BTTAD Ormesby Para Open Grand Prix 11th July 2015

The British Table Tennis Association for People with Disabilities are presenting
another Grand Prix tournament in the North East of England at the Ormesby Table Tennis Club on  Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough on Saturday, 11th July 2015.

The competition named as the “Ormesby Para Open Championship” has attracted a strong field with several members of the British Paralympic squad participating.

The championship includes events for athletes who play using a wheelchair and some David Wetherill Slovenia 2014 1of the standing classes.  One of the best known players, David Wetherill, a member of the current World Class Performance squad will feature in Class 6.  Aarron Mckibbin,
another squad member is in Class 8, while the third member of the British squad, Ashley Facey, is the leading player in Class 9.

Also featuring are up and coming squad members Billy Shilton class 7 with Martin Perry Class 6 who were recent Gold medallists at the Romanian International Para Open.Billy Shilton Germany 2015

In addition to participants from all parts of Britain, there is a large local entry from the Disability group at the Ormesby Club who are particularly strong in the wheelchair

Play starts at 9.00 am on Saturday with the finals scheduled for late
afternoon.  Spectators and supporters are welcome.

Dave Cochrane

BTTAD Competitions

GB players win eight medals in Romania

A young GB squad has won eight medals at the Romania Open in Cluj Napoca including two gold medals for David Wetherill, a first gold medal for 21 year old Martin Perry and first international medals for 20 year old Lucie Bouron and 22 year old Lee Wilkinson on his international debut.

David Wetherill Slovenia 2014 1Wetherill came through his group in the men’s class 6 singles without dropping a set and was equally impressive in beating the American Ari Arratia in the quarter-finals and Jaun Carlos Sepulvedo Parva from Chile in the semi-finals. The 25 year old from Plymouth went on to take the gold with a 3-0 win in the final against another Chilean Matias Pino Lorca.

“I did what I needed to do,” said Wetherill, “and I’m really pleased to win the tournament.  I feel like I’ve got a good mental strategy now.”

Wetherill and Perry started their men’s class 6 round-robin team event with a 3-1 win over Chile and they clinched gold with 3-0 wins over a Greek/Costa Rican combination and a team from Montenegro and Serbia.

“It’s good to see the young players doing well here,” said Wetherill, “and great to win gold with Martin – I know how much it means to him.”

Martin Perry France 4Perry was understandably delighted with his first gold.

“I think I’ve had better performances,” said the Paisley player, “but I had a real good fighting spirit. I was 2-0 down and match point down and I dug deep and came back to win one of the crucial matches 3-2 which I think showed my character. It is fantastic to win my first gold and to win it alongside someone with Dave’s experience – hopefully we can win more in the future.”

In the women’s class 3 singles Bouron reached the semi-finals with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Ai Chu Wang from Chinese Taipei. She was not disgraced in a 3-0 loss to world number five Alena Kanova from Slovakia and took the bronze medal.

In the team event women’s classes 2-5 were combined and Bouron and her Serbian partner Ana Prvulovic finished second in their group with a 3-0 win over Montenegro and a narrow 3-2 loss to Chinese Taipei. Their reward was a semi-final against Kanova and women’s class 3 world number one Anna-Carin Ahlquist from Sweden and although their combined experience understandably proved too much for the GB/Serbia combination Bouron picked up a second bronze medal.

“I think I played pretty well,” said Bouron, from Bracknell. “I was starting to play more to my style and play my game a bit more. It is such an honour to play Anna-Carin – she is such a great player. I’ve played her four times now and I improved so much when I played her in the team competition here.  I’m really happy to win my first international medals.”

In men’s class 4-5 team 17 year old Daniel Bullen and 19 year old Nicko Anderson recovered from a 3-0 loss to Romania to beat the second team from Chinese Taipei 3-2 and reach the quarter-finals.  A 3-0 win over Chile took them through to a semi-final against Poland but they had to settle for bronze after a 3-0 loss.

“I didn’t play so well in the singles,” said Bullen, “so I was pleased to bounce back in the team event and play well. It is great to have another medal.”

Earlier in the tournament Anderson, from Northolt, had taken silver in the round-robin format men’s class 5 singles with wins over Bullen and the American Eric Pattinson.

“I’m very pleased with my performance,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did and it was all the preparation I put in that helped me to play to a high level. Daniel is a good team partner and helped me a lot.”

Bayreuth Open 2015  Internationales Tischtennis WeltranglistentuSwansea pair Lawrence John, 16, and Josh Morgan, 25, finished second in their group in men’s class 9-10 after wins against Romania and Chile/Serbia. They found the American/Israeli combination of Tahl Leibovitz and Aviv Gordon too strong in the semi-final but took the bronze medal.

“I think I played well,” said John, “particularly in the team event and it was nice to win a medal with Josh.”

The men’s class 7 team event was also played in a round-robin format and 22 year old international debutant Lee Wilkinson, from Evesham, and his Israeli partner Boaz Tabib took the bronze after wins over Norway/Montenegro and the second Romanian team.

Posted in GB

Romania next for young GB squad

David Wetherill Slovenia 2014 2GB Para Table Tennis Performance Squad member David Wetherill heads a team of young GB players competing in the Romania Open in Cluj Napoca this week (June 25-27) against a strong field which includes a large team from Chinese Taipei.

The 25 year old class 6 player from Plymouth will be joined by GB Pathway athletes Nicko Anderson, 19, from Northolt (class 5); Lucie Bouron, 20, from Bracknell (class 3); Daniel Bullen, 17, from St Neots (class 5), Lawrence John, 16, from Swansea (class 10) and Martin Perry, 21, from Paisley (class 6) as well as Development athletes Craig Allen, 20, the class 9 National champion from Bromsgrove, Josh Morgan, 25, from Swansea (class 10) and making his international debut Lee Wilkinson, 22, from Evesham (class 7).

GB players win four medals in Spain

GB players picked up four medals at the Para Table Tennis Spanish Open in El Prat de Llobregat with Rajan Waterman and Nathan Thomas taking silver and bronze respectively in the men’s class 10 singles and then combining to win silver in the men’s class 10 team event while 17 year old Daniel Bullen took bronze in the men’s class 5 singles.

Waterman, the class 10 National champion from Bristol, fought back from 2-0 down in his singles final against Krisztian Gardos to level at 2-2 but had to settle for silver after the Austrian took the deciding set 11-4. Waterman and Thomas, from Cardiff, earned their team silver medal with wins over fellow GB player Craig Allen and his Portugese partner Decio Dinis Da Silva, Chile and a Spanish/Chilean combination but lost out on the gold after a 3-1 loss to Gardos and the Russian Ivan Karpov.

Daniel Bullen Nat Champs 2015 2GB Pathway player Bullen, from St Neots, registered wins over the American Eric Pattison and the Spaniard Jorge Benavente in his round-robin singles to win his first international medal.

“It has been a good tournament for me,” said Bullen. “It’s probably been the best I’ve played – I’ve had some good wins and continued to improve as the tournament went on, especially against the number two seed from Spain. After losing to him comfortably 3-0 I played him the next day and was much stronger and more focused in losing in four close sets. I’m now looking forward to Romania next week.”

Young GB Team looking for Spanish gold

Martin Perry Slovakia 2015 2The GB Para Table Tennis Team is sending a team of Pathway and Development players to the Spanish Open in El Prat de Llobregat this week (June 18-21).

Paisley’s Martin Perry, silver medalist in the men’s class 6 singles at the Cote d’Azur International last year, is one of three Pathway players competing in Spain and will be joined by fellow Scot Conor McAdam (class 6), Daniel Bullen from St Neots (class 5) and Development athlete Craig Allen from Birmingham (class 9). The team is completed by two self-funded players – National champion Rajan Waterman from Bristol (class 10) and Nathan Thomas from Cardiff (class 10).

Bayley returns to World number one

DSC_0868World champion Will Bayley has regained the men’s class 7 World number one position in the ITTF Para Table Tennis rankings, overtaking Maksym Nikolenko from Ukraine who he beat to win the World title in China last year.

The 27 year old from Tunbridge Wells who trains full time with the GB Team at the EIS in Sheffield is now preparing for the European Championships in Denmark in October where he is hoping to regain the title he won in 2011.

“It’s been two years since I’ve been World number one,” said Bayley, “so it’s nice to be there again although my main focus is winning medals at major championships. But being world number one definitely gives me more belief and will push me on even more for Rio next year.”

Posted in GB

Davies and Matthews win team gold in Germany

20150530_183843Rob Davies and Thomas Matthews won gold today in the men’s class 1 team event at the Bayreuth Open in Germany and the GB team also took silver with Will Bayley and Billy Shilton in men’s class 7 and bronze with Ashley Facey Thompson and Aaron McKibbin in men’s class 9 and Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton in women’s class 4.

The men’s class 1 team event was played in a round-robin format and with both GB and Korea/Switzerland unbeaten after three wins from three matches their final match would decide the gold medal. Korea/Switzerland struck the first blow with a 3-0 win for Ki-Won Nam over Matthews. Davies then levelled the tie for GB by beating Silvio Keller 3-0 and the Welsh pair then combined really well to win the doubles 3-0.

Davies had lost to Nam in the final of the singles on Thursday and once again the attacking play of the Korean proved decisive in a 3-1 win to leave Matthews needing to beat Keller to secure the gold. He did so brilliantly, winning the first set 11-4, taking a tense second set 15-13 and then holding his nerve to win the third 11-9, the match 3-0 and the gold for GB 3-2.

Tom Matthews France 1“I just gathered my thoughts and tried to play my table tennis and luckily I got the win,” said Matthews. “Winning the doubles with Rob gave me confidence to go and play my next match. He is a great team partner – he was talking to me and saying there is no pressure on me and to just carry on going. I nearly cried at the end to be honest – it was just thanks to Rob for helping me through and keeping me calm. I’ve never beaten Silvio before so it is a great win for me. To get two medals at a factor 40 – I’m over the moon.”

Although happy to win gold Davies was disappointed to lose for the second time to Nam.

Bayreuth Open 2015  Internationales Tischtennis Weltranglistentu“Fair play to him he’s played well all tournament,” he said. “He hasn’t lost a game and he was the better person on the day. I’ve got some things to work on and I’ll come back from it. We both worked as a team and came away with the gold so we’ve got to keep working as a team. The doubles worked really well today and we’ve got Paul Davies coming back which I’m really excited about so hopefully the three of us will lift each other’s levels.”

Bayley and Shilton reached the final with a superb win in the semi-final against China. Bayley gave them the perfect start with an impressive 3-0 win against Keli Liao and Shilton played well in defeat against Shuo Yan, taking the second set against the Chinese player. The GB pair won only four points in the first set of the doubles but came back strongly to take the second and after winning a close third 15-13 they took the fourth set 11-3 for a 3-1 win.

In the first of the reverse singles Bayley was looking to avenge his defeat by Yan in the singles competition but the new class 7 Chinese player has quick hands and hits the ball with great power and although Bayley had his chances and fought back from 2-0 down to win the third set Yan took the fourth to win the match 3-1.

That left Shilton to play the deciding singles against Liao and when the world number six took the first set 11-3 it looked as if his experience would prove too much for Shilton. But the young GB player is an exciting talent and he came back from 10-8 down to win the second 12-10 and then took the third 11-3. Liao levelled the match at 2-2 but in the final set it was Shilton who proved the stronger and he deserved the net-cord at 10-8 that gave him the match and took GB into the final against Ukraine.

Shilton started well against Maksym Nikolenko and had chances to win both the first and third sets but the World number one took the match 3-0. Bayley was 2-0 up against Mykhaylo Popov but the European champion came back to level at 2-2 and the 27 year old from Tunbridge Wells had to dig deep to take the fifth set 11-8 and the match 3-2. Doubles is so often decisive in team events and the GB pair is still a new partnership which just gave the edge to Ukraine in a five set win. Bayley then played another great match to beat Nikolenko 11-7 in the fifth which meant that the gold medal rested on the final match between Shilton and Popov. Although he tried hard the 16 year old could not quite repeat his heroics of the semi-final and the experience of the World number three was decisive in a 3-0 win to take the gold for Ukraine.

Bayreuth Open 2015  Internationales Tischtennis Weltranglistentu“China was a massive match,” admitted Bayley. “I didn’t feel I was in my best form but we managed to come through as a team. We played really well in the doubles and for Billy to win that key match was an amazing win. I don’t think we’ve beaten China for a long time so I’m pleased with that.

“I don’t think I’ve ever beaten both Popov and Nikolenko in a team event before so I always think it is going to be difficult against Ukraine but I had a bit of extra motivation today having overcome China. Overall I think we can be very happy with our progress in two tournaments – we’re already very close to being the best team in the world. We had massive chances against Ukraine today and we’ve beaten every other top country so we’ve got huge potential and I’m really pleased to have Billy as a teammate.”

Billy Shilton Germany 2015“At 2-2 in the final set against Liao I was very nervous,” said Shilton, “but I knew I had a good chance as I’d taken him to five sets in the singles and if I played my best table tennis I could win and luckily I did. I’ve learnt a lot from playing against China because we don’t see them very often and to play so well and win the doubles was really good. Against Nikolenko I was leading him in two sets and if I had taken those it could have been a bit different and we were really close to winning the doubles so I think we will have a good chance against them next time we play.”

Ashley Facey Thompson and Aaron McKibbin also faced China in the semi-final of the men’s class 9 team event and they put up a very promising performance against the team of Lin Ma, the Paralympic and World Champion and World number one, and Yi Qing Zhao, the World number eight and bronze medalist from last year’s World Championships.

In the opening singles McKibbin played well against Ma in an 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 loss and Facey Thompson also had his chances against Zhao and lost 14-12 in the third. In the doubles the young GB pair played superbly, holding their nerve after losing a very tight fourth set 13-15 and taking the fifth 11-6 and the match 3-2. The performance clearly inspired Facey Thompson who played really well in his singles against Ma, taking the third set 11-4 and pushing the World number one all the way in a 1-3 loss. So China took the tie 3-1 and went through to the final but the GB pair took a well-deserved bronze medal.

Ashley Facey Thompson action 2014 (2)“I’m proud of the doubles win with Aaron,” said Facey Thompson. “We found out the things that worked and won us points and it gave me confidence going into the singles against Ma. Just because he is the number one in the world it doesn’t mean I can’t believe I can beat him. I took a set and next time you never know. The Chinese style of play and level is high but it is not as high as you think it is going to be and you just need to believe and focus on yourself. I’m happy to win another medal and I’ll go away and work on my return of serve, forehand and confidence.”

McKibbin was also proud of his performance in the team event.

Aaron McKibbin 2“I’m really happy,” he said. “My singles match was very close – 9 and two deuces – I feel that if I hadn’t made a few silly mistakes I could have taken a few sets and really pushed it so I’m happy with how it went. Our doubles performance was really good – we’ve got better with each match and to beat Holland yesterday was also a good win so it’s definitely a positive. Confidence wise it is great to beat China in the doubles because that proves to us that we are not too far away – they are definitely two of the best players in the world and we really matched them toe-to-toe. It’s always nice to come away with a medal and this is my third with Ash this season. This is one of the strongest competitions of the year and almost like a Paralympics – there are only a couple of nations missing – so definitely a positive to take into the training hall and work towards the Europeans.”

In the round-robin women’s class 4 team event Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton were disappointed to lose 3-1 to Germany in the morning but they played with great credit in their final match against World champions China. After Shackleton had taken a set off double Paralympic champion Ying Zhou, Gilroy led World champion Miao Zhang 2-0 but the Chinese player came back to win the next three for a 3-2 win. The GB pair had chances in the first two sets of the doubles but the combined experience of Zhou and Zhang clinched the match 3-0 and the tie 3-0. So China took the gold but Gilroy and Shackleton picked up the bronze after earlier wins against India and South Africa.

Sue Gilroy Germany 2015“I’m bitterly disappointed with the day really,” said Gilroy. “I didn’t play well against Germany and then played so well against Zhang but just threw it away. I have this thing when I get in front I then start counting the points although I try not to do it. I try not to alter my game but obviously I am doing. That is the closest I’ve been to Zhang but I’m so gutted that I couldn’t convert from 2-0 up.”

Bayreuth Open 2015  Internationales Tischtennis Weltranglistentu“I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from the match against China,” said Shackleton, “and I didn’t let my nerves get the better of me. I upped my game to compete with them and I feel I did put them under pressure and hopefully soon I’ll be winning those games. I think me and Sue are really strong in doubles because we always work together and we don’t give up so I think we will start winning our doubles soon.”

GB Team guaranteed team medals in Germany

The GB team is guaranteed at least three medals in the team events at the Bayreuth Open in Germany which concludes tomorrow.

In men’s class 7 Will Bayley and Billy Shilton topped their group with a 3-0 win against Sweden. After Bayley had beaten Nicklas Westerberg 3-0 Shilton had to fight hard to beat Michael Azulay but after dropping the first set he came through to win 3-1. The pair then combined to beat Westerberg and Azulay in the doubles 3-1.

Will Bayley action 7 2014Bayley and Shilton received a bye into tomorrow’s semi-finals where they will play China and Bayley is looking forward to the challenge.

“It will be a really good chance to play them again before Rio,” said the 27 year old World champion, who lost in the singles to the new Chinese class 7 player Shuo Yan. “I’m looking forward to having another crack at Yan and having beaten Spain and France in Slovenia this will be another exciting challenge for us to try and beat China.”

Ashley Facey Thompson and Aaron McKibbin had a tough first match against Ukraine in men’s class 9 and after McKibbin lost 3-0 to Vadym Kubov, Facey Thompson was beaten 3-0 by World number three Yuriy Shchepanskyy. The GB pair made a good start to the doubles but the experienced Ukrainian pair came back to win the match 3-1 and the tie 3-0.

That left Facey Thompson and McKibbin needing to beat Italy in their second group match to go through to the quarter-finals and when Facey Thompson won only two points in the first set against Samuel De Chiara it looked unlikely. However, the 20 year old Londoner fought back and took the match 3-1 and then after McKibbin lost to Mohamed Amine Kalem the GB pair took the doubles 12-10 in the fourth to move ahead 2-1. Kalem levelled the tie for Italy with a 3-1 win over Facey Thompson and it was then up to McKibbin to win the final singles against De Chiara. He also started slowly and was 10-3 down in the first set but recovered well to take the set 12-10 and the match 3-1.

Their reward was a quarter final against the experienced Netherlands team. In the first singles Facey Thompson took the opening set against Max Van Amerongen but the Dutchman came back strongly to win the next three and the match 3-1. McKibbin, a class 8 player, lost the first set against Ronald Vijverberg, a former World and European team gold medalist, but fought back superbly to win 3-1 and level the tie at 1-1. The young GB pair played really well in the doubles against Vijverberg and World number seven Gerben Last, a former Paralympic, World and European team gold medalist, but were narrowly edged out by the Dutch pair 11-6 in the fifth.

Facey Thompson started slowly against Vijverberg but then started to find his game and after taking a close second set 12-10 he took the next two for a 3-1 win. With all to play for it was left to McKibbin to try and win the tie for GB and after taking the first two sets he held his nerve in a tight third to win it 12-10 and the match 3-0 to earn the chance to play China in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Aaron McKibbin Lignano 2014“I’m really happy,” said McKibbin. “I feel that I’ve been struggling with my level here so I had a talk with my coach before the match and I was really looking to go out there and find my best form – to give my all and leave it on the table and see if my guts could pull me through and I think it did. I’m really happy to have got the two wins and for me and Ash to be in another semi-final is really nice.”

Facey Thompson was full of praise for his team partner. “Overall I think Aaron has a lot to say in the team matches and helps me through so I’ve got a lot to thank him for. We had our chances in the doubles and on another day it could have been ours. I’m happy with everything. It will be great to play China – they are probably the best team in the world so hopefully we can do well.”

Rob Davies and Tom Matthews had a busy day starting with a tie against Germany. Davies gave them the perfect start by beating the former Paralympic bronze medalist Walter Kilger 3-0 but after winning the first set against Marcus Sieger, Matthews lost his way and the German took the next three to win the match 3-1 and level the tie at 1-1. After the Welsh pair had won the doubles 3-1 Davies had to dig deep after losing the first set against Sieger but he fought back well to take the next three and win the match 3-1 and the tie 3-1 for GB.

Their second match against Slovakia was a little more comfortable for the GB pair with 3-0 wins for Davies over Marian Kamien and Matthews over Martin Polkorab and they then combined to win the doubles 3-0 to secure a 3-0 win in the tie.

Against Hungary in their final match of the day Matthews lost in three close sets to Endre Major and Davies then beat Janos Kaiser 3-0 to level at 1-1. The Welsh pair fought back from 2-0 down in the doubles to level at 2-2 but lost the deciding set to leave them needing to win both reverse singles to secure the win. Davies always looked in control in a 3-0 win over Major and it was then down to Matthews to win the deciding match against Kaiser which he did 3-0.

Men’s class 1 team is being played in a round-robin format and Davies and Matthews can take the gold if they win their final match tomorrow against a combined team from Korea and Switzerland.

After beating South Africa yesterday Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton played their second match in the women’s class 4 team competition against India and after Gilroy had beaten Sonalben Manubhai Patel 3-1 Shackleton faced Bhavina Hasmukh Bhai Patel, who had beaten her in the singles on Wednesday. To her credit the 16 year old showed great character to fight back from 2-0 down to take the match 11-5 in the fifth and put GB 2-0 up. Despite a 3-0 loss in the doubles Gilroy clinched the tie for GB with a 3-0 win over Bhavina Patel and the GB pair play their two remaining matches in the round-robin event against Germany and China tomorrow.

Jack Hunter-Spivey and his Turkish team partner Hamza Caliskan had a tough first match in men’s class 5 against China but after Hunter-Spivey had lost 3-0 to former class 4 Paralympic champion Yan Zhang and Caliskan had been beaten 3-0 by World number two Ningning Cao they put up a great battle in the doubles and were just edged out by Cao and Xingyuan Guo 13-11 in the fifth.

Their second match against a combined team from China and Chinese Taipei started badly when Hunter-Spivey lost 3-0 to Heng Cao from China but Caliskan levelled the tie with a 3-1 win against Wen-Hsin Lin and the GB/Turkish pair then combined to win a very exciting doubles match 13-11 in the fifth. Hunter-Spivey secured the tie with a 3-1 win over Lin to put his team through to a quarter-final against Germany 1.

He then gave his team a great start by beating Selcuk Cetin, a World team silver medalist in 2010, 3-1, but World champion Valentin Baus levelled the tie after beating Caliskan 3-1 and the German pair were always in control in a 3-0 win in the doubles. Hunter-Spivey had his chances against Baus and took the second set but the World number three was just too strong and took the match 3-1 and the tie for Germany 3-1.

Jack Hunter-Spivey 1“I can end the tournament on a bit of a high,” said the 20 year old. “I had a bad loss this morning so I had a word with myself and kicked on a little bit. Cetin is a good win for me and I had massive chances against Baus to take it close so I can end on a positive note. Playing the Chinese is a massive experience – they don’t come to many competitions (in Europe) so it was really good to have the opportunity to play against them.”

Jane Campbell and Sara Head had to take on the powerful Chinese team in their first match in women’s class 3 team and although both acquitted themselves well in their singles Campbell lost 3-0 to World champion Qian Li and Head was beaten 3-0 by World number three Juan Xue. The Chinese pair are World team champions and took the doubles 3-0 to complete a 3-0 win.

Campbell and Head then needed to beat France to go through to the semi-finals and Head began really well against Fanny Bertrand and was 2-1up but the Frenchwoman is an experienced and tough competitor and she came back to take the match 11-9 in the fifth. Campbell beat Fillou 11-9 in the fifth to level at 1-1 but when the French pair won the doubles GB needed to win both reverse singles. Head beat Fillou 3-1 but Campbell could not repeat her win over Bertrand earlier in the tournament and lost 3-0.

“I don’t think we realised how important the doubles was going to be today,” said Campbell, “but it was probably crucial in the end. I feel that there are little things I need to do a bit better – I need to do my angles a bit better and just play with a bit more belief. I need to make everything in my game a bit more solid – things just kept breaking down which shouldn’t have.”

“We haven’t practiced any doubles recently and that showed,” said Head. “They had a few lucky shots but that is the game. You learn from every tournament and that is what it is all about – learning new things and what you can take into your training and improve on. To have done so well and had some good wins is pleasing but now I know how much more I can do so fingers crossed I can build on what I’ve done here.”

In men’s class 10 Lawrence John and his partners Chun Ting Lin from Chinese Taipei and Fattoh Etche from the Ivory Coast lost 3-1 to a combined team from Mongolia and South Africa but John won his singles against Odbayar Khasbaatar from Mongolia 3-0.
A 3-1 loss to France put them out of the competition but John played really well in a 3-1 loss to the experienced Karim Boumedouha and in a 3-1 doubles loss with Lin and has relished the experience of playing in this tournament.

Lawrence John Nat Champs2015 2“I’m pretty happy with the way I played,” said the 16 year old from Swansea. “I made a few mistakes but I got better throughout the day and started to play more freely and wasn’t as nervous – I was just enjoying it really. I’ll keep training hard and just try and relax in these competitions. I think I can improve my footwork, fitness, power and shot selection – try not to go to big and make sure I get the ball on the table. It’s been a really good experience and I’ve really enjoyed it seeing all the best players play – it’s really motivational to try and chase them.”

Posted in GB

Good start to team competition for Bayley and Shilton

Will Bayley and Billy Shilton made a good start to their men’s class 7 team campaign at the Bayreuth Open in Germany today with a 3-0 win over a combined team from Germany and South Africa. After Shilton had won the first singles against Johan Du Plooy from South Africa 3-1, Bayley beat the German Jorg Schneider 3-0 and then combined with Shilton to win the doubles 3-0.

Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton also won their first match in the women’s class 4 team event against South Africa. Sue Gilroy beat Aletta Moll 3-0 and Megan Shackleton had a hard fought 3-2 win over Alisha Lea Almeida and the GB pair then won the doubles 3-0 to secure a 3-0 win.

In men’s class 10 Lawrence John and his team partners Chun Tin Lin from Chinese Taipei and Fattoh Etche from the Ivory Coast, lost their first group match to the strong Indonesian team of David Jacobs and Komet Akbar 3-0.

Posted in GB

Three medals for GB in Germany

20150528_125452The GB Para Table Tennis Team picked up three medals in the singles events at the Bayreuth Open in Germany today with Rob Davies taking silver in men’s class 1 and Tom Matthews (men’s class 1) and Sue Gilroy (women’s class 4) both taking bronze.

Davies defeated his Welsh teammate Matthews 3-1 in the semi-final which put him through to the final against Ki-Won Nam. The Korean had narrowly beaten him in Slovakia earlier this month and it was another close contest with Nam proving just the stronger and taking the match 12-10 in the fourth.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Davies. “I was looking forward to playing him and I just wanted to go out and perform the way I can and I didn’t to be honest. I’ve just spoken to Greg my coach and we’ll go back and work on a few things, get some confidence and come back and have another go at him. I’ve just got to come back stronger and this will really motivate me now to push myself even further and really work on some things in the training hall.”

Matthews had earlier recovered from losing the first set to beat Marian Kamien from Slovakia 3-1 in the quarter-finals to set up the all-Welsh semi-final against Davies.

“It was a new experience for me to play a teammate and not have a coach in the corner,” said the 22 year old from Aberdare. “I was surprisingly relaxed and concentrated well through the match so I’m happy with that. We had a bit of a laugh on the table and said sorry when things went wrong so it was a nice team atmosphere on the table. I’m much more pleased with the way I played today and I’m over the moon to get a singles medal in a factor 40 tournament for the first time.”

The two Welshmen will now combine forces for the team competition and have strong hopes for another medal.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Tom,” said Davies. “It’s our third tournament playing together and he’s playing really well so I’ve got to get my head up now and help him along and hopefully we’ll both play well.”

Sue Gilroy 1Gilroy beat Pi-Chun Lu, the World team silver medalist from Chinese Taipei 3-0 in their quarter-final to earn her place in the semi-final against World champion Miao Zhang in a repeat of their World Championship final last September. The Chinese player took the first two sets and although Gilroy fought back to take the third the World number two took the fourth 11-6 and the match 3-1.

“I played a lot better than yesterday and I can take lots of positives,” said Gilroy. “There are areas I’ve got to work on but I know exactly what I should be doing now. We play the Chinese so rarely and it is learning their game and how to master it – they are very strong attackers on the forehand – but I really enjoyed that game and feel very positive. It’s a very strong tournament so good to get a medal and we’ll have another go in the team event.”

Gilroy will be partnered in the team event by 16 year old Megan Shackleton and said: “It’s really good to have a team partner after so long without one and Megan is coming on so well that we could be a really good team.”

In women’s class 3 Jane Campbell and Sara Head both went out at the quarter-final stage, Campbell beaten 3-0 by Juan Xue, the World number three from China, and Head losing a close battle with Andela Muzinic, the World number four from Croatia in five sets.

“She’s a very good player to be fair,” said Campbell, who could never really get in a blow against the World silver medalist. “She is just a lot stronger and more positive in her game which is on another level for me to get to. I think overall I’m playing well – I just need to be more consistent and start faster. It just seems to be taking me a while to get going and I don’t know why as that’s not normally the case but here it seems to be going that way.”

Sara Head Nat Champs 2015Head was 1-2 down to Muzinic and battled back to level at 2-2 but the Croatian always had the edge in the final set to secure a 3-2 win.

“For me it is all about the fight,” said Head. “I try to go out and fight as hard as I can. Some days it works and some days it just doesn’t happen. I’m thrilled with the way I’m playing and I can keep building on it. We’re quite early on in the season and to lose to someone who is ranked four in the world and to be so close – I just need to keep focused and work hard in training.”

The pair can now focus on the team competition starting tomorrow and Campbell said: “Sara and I are both playing well so let’s hope we keep going that way.”

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