National Junior League - HDTTA team update

Bexhillians Table Tennis juniors Emily Koester, Oli Matthews and Leon Hyde, representing the Hastings and District Table Tennis League in the third round of the National Junior League competition at Byng Hall Table Tennis Club, overcame fatigue and injuries to finish third on sets difference in a very strong group comprising teams from Tunbridge Wells, Surrey and Sidcup and therefore qualify for the final session. Oli Matthews and Leon Hyde both played in a senior league match on the Friday evening and Emily Koester injured her wrist in one of her first matches of the day but managed to play all her matches, winning 8 out of 10. The determination and resilience shown by all these players in what was a very long day beginning at 9am and not finishing until 6.30pm was shown in the team’s results throughout the day.

In their first match they faced a strong Byng Hall Red side from Tunbridge Wells and, despite an inspired performance from Leon Hyde, who won both his matches 3 sets to nil, they were on the brink of losing the match 3 -2 when Emily Koester stepped up and produced a 3 sets to 1 victory to earn them a draw. They then had to face Crusaders A from Surrey who were out to gain revenge as Hastings had been the only side to beat them in the previous round and they fielded a very strong side. The match was very keenly contested but Hastings ran out of steam and lost 5-1 but picked up some valuable sets as Emily Koester won one of her matches 3 sets to 1 and Leon Hyde narrowly lost one of his matches 3 sets to 2 just losing 13-11 in the fifth. 
Hastings then knew that after a poor start they had to up their game and in their next match faced Cleave Park Blue from Sidcup and they won 6-0 with all players winning their matches 3 sets to nil. Next was Crusaders B from Surrey and this match began well with Oli Matthews winning the first match 3 sets to nil followed by Emily Koester winning her match also 3 sets to nil but then Crusaders pulled it back to 2-2 .The match then depended on the performances of Leon Hyde and Emily Koester who both went on to win 3 sets to nil victories which gave Hastings a 4-2 win.

The final match of the day was against Cleve Park Red from Sidcup who could finish above Hastings if they won or drew with a better sets advantage. There was a lot of animated support for Cleve Park but Hastings dug in and were determined to get a good result. Emily Koester again got Hastings off to a good start by winning the first match 3 sets to 1 and Oli Matthews then produced a fine performance to win 3 sets to nil before Cleve Park came back with two 3 sets to 2 victories which left the match in the hands of Emily Koester and Leon Hyde. Emily Koester then produced a very determined performance despite an injured wrist and won 3 sets to nil and the match result was down to Leon Hyde. Leon lost the first two sets 11-6 and 14-12 but then showed guts and determination to bring the match back to 2-2 winning 11-8 and 11-9 which meant that the match outcome was on the last set which he unfortunately lost 11-8 meaning that Hastings had gained a 3-3 draw. These players  were a credit to Bexhillians Premier Table Tennis Club and their coaching staff and also a credit to Hastings and District Table Tennis League.

Author: via Hastings Table Tennis League
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