County Juniors Gain Promotion to Premier Division
The Warwickshire junior sides hugely anticipated final round of matches were held on Saturday 2nd April 2011 at Grantham Table Tennis Centre with the 'bears' looking to gain promotion to the Premier division of the County Championships and book their place amongst the countries elite for the 2011/12 season.
Having won 3/3 after the first round of fixtures back in October 2010, the bears were in prime position, but by no means was it a foregone conclusion with the fixture list setting up some mouth watering clashes including showdowns against both 2nd and 3rd placed Nottingham and Worcestershire respectively.
The team comprising of Mathew Outhwaite, Xiaoyang Ma, Laurence Sweeney, Charlotte Spencer and Holly Thompson, in partnership with Team Captain Ian Ferguson and Cadet team captain Adrian Pilgrim had trained for the event by holding a County practice session prior to the competition at Rugby Table Tennis Club as part of their preparations, in an effort to not only physically and technically prepare the side but also to once again reinforce the importance of team spirit and prepare them psychologically for what lied ahead. Team captain Ian Ferguson was not to be disappointed;
The bears opened their promotion push with what 'on paper' appeared to be an easy opening fixture versus Lancashire 1 who were sitting 3rd from bottom after the first weekend of clashes. The reality though was that this couldn't have been further from the truth.
Laurence Sweeney who is currently in the form of his life opened proceedings for Warwickshire with an emphatic display of both power and touch to record a straight sets victory over Alex Tyson and set the team on their way. Yet the bears were to be firmly brought back to reality with a bang as previously undefeated Xiayong Ma lost a tight 4 setter against the talented Michael Lunn for Lancashire to level the score at 1-1. Warwicks need not to have worried though as then both the boys and girls number 1's, Mathew Outhwaite and Charlotte Spencer were brought into action and neither disappointed with convincing victories over Callum Tollady and Danni Eden respectively. With the match now at 3-1 it was the turn for the newly promoted Holly Thompson to make her Warwickshire junior debut. Holly had stepped into the fold due to the unavailability of Sanika Karandiker and what could have been a daunting task appeared to simply inspire the youngster. Holly lost a tight battle with the much higher ranked Emily Ross in 4 sets, but her performance was outstanding never the less and captain Ian Ferguson knew that perhaps this was the start of a great junior career for Holly. Xiaoyong Ma then put his disappointment of losing his 100% record to one side to record a fantastic 3-0 victory over Alex Tyson and put the bears 4-2 in the match and then no sooner had she finished Holly was once again called upon to try and record her first ever victory for Warwickshire juniors. Holly played with no fear whatsoever to everyone's surprise and she gained a memorable 5 set victory over Danni Eden and in doing so had secured at least a point for the bears. Fittingly it was then left to Mathew Outhwaite to gain the victory needed to start the ball rolling for Warwickshire and once again Mathew didn't disappoint with an incredible straight sets victory over Michael Lunn, showing a maturity beyond his years combining his spin and guile to deadly effect. Laurence Sweeney having had to wait 7 games since his opener could have been forgiven for going off the boil somewhat but once again the talented youngster swept aside his opponent 3-0 looking as fresh as when he opened his account earlier in the morning. Warwickshire though were to be reminded once again that promotion wasn't going to be an easy task as another previous 100% record was to be broken as Charlotte Spencer lost a close 4 set game against Emily Ross to make the final score 7-3 in Warwickshire's favour.
Next in line for the bears was the highly anticipated tie against second placed Nottingham. With Nottingham fielding a weakened side, it was Warwickshire's to lose, but they weren't to be denied, running out convincing 8-2 winners, with maximums from all 3 boys and a single each for Charlotte and Holly. It appeared the fortune of fate was with the bears as 3rd placed Worcestershire lost a narrow 6-4 game themselves meaning that a win in the 3rd match of the day against Cheshire 1 would almost certainly guarantee promotion to the Premier division.
Xiao Ma, who had forgotten about his loss in the morning, continued to show the power and strength that has made him a formidable opponent at National level, set the tone with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Matthew McCormick after an incredible first leg which he took 19-17. Loz Sweeney then made it 5 wins from 5 for himself for the day, aided by a 3 sets victory from Charlotte and an incredible performance from Matt, winning 3, 2 and 4 against a baffled Chris Hatton put the bears in prime position at 4-0. Janay Gibson though had other ideas and was in outstanding form to beat both Holly and Charlotte , planting perhaps a small seed of doubt in the Warwickshire youngsters minds. This appeared to somewhat stifle the bears as both Xiao and Holly were then involved in perhaps the two most important games of the day. Xiao Ma faced Tom Hill and Holly's opponent Corrina Bebbington were quick to seize the opportunity that Janay had given Chesire. Both Xiao and Holly trailed 2-1 in games and it appeared that the promotion train was potentially derailing. With both Ian Ferguson and Adrian Pilgrim working hard with the players as their corner men, both Holly and Xiao upped their games and won pulsating 5 set matches to give Warwickshire the 6 games needed and secure the 3rd win of the day. Mathew Outhwaite then continued with his dream like form with another demolition of his opponent, this time coming through 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 against Matthew McCormick and the inspirational 'Loz' Sweeney saw the match home to condemn Chesire to an 8-2 defeat.
Warwickshire had all but secured promotion now having won 6 matches out of 6 throughout both weekends but were conscious of the fact they were yet to mathematically assure they finished as table toppers. With Worcestershires number 1 boy, Adam Nutland having to pull out of the final fixture against Warks due to an injury sustained earlier in the day, the bears could have been forgiven to taking their foot off the gas somewhat. Once again though both 'Fergie' and Adrian were rest assured that this wasn't to be the case as personal pride and a team spirt that was firmly secured shone through. All 3 boys secured maximum wins, with Loz Sweeney remaining undefeated on the day and Xiao having won 7 on the bounce after his initial disappointment in the morning. Mathew Outhwaite was put to the test arguably for the first time all day when he was taken to 5 sets by the highly rated Michael Siket. Mathew though was not to be denied his 100% recorded for the day and remained resolute during the final end, coming through 11-7. Charlotte Spencer also showed why she is the brightest prospect for Warwickshire women with 2 solid wins, which showed great character after a difficult day for her personally on the table. Holly Thompson appeared to be a little jaded following her incredible debut for the juniors and went down in both of her games, but she can take great pride in her performance both on the table and also the way in which she conducted herself throughout the day.
With an emphatic 8-2 victory under their belt, Warwickshire had secured promotion the the Premier division of the county championships for the 2011/12 season. Played 7, won 7, drawn 0, lost 0, makes for great reading, but score-lines sometimes don't paint the whole picture. The team spirit that was evident over both weekends was amazing, in particular as the players are so young and could be forgiven for putting personal performance first. This was never the case and the entire squad (including the talented Sanika Karandiker who also played an essential part in the first round of matches) were a credit to the county from start to finish. Their support for each other and the manner in which they conducted themselves was truly awe inspiring and each and every one of them should be extremely proud of themselves.
A great future lies ahead for Warwickshire Table Tennis!
Rugby TT club hosted an invite only Warwickshire Junior Squad training day on Saturday 26th February organised by Warwickshire junior Captain Ian Ferguson. Along with Ian, both Kate Hughes and Mike Browne were the coaches present to put the lads through their paces. The players present were Mathew Outhwaite, Xiao Ma, Loz Sweeney, Jack Williamson, Amitt Ubhi, Ryan Lines and Jesse Kendrick-hill. The main intention of the day was not only to help the players progress with the technical side of their game but to also show them the importance of general fitness along with team spirit, in the build up to the much anticipated final weekend County championships just over the horizon. Currently Warwickshire juniors top Division 1a in the County championships after the first weekend held in October of last year, where they lead the tables following two 8-2 victories over Lincolnshire and Staffordshire and an even more convincing 10-0 demolition of Derbyshire. The team comprising of Mathew Outhwaite, Xiao Ma, Loz Sweeney, Charlotte Spencer and Sanika Karandikar were all in fine form, representing their county impeccably. The final round of matches will be played on Saturday 2nd April 2011 at Meres Leisure Connection in Grantham, where Warwickshire will attempt to gain promotion to the Premier division of the County Championships. Warwickshire will have to fight hard though if they are to gain their place amongst the elite juniors in the country as in their way will be both 3rdplaced Worcestershire and 2nd placed Nottingham along with lower ranked Cheshire and Lancashire. The final team is yet to be selected, but team captain Ian Ferguson believes whatever team he chooses will be more than capable of gaining promotion, with the current crop of County juniors being some of the strongest he has seen for some time, boding well not only for the final round of junior matches but the future of Warwickshire Table Tennis in general.
Click on photo to see it full size!
Report of County Premier Division – Cadets
Over the weekend of Saturday 20th / Sunday 21st February four young Leamington League players, Matthew Outhwaite (Rugby), Jessie Kendrick-Hill (Rugby), Luke Spencer (Free Church) and Holly Thompson (Eathorpe) joined with Jack Styringe (Birmingham) to represent Warwickshire in the highest level of their age group of the County championship, the Premier Cadet division. The daunting prospect of facing the three top English counties, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex all boasting highly ranked players plus the top Welsh team, Glamorgan, was made even harder because the county were not able to field a number 2 girl meaning we would concede 2 games in every match played. For the first time, three counties would be relegated.
Saturday started well with victory against the weakest team, South Yorkshire but three expected defeats against title contenders Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex left the team in seventh place after the first day. Sunday started with the news that South Yorkshire had dropped out and their matches, including our win, were void. The team faced a do-or-die situation, they must beat Cheshire and Nottinghamshire conceding two games to both. Nothing less than a complete team performance with everyone playing their part was needed.
One by one our young players stepped up to the table knowing they must win, often against stronger opposition, and match after match they raised their game to edge home. First Cheshire and then Nottinghamshire were overcome and barring freak results the county had managed to survive. Every player had committed themselves both physically and emotionally. The final match against Glamorgan was played in a blurr of total exhaustion.
The final table showing Warwickshire as fifth and still in the premier division is just a statistic. The quality and determination of their performance against all th odds will be long remembered with pride.
Report submitted by Alan Stockham
MARY ROSE 12.07.1945 to 11.08.2009 R. I. P.
I am sorry to have to inform Mary's friends from the Warwickshire Table Tennis Association that she died last week, comfortably at the Aldridge Court Nursing Home after some months in hospital. I'm afraid I don't have any further details at present but will let you know of funeral arrangements as soon as available. Dot Macfarlane
Local Coaching Course
The ETTA are running a UKCC level one table tennis coaching course in Rugby, at Lawrence Sheriff School, on Sundays 8th November and 13th December. These are all day events (9-5pm). Entrants need to be 16 or over.
The cost is £160 however local borough councils and league associations can sometimes help with costs towards these courses.
Before being awarded the certificate entrants also will need a CRB check (available via the ETTA for £16) and to attend two workshops: Appointed Persons First Aid & Safeguarding and Protecting Children.
Workshop, and booking, info via www.cswsport.org.uk (workshops are £10 each).
Cadets keep their Premier Place
Warwickshire's cadet team has retained its place in the County Championship Premier Division.
Last season the cadets achieved their best ever position finishing as premiership runners up. But this year most of that team passed out of the age group and there were serious worries that the new young team would finish in one of the two relegation places.
But we need not have worried! In a very determined effort the team won 33 of its 70 individual matches and finished 5th out of the 8 teams ahead of Nottingham, Yorkshire and Buckingham with 2 team wins a draw and 4 losses.
A Warwickshire School has made it through to the last four in the English Schools competition for the first time in over twenty years! The Lawrence Sheriff School Under 16 Table Tennis team was in action again this weekend at Cheltenham where they competed against three other teams for a place in the National Finals. Their first match of the day went well, beating Portchester College from Bournemouth 8 - 0. Their second match was tougher but the boys rose to the challenge and Ben Meakin came back from 2 sets down to win his second match, while Jesse Kendrick Hill even managed to defend match points against him in one of his matches, to secure another 8 - 0 win. The final contest of the day was always going to be a hard fought battle against Peniel Academy from Essex, last years' National Champions. Matthew Outhwaite made light work of their no 2 player to get the Lawrence Sheriff team off to a strong start, before their talented no 1 player beat Jack Randle to make it 1 all. Jesse and Ben then beat the opposing no 3 and 4 players to take the score to 3 - 1. Matthew played some stunning table tennis against their no 1 but, although he took it to 5 sets finally lost before Jack Randle managed to beat the no 3 in another close 5 set match making it 4-2. The remaining two matches went to Peniel meaning a set countback to decide the 4 all draw. Even this could not separate the teams so it had to be points, which Lawrence Sheriff won 284 to 282! The team is now through to the National Finals to be held at Hinckley on 28th March, making Lawrence Sheriff one of the top four under 16 teams in the country. There they will compete against teams from Middlesex, Merseyside and Derbyshire in what will be an excellent contest of table tennis.
Report of Seniors narrowly being relegated form division 1A.
The Seniors were relegated from division 1A of the Senior County championships. The table doesn’t show how near the team were to holding onto division 1 status. They were frustratingly close; losing 14 of their 18 games in the fifth end - and it went to deuce in four of those (three for Ian Ferguson and one for Mark Jackson). The standard was very high with England’s number one Paul Drinkall playing for Cleveland who gained promotion to the Premier division.
Warwickshire Juniors are top off the division 2C table after day one having beaten Essex 3rds 8-2, Berkshire 7-3, Oxford 9-1 and Northamptonshire 6-4. Matt Outhwaite won 6 out of 6, Alan Caffrey won 5 out of 6, Jack Williamson won 4 out of 4, Jack Randle won 5 out of 8, Charlotte Spencer won 7 out of 8 and Jessica Birbeck won 8 out 8. They will hope to repeat this and move straight back up to division 1 at the first attempt.
27.02.2008 County Cadets are National Runners Up - report on etta site
Warwickshire Cadets Premiership Runners Up
Warwickshire Cadets have taken the runners up spot in the Premier Division of the English County Championships, the highest position ever achieved by the county's Cadets.
Going into the final round of matches any one of three counties could have finished second, with Warwickshire, South Yorkshire and Sussex all in with a realistic chance, and it was in the very last set of the weekend that Matthew Outhwaite of Warwickshire scored a thrilling five game victory over South Yorkshire’s Scott Hollowood, thus giving Warwickshire a vital point and the crucial runners-up spot.
This superb effort by our young team Jack Williamson and Sanikar Karandikar (Birmingham) Jack Randle and Mathew Outhwaite (Rugby) and Charlotte Spencer (Leamington) should ensure that the future of table tennis in Warwickshire is in safe hands.
click to enlarge
Front row: Charlotte and Sanika. Back row: Matthew, Jack Randle and Jack Williamson.