Here are some photos from last weekend when Barrow TTC were crowned champions of the British League. A full report is to follow.
Barrow TTC is heading into the biggest weekend of the Clubs history.
It is hard to believe, but just a year ago Barrow’s first team spectacularly won promotion to the British League Premier Division. Now, just one year on, the team is on the verge of winning the premier British table tennis team title at the first attempt.
Barrow, determined not to fall at the final hurdle, will have a full team present including Paul Drinkhall, the newly crowned English National Champion. Darius Knight will also be making the long journey from the Polish Open to play for Barrow. As impressive as Knight’s journey is, it will be eclipsed by that of team manager Tristran Swan who is travelling a whopping 6400 miles from China to be at the potentially historic weekend.
Over the weekend, Barrow will be looking to hold on to their slender two point lead as they face fifth placed Westfield I, sixth placed Ormesby I, fourth placed DHS Greenhouse Progress I and third placed Fusion I.
Last weekend was an important one for Barrow II, as the team aimed to realise their ambition for promotion to Division 1 North of the British League. With a perfect record going into the weekend, Barrow II were the favourites. Though tough opposition, particularly in the form of Drumchapel Glasgow III and title contenders Chesterfield stood in the way.
Barrow II vs. Woodfield
Barrow II’s previous fixture against Woodfield ended in a 6-2 victory for the Barrow team. On that occasion, Woodfield’s Andy Rich claimed the scalps of Barrow’s Jonathan Crawford and Scott Crawford. The Crawford brothers will have been relieved to see Rich missing for this match.
Jonathan Crawford was simply too strong for Leigh Hipkins (11-4, 11-4, 11-4) and Scott Crawford overcame the tricky John Collymore (6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8). A nervy Tristran Swan got the better of Liam Farmer (12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9) and stepping in for the injured Tom Smith, Graham Coupe was quick to prove his worth and get his name on the score sheet with a battling win over Jarendra Patel (5-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-3) to give Barrow II a faultless 4-0 start.
The second half went much the way of the first with Jonathan Crawford beating John Collymore (11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9), Swan beating Hipkins (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) and Scott Crawford beating Patel (11-9, 11-9, 11-7). Coupe was close to an impeccable start, but was in need of a couple of extra points to get the better of Farmer (9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11).
Match Score: Barrow II 7 – 1 Woodfield
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Graham Coupe (1)
Woodfield: John Collymore (0), Leigh Hipkins (0), Jarendra Patel (0), Liam Farmer (1)
Barrow II vs. Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II won the previous encounter with Drumchapel Glasgow III 8-0, a score line that took even the Barrow team by surprise. Barrow II certainly weren’t expecting things to be as easy this time against a young and dangerous Drumchapel Glasgow III.
From the start, the match didn’t go to plan as Scott Crawford failed to penetrate the sharp looking Drumchapel Number 1 Calum Main (11-7, 11-13, 9-11, 5-11). Thankfully for Barrow, the ship was steadied as brother Jonathan Crawford stepped into the court showing the sort of form that has deserted him for much of the season. Jonathan beat the much-improved Scott Barton (11-7, 11-5, 16-14).
Graham Coupe was on fire as he produced possibly his best win to date against Nathan Courtney (11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 3-11, 11-7) to put Barrow II back on track. With the Barrow team visibly lifted and once again buoyant, Tristran Swan fed of the mistakes of Andrew McFadyen (13-11, 11-6, 11-5) to give Barrow II a 3-1 lead at the halfway point.
Jonathan Crawford then went on to produce his best table tennis of the season. Hitting the ball sweet and at times with unreturnable venom, Jonathan always looked in control as he beat Drumchapel’s Main (11-6, 11-4, 3-11, 11-8). Scott Crawford then overcame Courtney (11-5, 15-13, 13-11), whilst Swan didn’t have an answer for the serves and short play of Barton (12-14, 6-11, 6-11). For Coupe, a satisfying afternoon was concluded with a superb win over McFadyen (10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6) to give Barrow II a very respectable 6-2 win.
Match Score: Barrow II 6 – 2 Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (1), Tristran Swan (1), Graham Coupe (2)
Drumchapel Glasgow III: Calum Main (1), Scott Barton (1), Nathan Courtney (0), Andrew McFadyen (0)
Barrow II vs. Chesterfield
Barrow II’s previous encounter with Chesterfield is what defines the standings at the top of the table. On that occasion, a strong team of Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford, Scott Crawford and Steve Dixon took the fixture 5-3 to give Barrow II a two-point advantage at the top of the table.
This time around, Barrow II had a very different lineup against an unchanged Chesterfield (William Cooney, Andy Henry, Andrew Horsefield, Mark Short). As such, this match had the potential to be a game of two halves. With Barrow II on paper boasting a stronger 1 and 2 and Chesterfield greater depth at 3 and 4, a draw looked to be on the cards and it is this that Barrow were playing for.
To start, Chesterfield’s Andy Henry struggled to read Jonathan Crawford’s deceptive serves (11-4, 11-6). Come the third set, he seemed to have the hang of them (8-11). Although Jonathan wasn’t playing as well as the previous day, he managed to close Henry out in the fourth set to give Barrow II a very important early lead (11-9).
Barrow’s lead was extended as Scott Crawford held his nerve after loosing the first set to Will Cooney (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5). As expected, Tristran Swan went down to the consistent Mark Short (4-11, 10-12, 8-11) and Graham Coupe lost out to the intelligent play of Andrew Horsefield (7-11, 5-11, 5-11). This left the match score 2-2 at the halfway point and Barrow II needing two more games to more or less guarantee them the title.
In the first of two crunch games for Barrow, Chesterfields Cooney failed to convert chances, aiding Jonathan Crawford to victory (14-12, 11-9, 12-10). Tristran Swan then failed to get the better of Andy Henry to leave the match perilously tight at three a-piece.
In possibly the most entertaining match of the weekend, much to the delight of the Barrow team, Scott Crawford got the better of Andrew Horsefield (11-8, 12-10, 11-4) to guarantee Barrow a valuable draw and possibly the title. This lifted any pressure off Coupe as he faced Short. Despite a strong start by Coupe (10-12), Short went on to control the game and earn Chesterfield the conciliation of a draw (2-11, 6-11).
Match Score: Barrow II 4 – 4 Chesterfield
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (0), Graham Coupe (0)
Chesterfield: William Cooney (0), Andy Henry (1), Andrew Horsefield (1), Mark Short (2)
Barrow II vs. Ormesby III
To start, Ormesby’s Karen Shepherd played an excellent and effective counter-hitting game against Barrow’s Scott Crawford. However, Crawford managed to hang on and clinch the game in a dramatic 5th set (14-12, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9). Jonathan Crawford then proceeded to ease past Martin Rutter (11-5, 12-10, 11-5) and Graham Coupe beat Michael Young (11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9). Tristran Swan then battled through against Chloe Whyte (11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5) to guarantee Barrow the draw they needed to win the division.
The second half of the game followed the first. Once again Karen Shepherd played well, but lost out to Jonathan Crawford (11-9, 12-10, 12-10). Scott Crawford beat Michael Young (11-9, 11-6, 11-9), Tristran Swan did well to fight back and beat Martin Rutter (11-13, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5) whilst Graham Coupe frustrated Chloe Whyte (11-5, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8) to earn Barrow II a convincing 8-0 win.
Match Score: Barrow II 8 – 0 Ormesby III
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Graham Coupe (2)
Ormesby III: Karen Shepherd (0), Martin Rutter (0), Michael Young (0), Chloe Whyte (0)
This weekend, at Draycott and Long Eaton Table Tennis Centre, the champions of Division 2 North of the British League will be decided.
Occupying pole position, Barrow II have spent the last week preparing. Despite being undefeated so far, the team have a slender 2-point advantage over Chesterfield and the youthful Barrow team understands there is no leeway for slip-ups.
Over the weekend, Barrow II will face some tough opposition from: sixth placed Woodfield I, third placed Drumchapel Glasgow III, second placed Chesterfield (championship deciding game) and seventh placed Ormesby III.
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.
It is the start of a new year. A time to reflect and a time to look ahead and think about what we want to achieve.
With this in mind, I asked a few Barrow TTC players the following questions (as well as answered them myself). Please leave your answers to the questions in the comments section below.
- What is your table tennis target for 2011?
- What is your personal goal for 2011?
- To win Division 2 North of the British League with Barrow II and to help Barrow I win the British League Premier Division. Going into the new season, I’d like to take everything I’ve learnt running the Barrow teams this season and make things even better.
- To adapt to a new life as a father and find the right balance that allows me to do everything I want and keep those important to me happy.
- To qualify for the U21 Pro-Tour Finals – it is my last year.
- To be ranked in the World top 150 ahead of the Olympics next year.
- To win the British League Premier Division with Barrow and maintain the outstanding team-spirit.
- To enjoy the last half of my stay in England.
- To practice and compete more and help Barrow win matches in the British League.
- To successfully complete my degree (BSc. (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science) achieving a 2.1. Also, manage my time effectively so I can still practice and compete in table tennis.
- To reach the top 40 men in England.
- To get into University and achieve an A in Business Studies (A-Level).
- To reach 2000 ranking points by mid-year to get me up into Band 3 for the Grand Prix events the following season. Then hopefully build on this total during the 2011/2012 season.
- Try and get more organise and a bit more tidy!
The weather was kind as the Barrow II squad of Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford, Scott Crawford, Tristran Swan, Steve Dixon and Graham Coupe travelled over the Pennines to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Joining them for a weekend of British League Division 2 North action were supporters Paul Drinkhall, Darius Knight, Sebastian Laux, Tom Smith and coach Denis Neale.
Barrow II vs. Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II’s first opponents were Drumchapel Glasgow III. Sitting third in the table, only one place behind Barrow II, a tough match was expected.
However, the forecasted stormy waters didn’t materialise as Barrow gave Drumchapel a drumming, winning 8-0.
Barrow’s Bradley Evans beat Scott Barton (11-9, 11-8, 11-6) and Calum Main (10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2), Jonathan Crawford beat Calum Main (11-8, 11-8, 11-4) and Nathan Courtney (11-7, 11-8, 11-1), Scott Crawford beat Andrew McFadyen (11-7, 13-11, 11-6) and Scott Barton (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-7) and Steve Dixon made his season’s debut beating Nathan Courtney (9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8) and Andrew McFadyen (12-10, 11-9, 11-8).
Final Score: Barrow II 8-0 Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II: Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Steve Dixon (2)
Drumchapel Glasgow III: Calum Main (0), Scott Barton (0), Nathan Courtney (0), Andrew McFadyen (0)
Chesterfield vs. Barrow II
Saturday afternoon’s opponents were Chesterfield. A team disappointed not to have been promoted last season and this season’s league leaders. On paper, Chesterfield’s game difference over Barrow suggested they might be favourites, but Barrow were boosted by the presence of England Number 37 Bradley Evans.
Jonathan Crawford got the match underway for Barrow against Chesterfield’s Will Cooney. Sets were traded as Jonathan took the first 11-6, Cooney the second 9-11 and Jonathan the third 11-5. The fourth set looked to be breaking the pattern as Jonathan took a 10-4 lead. However, Cooney had other ideas as he fought back to make it 10 apiece. Cooney couldn’t maintain the momentum though as he failed to set-up what would have been a very nervous fifth set as Jonathan won the fourth 12-10. Bradley Evans followed and scored a comfortable win over Andy Henry (11-6, 11-7, 11-6) to give Barrow an early 2-0 lead.
Chesterfield’s Andrew Horsefield proved too sharp for Barrow’s Steve Dixon. Despite his best efforts, Dixon just couldn’t keep Horsefield’s aggressive attacking at bay as he went down 5-11, 13-15, 6-11. Scott Crawford then stepped forward and beat the impressive-looking Mark Short (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 13-11) to earn Barrow a 3-1 lead at the halfway point.
The second half got underway with Bradley Evans winning a 5 set thriller against William Cooney to guarantee Barrow at least a draw. Barrow expected to win the next game to seal the victory. Andrew Horsefield, however, was determined not to be beaten and defeated Jonathan Crawford (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 7-11) to keep Chesterfield’s chances of a draw alive. Chesterfield’s hopes were soon dashed as the younger Crawford (Scott) stepped in to seal an important victory for Barrow with a win over Andy Henry (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9). Consolation for Chesterfield came in the form of a Mark Short victory over Steve Dixon (3-11, 9-11, 4-11) to leave the score line of a very important match 5-3 to Barrow.
Final Score: Chesterfield 3-5 Barrow II
Barrow II: Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (1), Scott Crawford (2), Steve Dixon (0)
Chesterfield: William Cooney (0), Andy Henry (0), Andrew Horsefield (2), Mark Short (1)
Barrow II vs. Ormesby III
Sunday wasn’t a day of rest for Barrow II as they got the day underway playing fourth placed Ormesby III. A strong start it was, too, as Jonathan Crawford beat Martin Rutter (13-15, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10), Scott Crawford beat Edward Fambely (7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 13-11) and Tristran Swan beat Karl Shaw (11-5, 11-7, 11-8) to give Barrow an early 3-0 lead. It was nearly a perfect start, but Graham Coupe was just edged out by Michael Young (7-11, 14-12, 10-12, 9-11) to make the score 3-1 at the halfway mark.
Barrow’s winning ways returned as Jonathan Crawford beat Edward Fambely (11-4, 11-7, 11-6). Tristran Swan then went down to Martin Rutter by the closest of margins (12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 13-15). Scott Crawford beat Michael Young (12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) and Graham Coupe won his first match of the season in a tactical exchange against Karl Shaw (3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9) to give Barrow a comfortable 6-2 win.
Final Score: Barrow II 6-2 Ormesby III
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (1), Graham Coupe (1)
Ormesby III: Edward Fambely (0), Martin Rutter (1), Michael Young (1), Karl Shaw (0)
Barrow II vs. Sheffield
Barrow II overcame Sheffield 5-3 at the start of the season. A far from convincing margin and a game Sheffield felt they could have come away from with a little bit more.
The match got under way with Jonathan Crawford overcoming the improved Jack Grant (12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7) and Scott Crawford beating Jack’s father, the experienced Bill Grant (11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9).
With Barrow expecting the Crawford brothers to win four games, a fifth game had to come from somewhere for Barrow to win the fixture. For Barrow, the most likely fifth win would come in the next match, Tristran Swan versus Liam Carson.
It was then the turn of Graham Coupe who stepped into the court to face the much higher-ranked Peter Morgan. Coupe always gives 100%, but on this occasion he was visibly fired up for the game. A defender by trade, Coupe played some ferocious forehands away from the table and on occasion they were just a little too crazy. The match was without doubt the most entertaining of the weekend as Coupe played some of his best table tennis. Despite his best efforts though, Coupe eventually went down to a relieved Morgan 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11.
With the score 3-1 to Barrow at the halfway point, Jonathan Crawford faced up to Bill Grant and came away the victor (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7). Helped by a dose of good luck, Tristran Swan scored a good win over Jack Grant (11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 4-11, 11-6) and Scott Crawford maintained his weekend’s 100% record with a battling loop-to-loop encounter with Peter Morgan (11-9, 9-11, 13-15, 11-3, 11-6). Liam Carson was too consistent against Graham Coupe’s defense, winning 10-12, 4-11, 11-9, 8-11. It was Barrow though that walked away with a better-than-anticipated 6-2 victory.
Final Score: Barrow II 6-2 Sheffield
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Graham Coupe (0)
Sheffield: Bill Grant (0), Jack Grant (0), Peter Morgan (1), Liam Carson (1)
This weekend, Barrow II play their second set of British League Division 2 North fixtures at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.
Like the first team, Barrow II has all to play for as they fight for promotion to Division 1 North. After four matches, Barrow II have a maximum 8 points, but sit second in the table to Chesterfield on game difference.
Over the weekend, Barrow II will face some tough opposition including: third placed Drumchapel Glasgow III, current table-toppers Chesterfield, fourth placed Ormesby III and fifth placed Sheffield; whom Barrow II have already beaten once 5-3.