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.
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.
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)
Barrow I British League Premier Division Fixtures
Barrow II British League Division 2 North Fixtures