Here are some photos from last weekend when Barrow TTC were crowned champions of the British League. A full report is to follow.
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 article below was written by Barrow TTC Team Manager Tristran Swan for the ETTA (and featured on the ETTA website). The ETTA contacted Tristran requesting an article describing how Barrow TTC “managed to entice some top names into the British League”.
Barrow TTC has been asked by a lot of people, including the ETTA, as to how the ‘Barrow Dream Team’ developed. Well, basically it was an unplanned marriage of friendship that went something like this:
Last season, the team of Jakov Krivić, Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford and Scott Crawford punched above their weight to win the British League Play-Offs and a place in the British League Premier Division. Other squad members that helped the team to the play-offs included Tristran Swan and Steve Dixon.
Soon after the play-off success, the Barrow team looked ahead to the new season. With Jakov returning to professional table tennis in Croatia (signing for Croatian Club TTC Zadar) and Tristran and Steve ruling themselves out as first team regulars, the available squad had shrunk to three regular players (Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford and Scott Crawford) and two reserves (Tristran Swan and Steve Dixon). Given the amount of time, work and effort that had gone into gaining promotion, the team naturally wanted to hold their own and cement their place in Britain’s Premier team competition. To achieve this, it was felt that two top signings were required.
The first target was Gavin Rumgay. Gavin and Jonathan had lived and studied together for a number of years in Bristol, where they also trained together at the Filton College table tennis academy. Over the years, their friendship grew. Gavin introduced Jonathan to one of his former clubs, TV 1863 Leiselheim (where Jonathan played for one season), and likewise Gavin was introduced to Barrow TTC.
As a result, Gavin played for Barrow during the 2008/2009 season where the team narrowly missed out on promotion to the British League Premier Division. Gavin’s absence from the team at the play-offs – he was playing at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in Glasgow – was the difference between success and failure. Had he played, it is with little doubt that the team would have won promotion, but in hindsight, this may have been a season too early. With Premier Division Table Tennis on offer, Gavin signed for Sycamore, but left Barrow promising to return should the team one day win promotion to the Premier Division; a promise he held true to.
Despite the first signing falling into place, it wasn’t clear where the second signing was going to come from. There seemed to be a serious lack of quality English players eligible to play in the British League (due to rules imposed by certain European national table tennis governing bodies preventing players from playing in multiple national leagues). It is therefore with little surprise that the second signing came out of the blue.
A German player who was coming to work in the UK for a year, Sebastian Laux (previous club TTC Elz), contacted Bradley asking whether he knew of a Premier Division British League team looking for players. Sebastian and Bradley had played in the same German division when Bradley played for TTC Seligenstadt. Naturally Bradley suggested Sebastian to the Barrow Team and, given his credentials (Top 5 German Cadet and National squad member and top 20 German Junior), he was accepted.
At this point, the Club directed its efforts to promoting the team ahead of the new season. Work went into the new website, YouTube Channel and Facebook Page. A lot of effort was also focused on improving the team’s image, making it more “professional”. This included securing a kit sponsorship with Stiga in co-ordination with long time Barrow table tennis supporter, Thornton’s Sport and Leisure. It seems that all of this work wasn’t going unnoticed.
Last season, Paul Drinkhall was playing for SV Plüderhausen in the German Bundesliga making him ineligible to play in the British League. In the close season, he moved to TTC Nodo in Belgium and, as a result, is now able to play in the British League.
Bradley is very good friends with Paul. Bradley told Paul about Barrow’s promotion and the positive direction the Club was heading. Paul is also very good friends with Barrow’s new signing Gavin Rumgay, who he trains with at the English Institute for Sport in Sheffield. Gavin too shared his positive experiences with Barrow. So, the prospect of playing in Britain, with good close friends, for a team that was going places and would look after him, enticed Paul to approach Barrow. Yes, Paul contacted Barrow and asked whether he could play for them. Needless to say, it only took a couple of phone calls and text messages before the deal was done.
Finally, the unexpected and final fourth signing.
Darius Knight was also part of the Filton College table tennis academy when Jonathan and Gavin were there. Whilst there, Darius and Jonathan became very good friends and Darius even invited Jonathan to go training with him at his former French club, Montpellier. The relationship with Darius and Barrow goes deeper however, as Darius and the Crawfords (Scott, Jonathan, Duncan and the late Christine) consider each other family.
During the 2009/2010 season, Darius signed on to play for Barrow in Division 1 North of the British League (taking the place of Gavin Rumgay). However, his commitments to his Spanish club (UCAM-Floymape Cartagena) prevented him from playing and Darius felt that he had let the team down. To prevent these pressures from arising again, Barrow didn’t approach Darius to play for them this upcoming season. However, unbeknownst to the Club, Darius signed on to the Belgium club PW Diest (making him eligible to play in the British League) and despite prospectively being ranked only number 3 in the team, his commitment to Barrow is so strong that he came knocking at the door (literally) asking the question Barrow were looking for, “where is my contract?” – crazy, but true!
So, as it was stated at the start of this article, the team came together through circumstance and friendship – and what a great basis that is for a sports club.
This morning (11th August, 2010), BBC Radio Cumbria reporter Megan Paterson visited the Barrow Table Tennis Centre to discuss Barrow’s big summer signings on the breakfast show.
Darius, who at 20 is the current England Number 3 (based on ITTF World Rankings), had signed to play for Barrow TTC last season (2009/2010). However, much to his frustration, playing commitments and contracts abroad meant that he was unable to play – leaving him feeling he had let the team down. Thankfully, Darius has remained loyal to the Club and this season it is going to be a very different story.
On the signing of the England International and London 2012 Olympic hopeful, Barrow Team Manager Tristran Swan beamed, “the signing of Darius is tremendous news. He is the face England table tennis.”
Tristran went on to talk about the public’s perception of Darius: “Darius receives an unfair amount of criticism in my view. People believe his disadvantaged background and the press attention he receives gives him an unfair advantage when it comes to the England squad selection.”
“Darius is returning to the British League to play for Barrow TTC and in doing so he has the perfect platform to show the British Table Tennis public what he is about. He will be wanting to prove a point and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t win a 100% of his matches.”
Tristran went further, explaining what other benefits the signing will bring to Barrow TTC: “Darius is a self-styled table tennis role model. He is the urban face of Fred Perry and the figurehead of the hugely successful Fred Perry Urban Cup which promotes Table Tennis in inner cities. Darius is at his best connecting with kids, he understands them and makes table tennis fun and accessible.”
“Darius has said he will come up to Barrow, meet the kids and coach them. He is brilliant at this kind of thing, and the motivation kids get from meeting someone like Darius can’t be underestimated. I still remember the time I met and played with England table tennis legend Des Douglas.”.
Prior to leaving England for the China Open, Darius said with confidence and enthusiasm, “We’re going take the title! We’ve got a strong team of World class players and great National players, so why not?”.
When asked why he is making his return to the British League with Barrow, Darius said, “Jonny (Crawford) is my dad, he knows a lot and I’m very close to the Barrow boys. It’s important to play with people you get on with, especially the boss Dunx (Duncan Crawford, Assistant Team Manager)”.
You can find out more about Darius Knight on his player profile – Darius Knight’s Player Profile.
Two young Furness table tennis stars grabbed the chance to play for England with vigour at the Schools International 2010.
Former Dowdales pupil Scott Crawford and current pupil Emily Bolton showed their worth at the event in Limerick, Ireland.
Taking on teams from the rest of the UK and Ireland, Scott came away with a gold medal from the team event and a bronze in the singles at under-18s level.
Emily, meanwhile, was playing her first international tournament at the age of 12, coming up against opponents up to two years her senior in the under-14s event.
She also came home with a medal, taking a bronze in the team event, having been eliminated from the individual competition at the quarter-final stage.
Playing at the National Arena, at the University of Limerick, Crawford teamed up to great effect with fellow Bristol Academy of Sport student Tom Maynard in the team event to make up England A.
The format of the competition saw both team members play singles matches and then team up for a doubles contest.
They came through a tough final against favourites and hosts Ireland 3-1 to claim the crown.
In the individuals, Scott won bronze, losing in the semi-finals to eventual winner Paul McCreery, from Ireland.
Dad Duncan, a coach at the Barrow Table Tennis Centre, where both Scott and Emily have honed their skills, said: “It’s fantastic. The whole family went to watch and it was a really fantastic weekend.
“They played really well together in the doubles, they beat Ireland 3-1 together, which was a good result.
“It’s another gold medal for Barrow, and isn’t that fantastic?”
Emily came up against players from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Jersey in the team competition.
Her team were knocked out in the semi-finals to earn her a bronze medal, while she reached the last-eight of the individual event.
On Emily, Duncan said: “She played under-14s and she’s only 12.
“Every player at that tournament will have been ranked above, so for her to be picked is great.
“We are all chuffed to bits that she was selected to take part and she will certainly go on to play for England again. With the right guidance she will definitely keep performing at this level.”
Last year’s Barrow Junior Sportsperson of the Year Emily – who is coached by former Parkview pupil Tristran Swan at Barrow Table Tennis Centre, as well as ex-England coach Denis Neale – has also been selected to play for the North West of England in the UK School Games in Sunderland at the start of September.
She impressed while playing in the National Championships in Doncaster in the under-12s, under-13s and under-14s events, and has had trials to represent England in the Euro Mini Championship later this year in France.
As of yet the team has not been selected.Scott Crawford has completed a family hat-trick by being selected to play for his country.
The talented 18-year-old has been picked in the England Schools Under-18s team for the Schools International 2010 tournament in Ireland.
He will take on players from teams from across the UK in the event, held at the Irish National Arena, in Limerick, between June 25 and 27.
The selection means Scott becomes the third of the Crawford siblings to be selected to represent England at table tennis, with elder brother Jonathan playing for them at under-16s level and sister Helen at under-14s.
Proud dad Duncan, himself a coach at the Barrow Table Tennis Centre and manager of the Barrow team – including Scott – that recently won promotion to the British League Premier Division, said it was a great feat for his youngest son to be selected.
“We are as proud as punch,” he said. “I’m sure when people who know Scott from the table tennis centre in Barrow, find out, they will be proud as well. All three of them have played for England now – I’ve got the hat-trick now and I can down tools!
“Scott really deserves this. He’s the youngest of the three and he is fighting all the time to keep up with numbers one and two. He thinks number one and two get a better deal all the time – and they don’t – and he has fought all the time.
“I’m sure he will overtake Jonathan. He hasn’t at the moment, Jonathan is in the top 50 in the country, but Scott Crawford will carry on improving and getting better.”
To progress his game, former Dowdales pupil Scott Crawford lives with brother Jonathan in Bristol, where he is studying for his A-Levels at the Bristol Academy of Sport at Filton College. The college is a renowned hotbed for table tennis talent, with those admitted having to be in the top 30 in their age group.
He trains twice a day at the college, as well as working in the gym, and Scott has benefited from playing alongside Croatian number two Jakov Krivić – also a part of the promotion-winning Barrow team – who has been brought in as a practice partner.
“He’s practising with him and Jakov has brought Scott’s game on by a mile,” added dad Duncan.
As well as playing for Barrow, Scott also turns out for Filton in the Bristol League and was part of their side which has won the English Schools title for the last two years.
His recent performances have seen him beat England senior number 12 player Will Maybanks – a professional in Hungary – and take a game off Great Britain number one Gavin Rumgay at the Wolverhampton Grand Prix, who went on to win the tournament overall.
These achievements have seen him ranked 89th in the senior rankings, while he is 15th in the under-18s – a standing which would be higher had he played more under-18s tournaments rather than senior competitions. Straight after the tournament in Ireland, Scott will head to Croatia with the rest of the Barrow team – hopefully including new recruit Rumgay – to train with Krivic in preparation for their outings in the British Premier League.
Duncan added: “If he gets in the top 20 players, he will probably look at a semi-professional career with a team abroad on a small salary.”
The Barrow school has three teams in the English Schools Table Tennis Association finals after a remarkable year of success.
The under-13s girls, under-13s boys and under-16s girls teams will all be eager to claim the silverware after coming through county, area and regional events to reach the national finals in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
Under the guidance of teacher Karen Griffiths and former England coach Denis Neale, the three teams have all excelled this year.
“We’re absolutely delighted for the kids,” said Griffiths, herself a table tennis player.
“They have been training and working really hard.
“Last year we managed to get two teams through to the national finals, but to get three teams through this year is a fantastic achievement.”
Neale, too, has been impressed with the success of St Bernard’s against bigger schools from larger catchment areas.
“I think it’s fantastic for a school like St Bernard’s to have three teams reach the national finals when they have been playing teams from Manchester, Liverpool and the like – where there are more than 300 schools to choose from,” he said.
“For them to have three teams there on finals day is fantastic.
“I’ve been working with them for about the past 10 weeks and Karen, being a table tennis player herself, is a big thing in bringing the kids on.
“You can’t tell the team now from 12 weeks ago. They are all really keen and they really want to do well – they have developed a lot from the beginning.”
The under-16s girls team is made up of Shannon Trainor, Emily Edwards, Adele Bassett and Anna Donohue, the under-13s girls consists of Emily Cotton, Robyn Holden, Louise Kenneally and Katie Linton, while the under-13s boys quartet is James Coward, Ross Ahern, Anton Vacca and Brendan Trainor.
The teams have all had weekly sessions with Neale at the Barrow Table Tennis Centre, and in the school, with top local coaches Mike Yardley and Duncan Crawford both also lending their expertise.
“The coaching sessions and the extra practice have been really helpful,” added Griffiths.
“The combination of the practice they are getting in and out of school is a big thing and a lot of the kids are playing four or five times a week, which is what we need to compete with the other schools.”
Neale is hopeful the strength-in-depth of the St Bernard’s teams will hold them in good stead this weekend.
“The key to success at the nationals is having good depth,” he said. “You can have the best two players in England, but if your other two are no good you can’t win.
“With the St Bernard’s teams, they can all play at the same level, which gives them every chance.”Denis Neale and Tristran Swan, made it through to the northern finals of the English Schools Table Tennis Association Championships after strong showings in the county and regional events.
South Cumbrian teams won six of the seven events at the county finals, held at the Barrow Table Tennis Centre, while there were three champions and three runners-up at the North West event.
The Cumbria finals saw Holy Family, Dane Ghyll and Storth in the under-11s girls qualifying group.
Dane Ghyll and Holy Family had a close match, which just swung in the former’s favour, 5-3.
Ife Bamigboye and Megan Turnough were unbeaten, while Jessica Livesey featured strongly for Holy Family with two wins.
Holy Family went down 6-2 against Storth, Livesey winning twice.
The decider between Dane Ghyll and Storth was as close as possible.
Two wins each for Caitlyn Walker and Bamigboye secured a draw for Dane Ghyll. The teams were level on countback, but Dane Ghyll won on points, 288-287.
This put them into a final group against Askam and St Columba’s.
Despite some close matches, and a win each for Walker and Bamigboye, Dane Ghyll were unable to prevent their opponents facing off in the final once more.
Wins from Mia Gwynne and Tyra Rushton put the Walney team 2-0 up, before Sophie Ridgway edged Jasmine Halcrow in a real tight affair, coming from two games behind to win for St Columba’s.
Another win for Gwynne made it 4-0, before Askam staged a fightback with wins from Katie Moncrief, Jasmine Halcrow and Robyn Halcrow.
The title was secured for St Columba’s when Rushton came to the table and beat Robyn Halcrow in three games.
In the under-11s boys event, the same two schools reached the final.
Askam knocked out last season’s champions, Holy Family, with a 6-2 win, Brandon Corrie and Luke Greenway winning for Holy Family.
Askam also defeated a St Columba’s B team by the same score, Columba’s winners Louis Rourke and Ryan Cotton.
Luke Reid won all four games played for Askam, with Keir Shepherd winning three from three, Lee Irving and James Wallis two each, and Lian Knowles one.
On the other table, St Columba’s were comfortable winners against Dane Ghyll and beat Storth 7-1. Dane Ghyll lost 5-3 against Storth, Luke Maddox, Aaron Solsby and Cameron Bell all winning.
St Columba’s top pairing of Harry Mellen and Ben O’Flynn started the final against Askam powerfully and recorded straight-game wins against Reid and Shepherd respectively. Morgan Gwynne added to the total with a four-game success against Wallis.
The next three games saw the match hanging in the balance.
Knowles gained Askam’s first win, beating Lashmar.
Then Reid and O’Flynn showed some top-quality table tennis. The St Columba’s player took a two-game lead, but the Askam number one showed his fighting qualities and drew level.
Only at the end of the decider did O’Flynn find enough to take the win.
Gwynne still needed to hold on against Shepherd, before Mellen confirmed St Columba’s as champions.
One of the most keenly-awaited finals came in the under-13s girls, where both St Bernard’s and Dowdales had reached the national finals last year.However, while the St Bernard’s line-up had stayed the same, Dowdales had been strengthened by the addition of England Schools’ player Emily Bolton, who has moved to Year 7 from Askam School. She soon demonstrated her class with two straight-game wins.
Robyn Holden pulled one back for St Bernard’s against Ebony Miles after a close battle.
Despite this win, and Louise Keneally’s victory against Hannah Grimes, it was Dowdales who looked to have victory in sight when they led 4-2, Amy Moncrief and Miles both contributing.
But there were two further twists in the match.
Emily Cotton started a St Bernard’s revival by beating Moncrief.
In the final match, Grimes held a 2-1 lead after taking two deuce games. Katie Linton then suddenly found her touch and, with her own deuce-winning game took a 3-2 win.
This left the match score at 4-4, however, Dowdales took the Cumbria title with a superior games ratio of 16-12.
The rivalry continued in the under-13s boys event.
Both teams had comfortable victories against Dallam School to reach the final, where the strength in depth of St Bernard’s took them to the title.
Anton Vacca won both of his matches, while Ross Ahern beat Adam Brown and Brendan Trainor defeated Chris Lloyd.
St Bernard’s number one James Coward defeated Dowdales number two Jack Walker in four games.
Walker did make his mark with a straight games win over Ahern.
The star of the Dowdales team was number one Luke Walker, who finished undefeated with wins against Trainor and Coward, without dropping any games.
The final event of the Cumbria championships was the under-16s boys.
Here, St Bernard’s gained another win against Dowdales, 6-2.
Stefan Weatherburn and Dien Curtis won both their matches, while Tom Clements and Oliver Shipley both won one. The Dowdales wins came from Daniel Armstrong and Aaron Murray.
However, neither team could match the strength of the visitors from Dallam School, who only lost two matches in the three rubbers they played.
James Turner, of Millom, won one of those and proved the top Furness player, winning five of his six matches.
It was Cumbria girl power that led the way at the North West Finals against the best teams from Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Shropshire.
The under-13 girls teams from Dowdales and St Bernard’s gained wins against Sir Thomas Boteler High School, from Warrington, and, in very close matches, also defeated Bramhall High School.
The two teams then met for the second time this season, St Bernard’s reversing the result from the Cumbria finals to beat Dowdales.
Bolton was again the pick of the Dowdales players, while Holden showed she has returned to form with good attacking displays.
St Columba’s under-11s girls also enjoyed a good day.
They started their group with a draw against St Mary’s Preparatory School, Blundellsands.
Rushton and Gwynne both won their two matches, while Ridgway and Jenny Williams took games to give the Saints the count-back advantage.
They won their next match against Bradley Primary, from Nelson. Again Rushton and Gwynne won their matches, but there was a notable win for Williams, who is two years younger than her team-mates.
This put them into the semi-finals against Nevill Road, from Stockport, a team who always do well in the North West Finals.
Rushton and Gwynne continued their good form, however Neville Road led 4-3.
Williams played Rana Rofifah in the last match and, although she lost, she won two vital games, enough to take St Columba’s into the final on count-back.
Cumbria’s other representatives, Askam, also made progress from the group but were narrowly defeated by Bradley in the semi-finals.
This meant a replay for Bradley and St Columba’s, and in this match the school from Nelson played with more confidence.
Gwynne and Rushton remained unbeaten, but not before both players had dropped games against Aminah Daar.
Although Ridgway and Williams did not win their matches, they both won important games that meant the score was tied after count-back.
The organisers then had to calculate the total points won and St Columba’s took the title, having won four points more than their opponents.
St Bernard’s under-16s girls beat Lancashire representatives, Garstang, but then met a team they have been keen rivals with since their under-13s days, Bramhall High School.
On this occasion, the Stockport team took the win, but St Bernard’s still qualified for the regional heats.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day from a Cumbrian team came in the under-13s boys.
There were 10 teams from as far as Ludlow competing, with the two Cumbria representatives in different groups.
Dowdales finished as group runners-up and progressed to the semi-finals, while St Bernard’s eased through their group and gained impressive wins in both the semi-finals and final to beat Garstang and Calday Grange, West Kirby.
In the under-11s boys, the result went against the form book. Cumbria champions St Columba’s topped their group with victories against Buildwas Primary, from Shropshire, and Oldham Hulme Grammar School, O’Flynn winning all his games.
Askam also made good progress.
Although beaten by Garstang Community Primary, they won against St Mary’s Preparatory School to put them into a semi-final with St Columba’s.
This match was a completely different story to the county final.Askam’s top two, Reid and Shepherd, showed the improvement they have made in recent weeks, while the top two players for St Columba’s showed nerves on the big occasion.
Askam raced into a 2-0 lead as Shepherd beat O’Flynn and Reid defeated Mellen.
Gwynne pulled a match back by beating Irvine, but the Askam lead was stretched with wins from Knowles and Reid, in a five-game battle against O’Flynn.
Saints rallied as both Mellen and Gwynne posted wins, but it was Irvine who won the decisive match against Lashmar in another gruelling five-game battle. The win meant Askam qualified for the regional heats despite losing for a second time against Garstang when the two met in the final.
CUMBRIA ROLL OF HONOUR
Under-19s Boys Champions (not played for): Barrow Sixth Form.
Under-16s Boys: Champions – Dallam School. Runners-up – St Bernard’s.
Under-16s Girls: Champions (Not played for) – St Bernard’s.
Under-13s Boys: Champions – St Bernard’s. Runners-up – Dowdales.
Under-13s Girls: Champions – Dowdales. Runners-up – St Bernard’s.
Under-11s Boys: Champions – St Columba’s. Runners-up – Askam.
Under-11s Girls: Champions – St Columba’s. Runners-up – Askam.
NORTH WEST ROLL OF HONOUR
Under-16s Girls: Runners-up – St Bernard’s.
Under-13s Boys: Champions – St Bernard’s.
Under-13s Girls: Champions – St Bernard’s. Runners-up – Dowdales.
Under-11s Boys: Runners-up – Askam.
Under-11s Girls: Champions – St Columba’s.
This season was Barrow Table Tennis Clubs first in the 1st Division of the British League, and in typical Barrow style, we didn’t make things easy for ourselves!
Going into the first weekend, Barrow had a motley crew of just three players (Steve Dixon, Tristran Swan and Scott Crawford). Given the “step up” in quality from the 2nd Division to the 1st, there was little surprise when the team came away scoring exactly 0 points. It was a tough weekend, things were looking bleak and all thoughts were on survival.
The second weekend saw the return of much needed Jonathan Crawford (England top 90 player – though should be much higher) and new signing Bradley Evans (England top 20 player) joining Tristran Swan and Scott Crawford. There was little surprise when things proved to be much better than the first weekend with the team notching up two wins (Halton and Fastbats) and two draws (including high flying Ormesby II and Rotherham Scorpions). The team had caught the eye of some, but what was to follow was to surprise all, Barrow included.
Coming into the third weekend (which only includes two matches as opposed to the normal four), Barrow secured the signings of Gavin Rumgay (Scotland number 1) and the controversial legend that is Denis Neale (former World top 15 player). So with, Gavin Rumgay, Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford and Denis Neale, Barrow led out the strongest team ever to play for Barrow Table Tennis Club. Needless to say, with Gavin and Denis untested, the team won comfortably securing maximum points (against Grantham and Drumchapel Glasgow II). This meant going into the final weekend to quote the ETTA website, “They (Barrow Table Tennis Club) won’t be able to make the play-offs as they only have 10 points, but expect them to cause the leading teams all kinds of problems”.
Well, with Gavin Rumgay, Jonathan Crawford, Bradley Evans, Denis Neale, Tristran Swan and Scott Crawford turning out for Barrow the final weekend. They did indeed “cause the leading teams all kinds of problems”. On top of that, they secured a maximum 8 points (against Halton, Derwent, Rotherham and Fastbats) and managed the seemingly impossible by gaining a place in the play-offs to be held at Draycott on the 23rd and 24th of May. So, congratulations to all those that represented Barrow Table Tennis Club and a big thank you to club coach and manager, Duncan Crawford.