Terry McLernon MBE honoured to carry Queen’s baton

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Terry McLernon MBE (Chairman of Table Tennis Scotland and Head Coach at Drumchapel Table Tennis Club) was nominated by players and staff from the very successful Drumchapel table tennis club to carry the Queen’s Baton for part of it’s journey through Glasgow for the commonwealth games.

Terry has developed the club from zero to hero through many years of hard work and can now boast to be one of the biggest clubs in Britain with over 300 members.

Disability table tennis is also high on the agenda at the club through Terry’s passion to make table tennis available for everyone.

Terry can be seen looking very proud sporting a “Braveheart” look in his kilt carrying the baton.

Congratulations Terry we salute you !!!

Photo courtesy of Studio Cee

More medals for teenage star Shilton in Spain

The GB Para Table Tennis team’s rising star Billy Shilton has added two more medals to his international tally at the PTT Spanish Open in El Prat de Llobregat taking silver in the men’s class 6-7 team event with Martin Perry and a bronze in the men’s class 7 singles – his first individual medal.

There was also a first international medal for 15 year old GB Pathway Squad member Lawrence John, who took silver in the men’s class 10 team event with fellow Welshman Nathan Thomas, bronze for Development athlete Craig Allen, partnered by Ireland’s Thomas Anthony Davis in the men’s class 10 teams, and further success for GB as Barnsley’s former Commonwealth champion Sue Gilroy took gold in the women’s class 4 singles.

Billy Shilton action 5 2014Shilton, 15, from Gloucestershire, topped his group in the men’s class 7 singles with 3-0 wins over Daryl Sterling (USA) and the Norwegian Markus Koteng, and another 3-0 against the American Hunter McAloose in the quarter-finals earned him a semi-final against Ben Despineux. The Belgian world number 12, who went on to take the gold medal, is a tricky opponent and his greater experience showed as he beat Shilton 3-1.

“I was really pleased that I kept my form going from Romania last week,” said Shilton. “I find Despineux really awkward to play and I won the first set but he changed his tactics then and that worked against me. But I was really pleased with the way I played and it is great to win an individual medal.”

Sue Gilroy, competing for the first time since the Italian Open in March, also topped her group and after a 3-1 semi-final win against the German Sandra Mikolaschek she went on to beat the world number five from Korea, Ji-nam Jung, in the final by the same score.

“It was a good test for me,” said Gilroy, “because the Koreans were here and I haven’t played Sandra for about five years so I wanted to have a crack at her before the World Championships. So I’m really pleased and I can take confidence from that now into the Worlds in September.”

In the team event event Shilton and Perry progressed from their group and after beating the USA in the semi-finals they lost 3-1 in the final to the Israeli team of Samuel Shur and Daniel Bobrov.

“I was quite disappointed with how I played in the singles,” said Perry, “but I played better in the team and Billy and I got stronger with every match we played. Shur and Bobrov are a tough combination and we battled well – we lost the doubles 11-9 in the fifth and if we had won that we could have gone on to win the match.”

Nathan Thomas and Lawrence John had comfortable wins against two Spanish combinations but after winning their semi-final against Allen and Davis they lost out to the very experienced number one Spanish team of world number four Jose Manuel Ruiz Reyes and world number eight Jorge Cardona.

“It has been an intensive three days of competition in tough conditions,” said GB Pathway Team Coach Shaun Marples, “and it’s been a great experience for all the players.”

GB’s young players head to Spain

Megan Shackleton action 3 2014The youngest member of the GB Performance Squad, Megan Shackleton, who won her first individual medal in Romania last week, heads a team of young players from the GB Pathway Squad competing in the PTT Spanish Open in El Prat de Llobregat this week (June 20-22).

The 15 year old class 4 player from Todmorden will be joined by three other players who took medals in Romania – 15 year old Billy Shilton (class 7) from Stonehouse in Gloucestershire, 20 year old Martin Perry (class 6) from Paisley and 21 year old Thomas Matthews (class 1) from Aberdare.

The team is completed by 19 year old Lucie Bouron (Class 3) from Bracknell, 18 year old Conor Gordon (Class 9) from Falkirk, 15 year old Lawrence John (Class 10) from Swansea and two players who will be making their international debuts – 18 year old Nicko Anderson from Northolt and 15 year old Daniel Bullen from St Neots.

“There will be some strong opposition in Spain including a team from Korea,” said GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko, “and it will be very good experience for our young athletes to compete against players from other countries with different styles.”

Also competing in Spain will be a group of Development players including Craig Allen, Neil Innes, Josh Morgan, Nathan Thomas and Rajan Waterman as well as Barnsley’s former Commonwealth champion Sue Gilroy.

Young GB squad takes four medals in Romania

Left to right: Martin Perry, Billy Shilton (back), Megan Shackleton and Thomas Matthews

Left to right: Martin Perry, Billy Shilton (back), Megan Shackleton and Thomas Matthews

A squad of young players from the GB Para Table Tennis Team has won four medals in the in the Romania International Open in Cluj with 15 year old Megan Shackleton taking bronze in the women’s class 2-5 singles, Paisley’s Martin Perry (20) taking bronze in the men’s class 6 singles and bronze in the men’s class 6-7 team event with 15 year old Billy Shilton, and 21 year old Welshman Thomas Matthews combining with Martin Barbierik from Slovakia to take bronze in the men’s class 1-2 team event.

Shackleton, from Todmorden, is the youngest member of the GB Performance Squad and progressed to the knockout stages of the singles after wins over Giada Rossi from Italy and the Romanian Dorina Vargatu before finding the experienced Federica Cudia from Italy too good in the semi-finals.

“I think I played quite well,” said Shackleton. “I was focusing on my tactics and I’m beginning to understand more about what I need to do to win games. I’m really happy to win my first individual medal.”

Perry was also delighted to win two medals and had two good wins against the Romanians Christian Draghici and Florin Milciu in the group stages of the singles before losing his semi-final against another Romanian Bobi Simion 3-0.

“I played a bit up and down,” admitted Perry, “but in the team Billy and I really started to gel. We are really good friends and that helped us on the table. We had chances in the semi-final so we were unlucky not to get the result.”

Shilton was disappointed with his performance in the singles but played really well in the team event, winning both his singles matches in the semi-final against a Polish/Japanese combination of Michal Deigsler and Masachika Inoue.

“I didn’t play my best in the singles,” he said, “but I played well in the team event and it has been really good experience playing against players with different styles.”

Matthews, from Aberdare, also showed improved form in the team event in which he continued his partnership with Barbierik.

“I didn’t start the tournament well,” he said, “but I was happy that I came back stronger in the team. It was good to play with Martin (Barbierik) again and he is helping me to calm down. I’m starting to be more relaxed and thinking about the next point.”

Shaun Marples, GB Pathway Team Coach, said: “It has been a good tournament and all the players have benefited from the experience of playing against some very tough international opposition.”

Paralympic medalists to compete in Glasgow Open

London 2012 Paralympic medalists Will Bayley and Aaron McKibbin will be among the players taking part in the Glasgow Open, the first Para table tennis tournament to be held in Scotland, from May 31-June 1 at Drumchapel High School.

Will Bayley action 4 2014Bayley, the world number two, won a memorable silver medal in the men’s class 7 singles in London and then teamed up with McKibbin and Ross Wilson to take a bronze in the men’s class 6-8 team event. The Sheffield based 26-year-old has been in great form this year, winning international tournaments in Italy and Slovenia, and is looking forward to competing in the tournament which will feature a Four Nations International between players from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“We don’t get to compete in the UK very often,” said Bayley, “and it is great to have a new tournament for Para table tennis in Scotland. We usually compete as GB so it will be a new experience to compete for England against the other home nations and I’m sure there will be some fierce but friendly rivalry. This is a big year for sport in Glasgow and they love sport in Scotland so I’m looking forward to playing there.”

Class 8 player McKibbin, 22, has also been in good form this month with team silver medals in Slovenia and Slovakia and enjoyed the best win of his career in Slovenia against the class 10 world number eight Pavel Lukyanov of Russia.

Also competing for England will be two more members of the GB Para Table Tennis Performance Squad, David Wetherill and Liverpool teenager Jack Hunter-Spivey.

Wetherill, who represented ParalympicsGB in both Beijing and London, won the National class 6 title in March and has taken medals in Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia this season, including gold in the men’s class 6 team event in Slovenia. Hunter-Spivey is one of the most promising young players in the GB Performance Squad and followed up his silver medal in the class 5 team event in Slovenia with silver in the class 5 men’s singles in Slovakia, coming back from 1-2 down to beat the world number three from Serbia Mitar Palikuca to reach his first factor 40 tournament final.

Davies and Davies take gold for GB in Slovakia

European champions Paul Davies and Rob Davies produced a great performance at the Slovakian Open today to take gold in the men’s class 1 team event and there were also silver medals for Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak (men’s class 7), Aaron McKibbin with the Belgian Marc Ledoux (men’s class 8) and David Wetherill with Valentin Kneuss from Switzerland (men’s class 6) and a bronze for Jane Campbell and Sara Head (women’s class 1-3).

Rob & Paul team medals SlovakiaDavies and Davies were involved in a titanic battle in the final with a combined team of Jean-Francois Ducay from France and the Italian Andrea Borgato, who took an early lead when Ducay, winner of the singles here, beat Paul Davies 3-0. Rob Davies levelled for GB by beating Borgato 3-1 and the Welsh duo fought back from 0-2 down in the doubles only to lose 5-11 in the fifth.

Rob Davies took a 2-0 lead against the Paralympic silver medalist Ducay, who had beaten him in the semi-finals of the singles, but the Frenchman is a determined competitor and fought back to level at 2-2. In a tense final set Davies always just had the edge and finally clinched victory on his third match point. It then came down to the final singles between Paul Davies and Borgato and after twice coming back to level the match the Welshman played a superb final game to clinch the gold medal 11-6 in the fifth.

“I don’t know where I got it from,” said North Cornelly’s Paul Davies, “it was definitely from the bottom of the barrel. I knew I could do it but five sets was hard. But a great result – especially to win another gold and to beat Borgato. I wasn’t good against Ducay but thank God Rob beat him and it came down to the veteran to do it in the final end. This is massive for our confidence – Ducay and Borgato were the strongest team here and for us to beat them – I’m over the moon.”

“It was a very tough match,” agreed Rob Davies, “four of the best players at the moment in class 1. It was a brilliant game and so close – just happy to come away with it and Paul played brilliantly. Against Ducay I’ve been there before so I have that in the bank and it was just about keeping positive. I knew what I was doing wrong so it was just a matter of changing that during the game and trying not to get nervous and playing like I can, which I think I have for the last two days.”

In their semi-final against a combined Switzerland/Korea/Kuwait team Rob Davies faced the world number four Chang Ho Lee for the first time since losing to the Korean in the final of the German Open last year and put that defeat behind him with a 3-0 win. With Paul Davies having beaten Sylvio Keller 3-0 in the first singles Davies and Davies secured their place in the final with a 3-0 win in the doubles.

Rob Davies was delighted with his win against Lee. “Not sure if it’s the first or the second time I’ve beaten him but it was a big result for me going into the Worlds as he knows I beat him 3-0 and I know how I can play against him. So a big positive and I’m well happy.”

Sheffield based Londoner Aaron McKibbin and Marc Ledoux faced a tough challenge in the final against the world number three and four from China but competed well despite a 0-3 loss. McKibbin played well in a 0-3 loss to world number four Chao Kun Ye and Ledoux lost a close match with Shuai Zhao 2-3 before a competitive doubles match ended 3-1 to China.

Aaron McKibbin action 6 2014“I was looking to play China all week,” said 22 year old McKibbin, “as it is the only chance we get to play them before the Worlds. I think I played quite well against Ye – he is obviously one of the best players in the world and it has helped me because I understand what I need to do against him so I can go back and work on it. I didn’t get the result but overall the performance and understanding of how to play him in the Worlds is what I was aiming for.”

On the way to the final McKibbin came back from 0-2 against Gyula Zborai to give GB/Belgium a great start in their semi-final against Hungary and after Ledoux beat the world number five Andras Csonka 3-0 they combined to win the doubles 12-10 in the fourth and the match 3-0.

“Hungary are one of the best teams in the world and Zborai got to the final of the singles here so I knew he was in good form,” said McKibbin. “I had a bad start to the match but I kept believing that I could come back into it. I was happy to get the win because he is a higher ranked player and he’s playing well so it’s good for me.”

Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak started well against Ukraine, Karabardak taking the first set against Maksym Nikolenko before the world number one came back to win 3-1. Bayley also made a good start against European champion Mykhaylo Popov but could not take his chances and lost 10-12 in the fourth. Bayley and Karabardak fought hard in the doubles but the Ukraine pair were too strong and clinched the gold with a 3-1 win.

Will Bayley action 4 2014“It was a tough game,” said Sheffield based Bayley, “all the games were quite tight and it was one or two points here or there – he played really good and I didn’t take my chances. We can learn from this – you learn more from your defeats maybe more than you learn from winning so that’s a good thing. It’s been a good tournament and today was just one of those days – you have them in sport. I’ll come back stronger.”

“I think we played quite well,” said Karabardak, from Swansea, “we both had chances to win our singles and didn’t and then 0-2 down going into the doubles is hard. I played well against Nikolenko and it was a shame I couldn’t have taken some of those tight points. I think I’ve played quite well here and shown that I can compete with the top players again.”

Paul KarabardakBayley and Karabardak had earlier won a very tough semi-final against an Egyptian/Polish combination that had put out China in the quarter-finals. With Bayley beating Michal Deigsler 3-0 and Karabardak losing in three deuce sets to Ahmed Sayed the GB duo found themselves 1-2 after a comprehensive 0-3 defeat in the doubles. Bayley displayed all his fighting qualities to come back from 1-2 against the very talented Egyptian Sayed for a 3-2 win and Karabardak secured their place in the final with a 3-0 win over Deigsler.

Paralympic bronze medalists Jane Campbell and Sara Head evoked memories of London 2012 in beating a Turkey/USA combination that they had lost to in Slovenia last week. Campbell came from 2-1 down to beat Pamela Fontaine but a 0-3 loss for Head against the world number seven Nergiz Altintas from Turkey and a 1-3 doubles defeat left them needing to win both of the final singles. Another great fight back from Campbell, this time from 0-2 against Altintas, levelled the scores and Head clinched the match with a 3-0 win against Fontaine.

That match won them the bronze medal and despite losing their final match against China the two GB players are taking all the positives from the experience.

Sara & Jane with medals“China are always going to be tough,” said Campbell, “and we’ve just got to try not to be afraid of them because they are China and play our game. We’ve learnt a fair bit playing them today and it is a good reminder as we haven’t seen them for a while.”

Campbell can be proud of the way she fought back twice against both Altintas and Fontaine.

“It was understanding the tactics a little bit better each time,” she said, “but also just desperately wanting a bronze medal – we always fight for a bronze medal!”

“I’ve lost to Pamela Fontaine the last three times I’ve played her,” said Head, “so I was quite fired up for that one. It was the best I’ve returned her serves and I was really chuffed – I wasn’t going to let that one go. We’ve got to make the most of the time now before the World Championships in September and preparation is going to be really important so bring on the Worlds.”

David Wetherill action 3 2014Torpoint’s David Wetherill and Swiss partner Valentin Kneuss lost the doubles against Sweden in their first match of the day but two wins in the singles for Wetherill helped to give GB/Switzerland a 3-1 win. Their final match in the round robin event against Spain was effectively a gold medal match with both teams unbeaten. World number one Alvaro Valera and Alberto Seoane, winner of the class 6 singles here, proved too strong and took the gold with a 3-0 win.

“I was disappointed not to play my best against Seoane,” said Wetherill, who also lost to the Spaniard in the semi-finals of the singles, “but I’ve only lost three games over the two weeks (in Slovenia and Slovakia) so overall I’ve had a good two weeks and it’s nice to win another medal.”

“I think we need to be happy with the final preparation tournament before the World Championships,” said GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko. “To have China, Korea and some really strong European countries here was a good test for us. We will have training camps and international camps now to improve performance leading up to the World Championships in China in September and this tournament has been really good because we know what we need to do better.”

Follow the GB Para Table Tennis Team on Twitter @gbparatt

 

 

Glasgow Open 2014

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It’s not too late to enter the first major disabled table tennis tournament to be held in Scotand on Saturday 31st May & Sunday 1st June 2014. As the closing date has been put back until 23rd May so if you haven’t already entered, GET YOUR ENTRIES IN NOW.

Email entries will be taken at this stage to Terry McLernon TelldrumTT@aol.com

The event will kick off on Friday with a Four Nations International showing members of the British Team fresh from their triumphs in Slovenia & Slovakia. It will also include a strong Irish contingent who don’t often compete in the normal course of events, plus a host of top table tennis players from throughout Great Britain. Don’t miss what promises to be a major addition to the disabled table tennis scene.

GB in line for more medals in Slovakia

The GB team is assured of at least three medals in the team events at the Slovakian Open in Bratislava with Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak (men’s class 7), Paul Davies and Rob Davies (men’s class 1) and Aaron McKibbin with Belgian partner Marc Ledoux (men’s class 8) all through to the semi-finals tomorrow. Dave Wetherill and Swiss partner Valentin Kneuss (men’s class 6) and Sara Head and Jane Campbell (women’s class 1-3) are also still in with a chance of a medal in their round robin format events.

Will Bayley action 4 2014Bayley and Karabardak had to wait for more than an hour to play their match against Israel but eventually got underway with Karabardak against Samuel Shur. The Swansea player had shown great resolution in beating Masachika Inoue from Japan yesterday and once again he held his nerve to beat Shur 11-2 in the fifth after the Israeli had levelled at 2-2. Bayley then beat Daniel Bobrov 3-0 and combined with Karabardak to win the doubles 3-0 and complete a 3-0 win for GB.

“Shur and Bobrov are tough players and are both big fighters,” said Sheffield based Bayley. “They fight for every single point so it is not easy to play them. Shur with his style is very hard so it was a great win for Paul. I’m playing really well and we played good in the doubles but we’ll see. Tomorrow is going to be a real challenge – we will probably play China in the semi-finals and I can’t wait to play them.”

Karabardak was pleased to come through his second five set match against a difficult opponent.

“I think it is tough because I always used to beat him (Shur) when I was younger,” he said, “but he’s won the last four times so I just tried to stay relaxed because I know I can beat him. I just tried to relax, play my game and not get frustrated. It is good because I lost to the Japanese player last time I played him in San Diego when I was playing really well so it must mean I’m playing quite well because I beat him here.”

Rob Davies and Paul Davies came from 0-1 down to win their first match of the day against a combined Argentina/Russia team 3-1, Paul Davies fighting as hard as ever in a 2-3 loss to the Argentinian Fernando Eberhardt. Rob Davies then beat the Russian Dmitry Lavrov 3-0 and the Welsh duo won the doubles 3-0 before Rob Davies showed some of his best form in beating Eberhardt 3-0.

In their second and final group match Davies and Davies took on GB Pathway Squad member and fellow Welshman Thomas Matthews and his Slovakian partner Martin Barbierik. Paul Davies used all his experience to beat Matthews 3-0 and after Rob Davies had beaten Barbierik 3-0 the European champions won the doubles 3-0 to progress through to the semi-finals.

“I wasn’t playing my best against Eberhardt,” said Paul Davies. “It’s been a long couple of days but no excuses – he played better than me. Hopefully we will have two big matches tomorrow that we really could do with winning. We’ll give it our all tomorrow.”

“I’m pleased with how I’ve bounced back,” said Rob Davies, who was disappointed to lose to Frenchman Jean-Francois Ducay in the singles yesterday. “I played a lot better in my singles today which is what I wanted to do. Really happy with the way I played today and just need to keep it going tomorrow.”

Matthews and Barbierik had earlier lost 3-0 to Brazil, Matthews losing a close match to Bruno De Paulo 7-11 in the fifth having fought back to win the fourth 14-12. The former mountain bike rider from Aberdare is clearly benefiting from the experience of another factor 40 tournament.

“I’m working on my emotions,” he said. “Before when I was playing I was getting worked up every point and losing six or seven points just from being worked up. I’ve learnt to work on that today so I’m quite happy. Obviously in very close matches experienced players come through but I’m coming along quite well.”

Aaron McKibbin action 7 2014Sheffield based Londoner Aaron McKibbin and Marc Ledoux lost their first group match to Sweden 3-1 but progressed to a quarter final against Brazil with a 3-0 win against Japan. McKibbin showed great character to come back from 2-1 down against the Brazilian number one Israel Stroh to win the first singles 11-9 in the fifth and after Ledoux had beaten Paulo Salmin the GB/Belgian duo recovered from losing the first set to win the doubles 3-1 and secure their place in the semi-finals.

Although he did not progress to the knockout stages in men’s class 9 with his Brazilian partner Erik Higa one of the highlights for the GB team was provided by Ashley Facey Thompson, who enjoyed the best win of his career against Juan Bautista Perez from Spain. The London teenager came back from 2-0 down and 0-4 in the final set to beat the world number six 11-6 in the fifth to level the match against Spain/Hungary at 1-1 after Higa had lost to world number nine Dezso Bereczki from Hungary. Facey Thompson produced another determined performance against Bereczki, holding match points but just losing out to the experienced Hungarian 11-13 in the fifth.

Ashley Facey Thompson action 2014 (2)“That was the best win of my career – not just because of who he (Perez) is but because of the way I played,” said the Sheffield based 19 year old, who also had a very good win earlier in the day against the Polish number one Pawel Konstantyn, recovering from the loss of two match points in the fourth set to win 11-5 in the fifth. “I still believed in myself even at 2-0 down which is a different Ashley for me because before if I was 2-0 down my head would probably have dropped. But this time I pulled myself up and played my table tennis and I’m really happy with my performance.”

In the round robin women’s 1-3 class team event Jane Campbell and Sara Head began the day with a 3-0 win against a combined Italy/Brazilian team and were then involved in a great battle with Italy, the team they beat to win bronze medal in London 2012. After Campbell lost 9-11 in the fifth to Michela Brunelli, Head levelled the match with a win against Federica Cudia 11-9 in the fifth. The Italians took the doubles 3-1 and the match 3-1 when Head lost another tight match with Brunelli 9-11 in the fifth.

The men’s class 6 team event is also being played in a round robin format and David Wetherill with Swiss partner Valentin Kneuss recorded their second win from two matches with a 3-0 win over Argentina/USA.

Detailed results are available from http://www.ipttc.org/upload/results/files/

Follow the GB Para Table Tennis Team on Twitter @gbparatt

GB makes good start in Team event at Slovakia Open

The GB team made a good start to the team event at the Slovakia Open today with three wins in the first round of group matches.

Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak bounced back from their disappointment at losing in the quarter finals of the singles earlier today to win their first match in the class 7 team event 3-0 against Japan. Bayley began with a 3-0 win over Susumu Miyawaki before Karabardak showed great resolve to win his tie against Masachika Inoue 3-2 after Inoue had come back from 0-2 to level the tie at 2-2. Bayley and Karabardak then took the doubles 3-1.

In the men’s class 1 team event European champions Rob Davies and Paul Davies also had the perfect start with a 3-0 win against Brazil, although Paul Davies had to recover from losing the first set against the Brazilian number one Aloisio Lima before winning the first singles tie 3-1. Rob Davies beat Bruno De Paulo 3-0 and the Welsh pair then won the doubles 3-0.

GB Pathway Squad member Thomas Matthews, playing with the Slovakian Martin Barbierik, came back from 0-2 down in the second singles tie against the Russian Dmitry Lavrov to hold match points but could not convert them and lost 12-10 in the fifth. He then combined with Barbierik to win the doubles 3-1 before losing 3-0 to the experienced Fernando Eberhardt from Argentina, who had earlier defeated Barbierik in the first singles tie, to give a win for Argentina/Russia over GB/Slovakia 3-1.

In men’s class 6 David Wetherill won his first singles against Alexander Nagy 3-0 to give the GB/Swiss combination a 1-0 lead against the Ukraine. Valentin Kneuss then defeated Gabriel Csemy 3-2 and combined with Wetherill in the doubles to defeat the Ukrainian pair 3-2 and win the match 3-0.

Ashley Facey Thompson and Brazilian partner Erik Higa lost their first match 3-0 to the Ukraine.

Detailed results can be found at http://www.ipttc.org/upload/results/files/

GB wins four medals in singles events at Slovakian Open

GB singles medalists Slovakia 2014The GB team picked up four medals in the singles events at the Slovakian Open today with Paul Davies (class 1) and Jack Hunter-Spivey (class 5) taking silver and Rob Davies (class 1) and David Wetherill (class 6) finishing with bronze medals.

On a day of major upsets there was disappointment for Will Bayley, who went out in the quarter finals to a very good Chinese opponent.

Paul Davies action 4 2014Paul Davies came up against a determined Jean-Francois Ducay in the final of the men’s class 1 event and after losing the first two sets he came back to win the third 11-4. However, the London 2012 silver medalist has been in great form here and although Davies saved three match points the Frenchman clinched the gold 11-8 in the fourth.

“I only had five minutes to prepare for the final but that wasn’t the reason I lost,” said Davies, from North Cornelly. “He was definitely the better player on the day. My tactics were correct but I just wasn’t giving the ball enough today. Fair play to him he deserved to win. I never thought I’d get to the final here to be honest – everyone is here except Holger (Nikelis) and I’ve got to say thank you to my coach Neil Robinson – he knows me inside out and knows when to push me. I’ve been beaten by a better player on the day but next time.”

Earlier in the day Davies had a comfortable 3-0 win in his quarter final against the very experienced Matti Launonen from Finland and then faced the world number four from Korea, Chang Ho Lee, in a repeat of the bronze medal match from London 2012 that Davies won in five sets. Once again the match went the distance and Davies showed all his skill and fighting qualities to win the fifth set 11-8 and the match 3-2.

“I’m chuffed to bits,” said Davies. “I was a bit nervous about it and was behind at one stage but the tiger got me out in the end. It was a really tough game – he is above me in the rankings so to take his scalp has done my ranking good.”

Jack Hunter-Spivey action 3 2014Playing in his first final in a factor 40 tournament teenager Jack Hunter-Spivey was up against the world number two Ningning Cao, having played him in the group stages yesterday. Once again the Chinese player had too much experience and skill for the 19 year old from Liverpool, winning 3-0, but Hunter-Spivey competed well and can be very proud of his performance here.

“Being in a final of a factor 40 is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a young lad,” said Hunter-Spivey, “and I think I competed really well with him and had a chance to take a set off him. This is a massive boost especially with the World Championships coming up – I’ve beaten four or five players who are going to the Worlds so I’m in with a chance and as long as I play my best table tennis I can achieve whatever I want.”

In his semi-final Hunter-Spivey showed great character and determination to come back from 1-2 down against the world number three from Serbia Mitar Palikuca. The 19 year old from Liverpool, who beat Palikuca in Slovenia last week, was 3-6 down in the fourth but recovered to win the set 11-9 and won the match 11-6 in the fifth.

“I’ve beaten him the last four times I’ve played him,” said Hunter-Spivey, “and psychologically that helped me massively and I think it is in his head now as well. I had to battle and was 2-1 down and I think I showed good character by coming back and winning. To be fair to him he played really well but on the day I was a little bit better so it’s a good win for me.”

Hunter-Spivey had progressed to the semi-finals without hitting a ball as his quarter final opponent Tommy Urhaug from Norway withdrew due to injury. The world number one and Paralympic champion is hoping to recover in time to partner Hunter-Spivey in the team competition that starts this evening.

Rob Davies action 3 2014In his quarter final Rob Davies came back from 1-2 down to beat Andrea Borgato from Italy who was defending his title here. The Welshman looked in trouble at 0-4 down in the fifth but held his nerve to take the set 11-8 and the match 3-2. In the semi-final he faced old rival Jean-Francois Ducay and could never really get into the match, losing 0-3 to the Frenchman who was on top form.

“I’ve got to use this as a positive and move on,” said a disappointed Davies. “We’ve got the team event coming up and I’ll try to pick my game up a bit – get in the practice hall and work on it. He (Ducay) had good tactics and I wasn’t really at the races against him today. That’s what happens in sport so I’ve got to move on, put it behind me and work on getting gold in the team event.”

David Wetherill action 7 2014Torpoint’s David Wetherill began with a 3-1 win in his quarter-final against Raimondo Alecci of Italy, recovering well after losing an 8-4 advantage in the second set to his tricky opponent which levelled the match at 1-1. He started well in his semi-final against Alberto Seoane but the Spaniard is a tough competitor and came back to win the match 12-10 in the fourth.

“It was a difficult match,” said Wetherill. “I never really found my groove even though I won the first set. I didn’t feel comfortable – I never really settled and just tried to battle for each point. I was a bit too negative on my backhand and missed too many forehands.”

Paralympic silver medalist Will Bayley never recovered from a slow start in his quarter final against the very talented Keli Liao from China and although he fought back to take the third set and had chances in the fourth he went down 9-11 in the fourth.

“I didn’t play my best but he played great,” said Bayley. “I didn’t start well at all – I struggled with the service in the first two sets – and when you are 2-0 down to someone who can play like that it is difficult. I knew if I took that fourth end it could have been a different story but he played really well and he deserved to win today. It was a tough game but I’ve got to bounce back and now I’m ready to play him in the World Championships for sure.”

Swansea’s Paul Karabardak won a great first set 16-14 against Maksym Nikolenko in his men’s class 7 quarter final and had chances to win the second and third but the world number one from the Ukraine was just too strong and took the match 3-1.

Bayley and Karabardak now focus on the team competition in which they play a match against Japan this evening.

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