Primary Schools Table Tennis International in Largs - by Malcolm Lewis
The Isle of Man joined teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey and Jersey at this event in Scotland. The Manx team comprising Ben Christian, Sam Callister, Ollie Cain and George Melvin arrived on Thursday evening and were able to get used to local playing conditions before the team event started on Friday evening and continued on Saturday.
Friday’s opening games were challenging ones against England and the eventual winners of the team event, Ireland. Despite these tough openers the team played really well and soon adjusted to the quicker pace and spin of their opponents. Ben Christian pushed the England number 2 to a five set match, just losing in the fifth end.
The team's closest match was against Wales where the match score was 4-4 going into the last two games. Ben, Ollie and debutant George Melvin all picked up wins but could not take one of the final matches for a draw. The other games were close with Sam Callister, playing at No.2 this year, just missing out on his first win.
Sunday saw the individual tournament with Sam, Ollie and George finishing fourth in their groups to go through to the plate competition. Ben had two great wins in his group and finished as runner up to qualify for the main draw. He unfortunately lost is his last 16 match 3-1 to one of Scotland’s best players.
Although Sam and George lost their first round plate matches Ollie progressed to the final with two five set wins against Guernsey opposition in the quarter-final and semi-final. Despite playing very well in the final his Irish opponent proved too strong for Ollie, who brought home a Silver Medal for his efforts.
The coaches Ewan Watterson and Malc Lewis would like to thank the team for their great efforts and hard work over the three days and the parents and relatives for their support over the weekend for the team and coaches. Finally a special thank you to Ben’s younger brother Jack who as ‘Head of Transport’ ensured all the team were able to travel into Largs to sample the famous Italian Ice Cream.