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)
Tristran Swan, Barrow TTC team manager, looks ahead to the second British League Premier Division weekend with BBC Radio Cumbria’s Paul Newton.
There have been rumours going into this British League weekend that we (Barrow TTC) have signed a new player. One rumour even suggests a top Chinese player that plays in Sweden. I can categorically state, “Barrow TTC have not signed any new players going into the second British League weekend”.
We are aware that there is a good chance that Drumchapel Glasgow may have signed another player. We too could sign someone. Indeed, if it wasn’t for a fixture clash we would be debuting a new number 1 on Sunday.
When re-analysing the situation (after finding out about the fixture clash), we felt that signing a new player would only be buying guaranteed success and would be detrimental to the team (at this moment in time). The team felt they had started out together and that it was important they won the British League together as a team and earned the honour of being champions.
This weekend, Barrow I will be making the long journey south to Old Harlow to play the second of four weekends that constitute the British League Premier division season.
Barrow I currently top the table with four wins from four, including an important 5-3 victory over reigning champions Drumchapel Glasgow.
Barrow I’s opening Saturday fixture is not only tough, but has an interesting twist. It comes in the form of an experienced team from a northeast club co-founded by Barrow TTC coach Denis Neale in 1957, Ormesby. This is the team that Neale won the European Club cup with in 1972, the only English team to ever do so. After that, Barrow I face London club DHS Greenhouse Progress.
Sunday’s aperitif comes in the form of a match-up between Barrow I and Fusion, the team Barrow were promoted with after last season’s play-offs. It is then time for the main course, the British League crunch match of the decade, the return fixture against Drumchapel Glasgow.
Speaking about the weekend and the Drumchapel Glasgow fixture in particular, Barrow Team Manager Tristran Swan commented,
“Only Drumchapel Glasgow concerns me. Barrow and Drumchapel are a class apart from the other teams in the division. Saying that, we can’t afford to go easy as a loss against Drumchapel will bring all the other results into play.”
“The Drumchapel game is massive. The players know it and they know what is at stake. A win will make us very strong favourites for the title. A draw will put us in a perilous position, as we can’t guarantee that our top players will always be available. For me, a loss will be a disaster as I don’t believe we can beat Drumchapel on game difference.”
“There will be a few key games (in the match against Drumchapel). Assuming they have the same squad, the match between Gavin (Rumgay) and Ryan Jenkins is hugely important as are the matches involving our number 4 player (player to be announced).”
I started all a gusto, peaked way too early and then plummeted off a cliff. I can only apologise as I let my new blog turn into a stale stagnant bog. I simply got caught up in all kinds of things table tennis. Table tennis is infectious, addictive and will take over your life. In fact, it should come with a health warning on the packet!
So, for a quick catch-up. The Barrow ‘dream team’ turned into reality and I can only imagine the disappointment on the faces of certain other team members as our stars walked into the hall the first British League weekend. What a weekend it was too!
The weekend started on a high as Barrow TTC ended reigning champions Drumchapel Glasgow’s two year winning spell. It was tight, tighter than I expected, but the guys got the job done and the rest of the weekend was plain sailing (see the Barrow TTC YouTube Channel for the match videos). Indeed, one thing that became quickly apparent is the big gulf that exists between Drumchapel and us, and the rest of the British League Premier Division teams. We (Drumchapel and Barrow) have set the bar and I only hope the rest have the hunger and desire to catch-up and compete.
Away from the British League, Barrow TTC’s Paul Drinkhall, Darius Knight and Gavin Rumgay competed at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Paul, Darius and the rest of the England team enjoyed a
successful games walking away with a well deserved silver medal in the men’s team event (what a game between Paul and Achanta Sharath Kamal in the team semi-final match between England and India). Paul also came away with a bronze in the mixed doubles with partner Joanna Parker.
So, that is a quick round-up of what has happened. This leads into the question, what do we have to look forward to? Only the second British League Premier Division weekend and the British League crunch match of the decade between Barrow TTC and Drumchapel Glasgow. It is going to be massive!
British League Premier Division First Weekend Table
British League Premier Division Results
British League Premier Division Barrow Player Averages
Last weekend, a full strength Barrow I confidently strutted into the DHS Greenhouse Progress Tournament Centre to make their British League Premier Division debut. Heads visibly turned as players and spectators counted in the Barrow stars; Paul Drinkhall – check, Gavin Rumgay – check, Darius Knight – check.
Drumchapel Glasgow I vs Barrow I
Played in front of a large and expectant crowd, the majority of which were Barrow supporters, Barrow I’s first game saw them face Drumchapel Glasgow I. The game had been billed by the ETTA as “the most eagerly anticipated British League match for many years”.
Playing for Drumchapel Glasgow I, British League champions for the last two seasons were: Ryan Jenkins (Welsh Number 2), Gareth Herbert (former England Number 1), Terry Young (Commonwealth Gold medallist) and Craig Howieson (Scotland Number 2).
In the first game, Gavin Rumgay faced Ryan Jenkins in a repeat of their Liverpool Grandprix final a month ago. On that occasion, Ryan got the better of Gavin. This time around, despite Gavin stealing the first set 13 – 11, Ryan went on to win 11 – 4, 11 – 4, 11 – 3. Gavin wasn’t playing his usual confident self, possibly victim to jetlag from his flight from China, and Ryan fresh from the European Championships simply didn’t let him get going.
Paul Drinkhall then stepped up and demonstrated his class comfortably beating Gareth Herbert (1 1 – 7, 11 – 6, 11 – 7). It was then over to Barrow I’s German signing Sebastian Laux who made a sensational British League debut going 2 sets to 0 up against England Number 14 Terry Young (11 – 8, 11 – 8). However, Sebastian didn’t take his chances when they presented themselves and eventually went down to the ever-fighting Terry (6 – 11, 9 – 11, 9 – 11). Darius Knight put in a workmanlike performance beating Craig Howieson (11 – 8, 5 – 11, 11 – 7, 13 – 11). At the halfway point, the match was tied two apiece leaving all to play for.
Barrow I went into the second half confident and struck Drumchapel Glasgow I with a hard hitting 1-2-3 combo. Paul Drinkhall, utilised his skill and power to beat Ryan Jenkins (11 – 9, 11 – 2, 11 – 9). Barrow I team captain Gavin Rumgay mustered his Scottish spirit beating Terry Young (5 – 11, 11 – 5, 11 – 8, 11 – 8 ) whilst Darius Knight dished out killer forehands and the killer blow as he beat England Number 11 Gareth Herbert 11 – 7, 12 – 10, 4 – 11, 13 – 11.
With victory secured, Sebastian Laux once again entered a marathon of a game against Craig Howieson. This time, he went 2 sets to 0 down (9 – 11, 6 – 11) before fighting back to bring the game level (14 – 12, 11 – 9). In the final set, Sebastian got off to a flier, however, he couldn’t maintain the momentum and Craig came back to take the game and set (11 – 13). This left the final match score 5 – 3 to Barrow I – an excellent and memorable victory.
Final Score: Drumchapel Glasgow I 3 – 5 Barrow I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Gavin Rumgay (1), Darius Knight (2), Sebastian Laux (0)
Drumchapel Glasgow I: Ryan Jenkins (1), Gareth Herbert (0), Terry Young (1), Craig Howieson (1)
Barrow I vs BATTS I
After a very early climax to the season, Barrow I needed to keep the impetus going as they faced BATTS I.
Playing for BATTS I were: Wang Zheng (China), Craig Bryant (England Number 18), Thomas Bennborn (Sweden), Jimmy Walsh (England Number 69).
With Paul Drinkhall beating Craig Bryant (11 – 8, 9 – 11, 11 – 4, 11 – 9), Gavin Rumgay beating Wang Zheng (11 – 9, 11 – 7, 8 – 11, 11 – 3) and Darius Knight beating Jimmy Walsh (11 – 5, 11 – 3, 12 – 10), it wasn’t until Bradley Evans faced Thomas Bennborn that a challenge was met. Thomas played the most deceiving of defensive games and got the better of Bradley winning 4 – 11, 11 – 7, 11 – 5, 11 – 5. At the half-way point, the match score was 3 – 1 to Barrow I.
Paul and Darius continued where they left off. Paul beat Wang Zheng (11 – 9, 11 – 9, 11 – 8 ) and Darius beat Craig Bryant (11 – 6, 11 – 9, 11 – 6). Once again, Thomas Bennborn proved to be the thorn in Barrow I’s side as he hacked the ball in half with authority scoring an excellent win over Barrow’s Gavin Rumgay (12 -14, 11 – 8, 1 – 11, 11 – 9, 15 – 13). Bradley concluded the day with a comfortable win over Jimmy Walsh (11 – 8, 11 – 8, 11 – 9) to earn Barrow I a satisfactory 6 – 2 victory.
Barrow I vs Sycamore
This was the first game to be played on the Sunday and given the previous night’s “celebrations”, it was with little surprise that the team got off to a slow start.
Playing for Sycamore were: Omkar Torgalkar (India), Sam Perry (England Number 32), Daniel Lowe (England Number 34), Jason Ramage (England Number 71).
The first game saw Paul Drinkhall face Sycamore’s Sam Perry. Powerful and often vocal Sam was clearly up for the game, whilst Paul was a little more subdued and took a little bit longer to get going. Well, two sets to be precise as Sam went 2 – 0 up (8 – 11, 11 – 13). The third set was tight and Paul had to produce a bit of magic and draw on his experience to clinch the third set 13 – 11. In his head, Sam must have realised that he had missed an opportunity that most likely will never be repeated. In sets four and five, Paul took control of the game as he won 11 – 6, 11 – 4.
Gavin then faced one of this seasons British League surprise packages, newcomer Omkar Torgalkar who had claimed some significant scalps during the previous day of play. Gavin’s scalp is one that Omkar will not be able to boast however, as Gavin beat him 11 – 6, 11 – 5, 5 – 11, 9 – 11, 13 – 11 in what was a tight match. Darius Knight then produced yet another professional performance comfortably beating Jason Ramage (11 – 6, 12 – 10, 11 – 6).
In the fourth game, Jonathan became the first Barrovian to ever play in the British League Premier Division as he faced higher ranked Daniel Lowe. With a number of expectant Barrow eyes watching in the crowd added to the pressure he had put on himself, Jonathan struggled to find the form that saw him unbeaten in the British League play-offs as he lost 11 – 7, 6 – 11, 8 – 11, 6 – 11. At the halfway point, Barrow I had a comfortable 3 – 1 lead.
Once again, Barrow I produced a killer 1-2-3 blow on the backend as Paul Drinkhall comfortably beat Omkar Torgalkar (11 – 8, 11 – 4, 11 – 4), Darius Knight beat Sam Perry (11 – 8, 11 – 3, 11 – 8 ) and Gavin Rumgay beat Danny Lowe (15 – 13, 11 – 8, 11 – 9). Jonathan Crawford simply found Jason Ramage too much to handle as he went down 5 – 11, 9 – 11, 6 – 11 to leave the final score 6 – 2 to Barrow I.
Final Score: Barrow I 6 – 2 Sycamore
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Gavin Rumgay (2), Darius Knight (2), Jonathan Crawford (0)
Sycamore: Omkar Torgalkar (0), Sam Perry (0), Daniel Lowe (1), Jason Ramage (1)
Westfield I vs Barrow I
Going into the weekend, this fixture was predicted to be Barrow I’s easiest. With Westfield I propping up the table, it looked as if this prediction was going to be true.
Playing for Westfield I were: Richard Andrews (England Number 20), Shaun Marples (England Number 23), Alim Hirji (England Number 25), Lewis Gray (England Number 108).
Gavin Rumgay started off in style playing to the audience as he put on an exhibition beating Richard Andrews (15 – 13, 13 – 11, 11 – 7). Paul Drinkhall carried on where Gavin left off beating Shaun Marples 11 – 2, 11 – 8, 11 – 5. It was then the turn of Barrow’s Scott Crawford to make his British League debut against top England Junior Lewis Gray. The match was a pleasure to watch with exchanges a plenty. However, despite Scott’s creditable fighting performance, it was Lewis Gray that got the better winning in five sets (12 – 10, 8 – 11, 11 – 8, 10 – 12, 11 – 5). Darius Knight was all set to face Alim Hirji. However, Alim had to withdraw due to injury handing Darius the win and giving Barrow a 3 – 1 lead at the halfway point.
Once again, Paul made table tennis look hideously easy as he toyed with Richard Andrews beating him 11 – 6, 12 – 10, 12 – 10. The baton was passed over to Gavin Rumgay who once again put on a show beating Lewis Gray 11 – 7, 11 – 6, 11 – 4. Darius looked composed and professional as he brushed aside Shaun Marples 11 – 9, 11 – 3, 11 – 7. Scott Crawford was handed victory by the injured Alim Hirji earning Barrow I their most comfortable win over the two days.
Final Score: Westfield I 1 – 7 Barrow I
Barrow I: Paul Drinkhall (2), Gavin Rumgay (2), Darius Knight (2), Scott Crawford (1)
Westfield I: Richard Andrews (0), Shaun Marples (0), Alim Hirji (0), Lewis Gray (1)
Tristran Swan, Barrow TTC team manager, discusses Barrow’s British League Premier division debut and the Teams memorable victory over Drumchapel Glasgow with BBC Radio Cumbria’s Paul Newton.
Planes, trains and automobiles. What you may ask. Well, these are all the different forms of transport to be used by Barrow players to get to Barrow I’s British League Premier Division debut this weekend at Southall.
Gavin Rumgay will be flying in from Scotland’s Commonwealth Games training camp in China, Paul Drinkhall and Darius Knight will be flying in from the European Championships in the Czech Republic, Sebastian Laux will be arriving by train from Germany, whilst Bradley Evans and Jonathan Crawford will be making their way by car along with travelling fans.
Over the weekend, Barrow I will be facing Drumchapel Glasgow I, BATTS I, Sycamore and Westfield.
Without a doubt, the division’s standout clash is that between Barrow I and Drumchapel Glasgow I. This will be a contest that sees Barrow I’s British Number 1 Paul Drinkhall, Scottish Number 1 Gavin Rumgay, England Number 3 Darius Knight and one other going head to head with Drumchapel Glasgow I’s Welsh Number 2 Ryan Jenkins, Chinese player Qian Hai Song, former England Number 1 and Commonwealth Gold Medallist Gareth Herbert and Commonwealth Gold Medallist Terry Young. It is going to be a fierce contest of dramatic games with intense points and outcome that will have a big impact on Barrow I’s European table tennis aspirations.