The Barrow TTC team (Jakov Krivić, Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford, Tristran Swan, Scott Crawford and Steve Dixon) that won promotion to the British League Premier Division last season has been nominated for the Barrow Borough Sports Council open age sports team of the year award.
Barrow TTC are up against Furness Cricket Club, Barrow AFC and Furness Scratch Golf Team.
Barrow TTC promotion winning player Scott Crawford has also been nominated for the Barrow Borough Sports Council sportsperson of the year for his performances last season which included gold and bronze medal wins at the Schools International.
Scott will be up against Brett McDermott (Rugby League) and Sonja Foster (Multi-Sports).
The winners will be announced at the Barrow Borough Sports Council Annual Sports Awards, Friday 19th November at Barrow Town Hall.
Tristran Swan, Barrow TTC team manager, discusses the Clubs recent high profile signings and looks ahead to the new British League Premier Division season with BBC Radio Cumbria’s James Phillips.
Apologies go out to Gavin Rumgay, he is the Scotland Number 1 and not the Scotland Number 2.
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.
Barrow I vs TTK Greenhouse
- Gareth Herbert (12)
- Chris Lewis (78)
- Jide Owalabi (149)
- Fatlum Sadiku (206)
Barrow vs Elgre Nottingham I
Elgre Nottingham I
- Chris Rogers (51)
- David Arrowsmith (88)
- Emma Vickers
- Sophie Neil
Fusion I vs Barrow I
- Sule Olaleye
- Tom Cutler (36)
- Mark Smith (29)
- John Dennison (131)
Barrow I vs Pavilion Brighton I
Pavilion Brighton I
- Hans Pillards (71)
- Ashley Stokes (50)
- Da Shuai Zhang (79)
- Eli Baraty (85)
OLOP Impact vs Barrow I
- David Barr (55)
- Chris Bush (130)
- Hari Gehlot (41)
- Liam McTiernan (248)
British League Play-Off Table
British League Play-Off Results
British League Play-Off Barrow Player Averages
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.”
Barrow (Jakov Krivić, Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford and Scott Crawford) are the 2010 British League Play-Off Champions. They excelled at Cippenham Table Tennis Club in May, by winning four of their matches and drawing with closest rivals Fusion who are also promoted to the British League Premier Division.
Barrow’s campaign began with a 5-3 victory over TTK Greenhouse. Predictably Gareth Herbert caused them the most problems and he beat both world-ranked Croatian player Jakov Krivić and Bradley Evans, 3-1whilst Jide Owolabi also impressed. Jide beat Scott Crawford 11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-5. Jonathan Crawford’s two victories over Fatlum Sadiku and Chris Lewis ensured that Barrow got off to a winning start.
Barrow were able to build on this by beating ELGRE Nottingham 7-1 in round two. England no. six Veteran Chris Rogers scored a fine win over Bradley Evans, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5 although he found all-action Jakov Krivić a trickier proposition. Krivić never looked in trouble winning 11-4, 11-1, 7-11, 11-5.
The two sides with unbeaten records came face to face in round three and it looked as if Fusion might take both points when they surged into a 4-2 lead. Former Olympian Sule Olaleye played his part by beating Jakov Krivić after all had looked lost when he trailed 9-7 in the fifth end. Sule kept his nerve superbly to win 10-12, 11-2, 14-12, 4-11, 11-9 and Fusion’s Mark Smith scored his second win by beating Bradley Evans, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6. It was left to brothers Jonathan and Scott Crawford to keep Barrow’s hopes alive. And didn’t they play well. England no. 59 Jonathan scored a magnificent 11-3, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 victory over England no. 42 Tommy Cutler and England no. 109 Scott managed to repel the challenge of a pumped up John Dennison 11-7, 7-11, 23-21, 11-7 after a truly spell-binding encounter.
Barrow now had the bit between their teeth and they did well to beat third- placed Pavilion Brighton 6-2 in round four, killing off any hopes Brighton had of gaining promotion. Jakov Krivić and Jonathan Crawford were both undefeated, with Jonathan’s quick-fire victory over Ashley Stokes (11-5, 11-7, 11-9) standing out. This match also unearthed another player to look out for. 16 year old Da Shuai “Dash” Zhang looks way under-ranked as England no. 88 and he scored two fine five game wins over Scott Crawford and Bradley Evans,.
Going into the last round of matches Fusion and Barrow were tied on seven points and 22 games won. It really could not have been closer. Four players went into the last round with 100 % records – Fusion’s Sule Olaleye and Mark Smith, Barrow’s Jonathan Crawford and TTK Greenhouse’s Gareth Herbert. Who would hold onto their undefeated records ?. Hands up if you would have said Gareth Herbert ! . It didn’t work out that way. Fusion looked as if they might be in the ascendancy when rally player supreme Tommy Cutler, playing with his customer composure and returning Gareth’s serves superbly beat the former England no. two 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8 to give themselves a 2-0 lead. But, Gareth fought back to beat Sule 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-4 and TTK’s Jide Owolabi scored a fine 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 victory over John Dennison which left Fusion as 6-2 winners. Mark Smith retained his 100 % record by beating both Fatlum Sadiku and Chris Lewis. He powered his way past Chris Lewis 11-5, 11-5, 11-8.
Barrow turned in an even better performance and they beat OLOP Impact 8-0. All four Barrow players played their part. Jakov Krivić made it eight wins out of ten for the weekend by beating both Chris Bush and David Barr 3-0 whilst Bradley Evans, had to pull out all the stops to get the better of Hari Gehlot 11- 7, 13-11, 7-11, 10-12, 12-10. Jonathan Crawford retained his 100 % record with 3-0 wins over Liam McTiernan and Chris Bush and Scott Crawford was equally impressive, beating both McTiernan and Hari Gehlot 3-0. Barrow took the title by virtue of having won two more games than their South London rivals – a magnificent performance.
This past weekend (8th and 9th May 2010) Barrow played in the British League play-offs at Cippenham Table Tennis Centre, Berkshire. The award for the top two teams in the round-robin event would be a place in the coveted British League Premier Division where the top 8 British table tennis teams compete.
Like every other sports team going into a major event, Barrow had analysed the opposition and identified the dangers. On paper, it looked like three teams would be vying for the two places available: Fusion, Pavilion Brighton and Barrow (in that order).
On the Saturday, Barrow played three teams: TTK Greenhouse (London), Elgre Nottingham and Fusion (London).
On the Sunday, Barrow would play two teams: Pavilion Brighton and OLOP Impact (Reading).
Barrow I vs TTK Greenhouse I
Despite not making it onto Barrow’s pre-drawn list of threats, with England number 12 playing for them, TTK Greenhouse weren’t going to be a pushover. Indeed, Barrow knew they had a fight on their hands as they went 3-2 down.
As expected, two of TTK Greenhouse’s wins came from Herbert, the former England Number 2 who was once considered to be blessed with the ‘best serves in the world’. He beat, or should that be ‘served off’, Barrow players Jakov Krivić and Bradley Evans. TTK Greenhouse’s other win came in the form of a five-set thriller with Jide Owalabi edging out Barrow player Scott Crawford. For Barrow, the wins came from Krivić over Chris Lewis and Jonathan Crawford over Fatium Sadiku.
The next three games were straight-forward three-set affairs all going Barrow’s way. Jonathan Crawford comfortably beat Lewis to level the score. He was backed up by Evans who beat Owalabi and younger brother Scott Crawford who beat Sadiku.
Given the strength of TTK Greenhouse’s number 1 Gareth Herbert, in Barrow’s eyes this was a satisfactory result and a solid start. Each Barrow team member, without exception, played well and showed good form.
Final Score: Barrow I 5 – 3 TTK Greenhouse I
Barrow I: Jakov Krivić (1), Bradley Evans (1), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (1)
TTK Greenhouse I: Gareth Herbert (2), Chris Lewis (0), Jide Owalabi (1), Fatium Sadiku (0)
Barrow I vs Elgre Nottingham I
Elgre Nottingham are well known to Barrow as they are the other team from Division 1 North to make the play-offs. Indeed, they finished above Barrow. However, with world ranked Croatian Krivić on display for Barrow, Elgre Nottingham were more of a ‘banana skin’ than a real threat.
Thankfully, this ‘banana skin’ didn’t find its way under Barrow’s feet as they won comfortably 7-1. Jonathan Crawford maintained his 100% record beating Sophie Neil and David Arrowsmith. Krivić beat Arrowsmith and Chris Rogers while Scott Crawford beat Sophie Neil and Emma Vickers – a player who had been a thorn in Barrow’s side in the two teams’ last encounter. Evans on the other hand had mixed fortunes as he suffered a five-set defeat to Rogers, but beat Vickers.
Barrow’s 7-1 victory over Elgre Nottingham was deserved and pushed them to joined first place with Fusion, the team they were to face next.
Final Score: Barrow I 7 – 1 Elgre Nottingham I
Barrow I: Jakov Krivić (2), Bradley Evans (1), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2)
Elgre Nottingham I: Chris Rogers (1), David Arrowsmith (0), Emma Vickers (1), Sophie Neil (0)
Barrow I vs Fusion I
This was a big match for Barrow; any points picked up would be a big bonus and put the team on track for a dream British League Premier Division place.
The danger presented by Fusion doesn’t lie with any one individual, but the strength and depth of the team. That said, the team does boast former Olympian and Nigerian International Sule Olaleye as its number 1.
For the next few games Barrow were always playing catch-up. Firstly Krivić comfortably beat Tom Cutler before Mark Smith beat Scott Crawford in an intense match to give Fusion the lead once more. Jonathan Crawford then beat John Dennison to draw the match 2-2 at the halfway point.
In a truly world class match that caught the attention and imagination of everyone in the room, Krivić faced Olaleye. After some incredible off-the-table attacking rallies interspersed with delicate touch play, it looked like Krivić was going to take the match as he led 9-7 in the deciding fifth set. However, Olaleye managed to tighten his game over the last crucial points and used his immense experience to edge out Krivić and sneak a win.
Fusion’s ever dependable Smith then went on to beat Evans to give Fusion a 4-2 lead with 2 games remaining.
It was now up to the two Crawford brother’s backed up by former England Team Coach Denis Neale and travelling supporters to pull something out of the bag and gain Barrow a valuable point. On the Barrow supporters side things were tense, but on the Fusion side there was an air of contemplation.
The first set went Scott Crawford’s way as he won game 7. This was then matched by Dennison to bring the match to 1 set apiece.
The next set was to be decisive. It was a marathon containing long attacking rallies as both players chased the ball and gave nothing away. At crucial points both players used their time-outs before the set was eventually settled 23-21 in the favour of Barrow player Scott Crawford.
Dennison found it hard to recover from the disappointment of losing the set and Scott Crawford went on to win the match taking the fourth set game 7, thus earning Barrow a valuable draw.
Going into the match, Barrow would have been delighted with a draw. However, as is so often the case, after achieving what would have been a dream result you can’t help look back and think what could have been had Krivić managed to finish off Olaleye.
At the end of day 1, Barrow had won 2 and drawn 1 against Fusion, the team they shared the top spot with in the play-off table. On top of that, Jonathan Crawford had managed to maintain a 100% record.
Final Score: Barrow I 4 – 4 Fusion I
Barrow I: Jakov Krivić (1), Bradley Evans (0), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (1)
Fusion I: Sule Olaleye (2), Tom Cutler (0), Mark Smith (2), John Dennison (0)
Barrow I vs Pavilion Brighton I
Beating Pavilion Brighton would guarantee Barrow promotion to the British League Premier Division with one game to spare. Barrow approached the game with respect for Pavilion Brighton and knew it would take a good performance by everyone to dispose of them.
The match started out like a dream for Barrow as they stormed ahead to a 3-0 lead. Krivić easily beat Ashley Stokes, Evans easily beat Hans Pillards finishing off with what has to be the shot of the weekend and Jonathan Crawford scraped through against Eli Baraty. Scott Crawford then lost a hugely entertaining match against fellow junior Da Shuai Zhang to leave the match 3-1 to Barrow at the halfway mark.
Going into the second half of the match Barrow were brimming with confidence, whilst with the exception of Zhang, Pavilion Brighton looked to have lost confidence and fight.
Krivić took the next game comfortably beating Pillards to guarantee Barrow at least a draw. However, to guarantee promotion, Barrow needed one more win.
Barrow didn’t have to wait long as Jonathan Crawford continued his unbeaten run beating Stokes. Evans then lost to inform Zhang before Scott Crawford beat Baraty to earn Barrow a 6-2 victory and a place in the British League Premier Division.
After 4 games, Barrow alongside Fusion had gained promotion to the British League Premier Division. However, with both teams tied on seven points and twenty two games won, there was still the honour of been champions to fight for.
Final Score: Barrow I 6 – 2 Pavilion Brighton I
Barrow I: Jakov Krivić (2), Bradley Evans (1), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (1)
Fusion I: Hans Pillards (0), Ashley Stokes (0), Da Shuai Zhang (2), Eli Baraty (0)
Barrow I vs OLOP Impact I
Barrow, buoyed by the morning’s performance wanted to finish the weekend on a high and win the competition out right. As Barrow were on equal points and game difference with Fusion, this meant trying to beat OLOP Impact (who sat at the foot of the table) by as big a margin as possible. At the same time, Barrow had to rely on Gareth Herbert’s TTK Greenhouse to inflict some damage on Fusion.
Maintaining the morning’s momentum, Barrow were fast out of the blocks. They steam rolled a startled OLOP Impact taking the match score to 4-0 at the halfway mark. Evans beat David Barr, Krivić beat Chris Bush, Scott Crawford beat Hari Gehlot and Jonathan Crawford beat Liam McTiernan.
Meanwhile, on the other table, Fusion had dropped a game against TTK Greenhouse, but still held a convincing 3-1 lead.
It would be nice to be able to write that there was a dramatic conclusion as to who the winners of the British League Play-Offs would be, but Barrow were simply coasting. The next four games went the same as the first four and with the exception of Brad’s very tired victory over Gehlot, each victory was easily obtained. Krivić comfortably beat Barr, Jonathan Crawford finished the weekend with a 100% record easily beating Bush and Scott Crawford proved that he could hold his own at this level by beating McTiernan.
With the final score 8–0 to Barrow and Fusion only beating TTK Greenhouse 6–2, Barrow had not only gained promotion to the British Premier League, but had done so in style by been crowned the 2010 British League Play-Off Champions. This is truly a great result and arguably the best result of any Cumbrian table tennis team ever!
Final Score: Barrow I 8 – 0 OLOP Impact I
Barrow I: Jakov Krivić (2), Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2)
Fusion I: David Barr (0), Chris Bush (0), Hari Gehlot (0), Liam McTiernan (0)
This weekend, Barrow I will compete against Elgre Nottingham, TTK Greenhouse, OLOP Impact I, Fusion I and Pavilion Brighton in the British League Play-Offs. The round-robin style event is to be played at Cippenham Table Tennis Centre and the award for the top two teams is a place in the British League Premier Division.
Barrow I qualified for last season’s British League Play-Offs and finished in fourth position. The team could have done better had then team number 1 Gavin Rumgay been available to play (Gavin was playing in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships).
This time around, despite the loss of current team number 1 Darius Knight (Spanish League commitments), the team hopes to do better. With the addition of top Croatian Jakov Krivić to the team and Jonathan and Scott Crawford improving vastly over the last year, promotion is a strong possibility.
Over the weekend, the team will be coached by former England team coach Denis Neale.