Natwest Island Games Summary

WE’RE LOOKING FOR OUR NEXT CHAMPION, COULD IT BE YOU?

Macro Metal Services Ltd very kindly sponsored the kit for the Isle of Man Table Tennis team which recently competed in the Natwest Island Games in Jersey. The five person squad was accompanied by Maggie Mulhern, chair of the IoMTTA, and our retained coach Jason Sugrue who is based at the English Table Tennis Association High Performance Centre in Hastings, East Sussex.

In the Team event our squad finished in 8th position after beating Alderney 6-1 and Cayman Isles 5-2. Having lost 0-7, 0-7, 1-6 and 0-4 to Gotland, Jersey, Aland and the Faroe Islands respectively they competed in the position 7/8 play-off. They narrowly lost that match 3-4 to Menorca. Becky Bayley, who won the IOM Ladies championship several times before going off to study at Edge Hill University, was our most successful player. She won her match and partnered Sean Drewry, our senior and junior top 12 title champion, to win the mixed doubles. Their final point came by default as Menorca could not field a women’s doubles team.

In the Singles event Becky reached the quarter-finals and did so again in the doubles with the current IoM Ladies Champion Jane Kneale who sustained an arm injury so they had to concede at that stage.

This was after the singles event in which Becky won her two group matches 3-0 and 3-1 against competitors from Guernsey and the Faroe Islands respectively. Becky then beat Elin Schwartz from Gotland 11/6, 11/4, 11/6 to reach the quarter-finals where she run out of steam in the final set losing 13/11, 7/11, 12/10, 7/11, 2/11 against Evelina Carlsson also representing Gotland.

Jane found herself herself in a particularly strong group in the Singles event. It included Dawn Morgan from Guernsey who later went on to win a gold medal in the Doubles. Jane lost in straight sets against Morgan, and then 1-3 to Lina Olofsson from Gotland who gained a silver medal in the Team event as well as a bronze in the Mixed Doubles. Jane’s final group match was against Sikersok Gartner from Greenland who narrowly defeated her 7/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/13, 8/11.

As a result of Jane’s injury we could only field one team in the Mixed Doubles event where Becky and Sean successfully linked-up again to top their group. They beat the Faroe Islands in four sets and the Shetland Isles in straight sets, but were edged out of reaching the quarter-finals by a team from Guernsey who lost that match to Aland who went on to win the gold medal.

The Men’s team comprised Hadyn McLarney, Paul Corran and Sean Drewry. McLarney who is the current U’18 Singles champion lost all his group matches but had a titanic tussle with Joshua Band from the host nation, Jersey. Their first two sets were decided by tie-breakers but the local crowd got behind their man and that vocal support carried Band through 13/11, 13/11, 11/3.

Paul Corran was our most experienced player and he finished third in his group after defeating high ranking Peter Smith form the Cayman Islands 8/11, 11/8, 11/3, 11/8. Corran’s group winner, Bjorn Axelsson from Gotland went on to claim bronze.

Sean Drewry was placed third in his group having beaten Scott Smith from the Shetland Isles 11/6, 11/5, 11/6 but having lost his remaining two matches in straight sets Drewry did not progress any further in this competition.

However, McLarney and Corran, who are the reigning IoM Men’s Doubles champions, had high hopes in the doubles competition. They blasted out the Shetland Isles but were scuppered in straight sets by Gotland and lost a heart-breaker 14/16 in the fourth set against the host nation, and that concluded their campaign.

At the end of the Island Games Jason Sugrue gave each player in the squad valuable feedback on their performance and pointers on how they can improve and what they need to concentrate on. No doubt they will each be busy practicing during the close season and you can join them!

OPEN PRACTICE SESSIONS

The Secondary Hall at the NSC has been block booked each Wednesday from 7pm until 9pm from now to the start of the season in September. Contact Maggie Mulhern on 801795/411045 for details.

These practice sessions are open to all and it will only cost you £3 per session.  If you’d like to give table tennis a try, or would like to see if you’ve retained any of your old skills, come along and join us. You’ll receive a warm welcome and we’ll even provide a bat and a partner if you need one.

MALCOLM LAMBERT
Author: via Isle Of Man Table Tennis Association
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