To start us off, on Thursday 30th August, Ilfracombe Table Tennis Club challenged Tarka / North Devon Table Tennis players to a Pre Season, friendly, top pairs match. Tarka / ND were drawn home based on a wager between Ilfracombe’s captain, Barry Brook and his opposite number – myself (Matthew Thomas) It was based on the winner of the England Belgium world cup match and will Belgium coming out on top it meant the match was played at Tarka Tennis Centre this time.
The match consisted of 5 pairs of players each team ranked so that the individual1&2 played 1&2, 3&4 played 3&4 etc. Both teams had players missing and several players were ‘picking up the bat’ for the first time this season. Matches then book place best of five games up to 11 points so each pairing played two singles and one doubles. Each game won was then added to provide a score for each match with 15 points being a maximum win (best of 3 x 5 matches).
On this occasion the Tarka / ND came away victorious with each match results being as follows:
Match 1 - Tarka / ND Paul Laverty (rank 1) and Ben Taylor (rank 2) vs Ilfracombe Dan Moore (rank 1) and Francis Westcott (2)
13 points to 8 was the winning margin to Tarka - there were several close matches with the top ranked Dan first taking a win 3-1 against Ben Taylor and then pushing Paul all the way having taken the first two sets to then be overpowered by Paul who took at 3-2 win. The doubles went to 5 sets with Tarka taking the honours 3-2. Francis made a good account of himself despite going down 0-3 to Laverty and 1-3 to Taylor.
Match 2 - Tarka - Matthew Thomas (3) and David Streak (4) vs Peter Coates (3) and Keith Le Milliere (4)
Keith Started Strong against Matthew and quickly took the opening two sets. However, Matthew kept calm and steady to overcome keith with a 3-2 margin. Despite some very close sets and excellent table tennis form Coates and Le Milliere they were unable to take any further sets from Thomas and the very determined Streak and the match ended 15-2 to Tarka.
Match 3 - Wim Faassen (5) and Michael Sussex (6) vs Terry Wright (5) and Peter Kneil (6)
Wright stood in at the last minute for injured player Phil Goulding of Ilfracombe - although Terry is a Tarka player this was a pre season friendly after all! This match produced the closest games of the night with Ilfracombe taking the honours 14-10. All but one match went to 5 sets with just Peter Kneil only needing 4 to see off Michael Sussex 3-1. However, with very tight score-lines in each fixture this match could have gone either way. Wim managed to edge out Terry to claim Tarka’s one victory in the fixture - in 5 sets of course!
Match 4 - Martin Babulak (7) and Lee Farrant (8) vs Barry Brook (7) and Ken MacIntosh (8)
15 - 4 in favour of Tarka’s Babulak and Farrant was the result but the comments from the players were of a much closer battle. The more defensive duo of Brook and MacIntosh could not make it count this time against the heavy top spins of Babulak and Farrant - next time, next time…
Match 5 - Peter Hedge (9) and David Ewan (10) vs Bill Tregellas (9) and Bill Harvey (10)
There was a near upset of Hedge against Tregellas - Bill having taken the two of the first 3 sets - the forth was super tight with Hedge just doing enough to keep his hopes alive with a 16-14 point win to force a fifth and final set. In the event Hedge came out comfortable winner but well played Bill. 15-5 was the final match score which again belied the closeness of the contest.
Everyone enjoyed the night and the attached photo shows the players which are from L-R - Wim Faassen, Paul Laverty, David Streak, Matthew Thomas, Michael Sussex, Peter Hedge, Martin Babulak, Ben Taylor, Kevin Taylor (Tarka player who was poorly), David Ewan, Francis Westcott, Keith Le Milliere, Peter Coates, Bill Tregellas, Barry Brook, Terry Wright, Dan Moore, Peter Kneil and Bill Harvey. Missing from the picture were Ken and Lee.
A final bit of drama to the night was that Terry Wright had lost his tracksuit bottoms containing his car keys. Matthew and Kevin from Tarka stayed to help him search as well as ringing the then departed other players to attempt to track them down. After much ado Terry had another look on the court and found them! Drama over and many thanks to Susannah from the Tarka Centre for all her help.
Tarka Table Tennis are based at the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple and meet 7-9 pm each Thursday. All are welcome regardless of age, gender or ability. For more information please contact Matthew Thomas 07805 433361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ilfracombe have their own club so can offer 7 days a week table tennis - please contact Barry Brook 07858 440836 for more information.