)
- Jan 26th to Jan 30th – English Open (Paul Drinkhall, Gavin Rumgay & Darius Knight playing)