December 14th and 15th saw RTTC British National League team, sponsored by Survey Initiative travelled to Edgware to continue this seasons competition. Played over 4 weekends, the first weekend left Survey Initiative Rowhedge in 5th place from the 8 teams in Division 4 South East.
Saturday saw the team made up of Rik James, Greg Green, Gary Cattermole and Peter Mynard travel down to face a tough day, first up London Academy in the morning and with Greg up against Danny Lewis, the Academy's number one and a hard fought 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11 saw us of to a great start, next up was Rik with a win in 4 sets against Dmitry Bargysh to give us a 2-0 early lead this was pegged back by the Academy team as Hiba Feredj beat Peter 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 and Laikram Persaud eventually got the better of Captain Gary in 5 sets 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3, with the score back to 2-2 it was the clash of the number 1s and Rik struggled past Lewis in 5 sets 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11 and with Feredj loosing in 4 to Greg 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11 a lead of 4-2 gave us a great chance to seal a win.
It wasn't to be as a fighting Academy team came back to make the final score 4-4 as Bardysh beat Gary 11-7, 14-16, 11-6, 11-8 and Persaud beat Peter 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5. A really gritty, fighting performance from the team and a real shame we just couldn't get over the line for our second win of the campaign.
Afternoon match was always going to be a tough one against, second in the table, Horsham Spinners and first up was their number 1, John Robinson against Greg and although Greg fought really hard against the constant, up to the table, flat attack of Robinson he went down 11-9, 11-6, 11-5. Next up was Horsham number 2 Rory Scott against Rik and a 3-11, 3-11, 4-11 demolition of Scott by Rik got the score immediately back to 1-1, unfortunately from there Horshams credentials as real title contenders showed as they didn't loose another match coming through for a 7-1 victory with Daniel Pound beating 12-10, 11-6, 11-9, Daniels dad, Steve Pound beat Gary 7-11, 15-13, 11-8, 11-9, the clash of the number 1s saw Rik shoot into a 2 game lead but a lack of match practice (and fitness) saw him eventually fall to Robinson in 5 tough games 10-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5. Pound the younger then beat Greg but he didn't have it all his own way and a fighting Greg eventually went down in 5 8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9.
Scott beat Gary 11-7, 14-12, 11-4 with the second game being crucial, had Gary secured that it would definitely have been another story, Pete played superbly against 'Daddy' Pound and was really unlucky not to get a result going down in 4 games with three of them being really close, 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10 to finish the game and give the Team from Horsham a slightly flattering 7-1 win.
Sunday had another two games in store and we changed the team and went to Edgware with James Denyer, John Andrews, Gary Cattermole and the ever improving Jermaine Fearon again with two matches, one against a team close to us in the league and one against a team fighting for one of the promotion places. First up the team from Greenhouse, one place below us and with their number 4 not turning up these games were immediately conceded to give us a 2-0 lead, Greenhouse are a strong outfit and it showed alas the fought very hard to go home with a final score of 4-4.
James played fantastic first game on to beat Greenhouse Number 2 Jamie Dignum 12-14, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9 and get us off to a good start, next up was our Chairman John against Tony Wilkinson with the Greenhouse Number 1 dominant in a 3 set victory 1-11, 5-11, 5-11. Jermaine played fantastic against Kleber Silva the outstanding Greenhouse Junior before going down 8-11, 6-11, 8-11. James then showed what a fantastic player he is as he beat Wilkinson in 5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7. It was difficult for Gary having not played the first games due to the number 4 not turning up as he basically then went on 'cold' against Dignum and went down in 3 tight sets 7-11, 9-11, 6-11, Johns fighting spirit came to the fore against Silva and although he eventually lost, taking a game from this prodigious talent is a fine performance, 4 close sets before John lost 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 8-11. Another point to the ongoing total with a 4-4 draw but slightly disappointing result give that we had a 2 match head start.
Final game of the weekend was against the highly unorthodox Great Stukeley team who are on a fine run of form since our initial meeting with them lead to a 4-4 draw. A really gusty performance by the team wasn't really rewarded as with all our best efforts we lost 6-2, the first 4 games went to Stukeley but James played superbly against Mirek Pazdzior before going down 11-9, 12-10, 4-11, 6-11, 7-11, John lost to an ever improving Alex Facey, 8-11, 6-11, 3-11 and Captain Gary was very unlucky against Martin Freeland going down in 3 tight sets, 11-13, 13-15, 7-11, Jermaine was excellent against the funny bat combination of Kevin Gray before going down 9-11, 14-16, 11-8, 8-11.
James came back to the table in the clash of the Number 1s against Facey and was awesome in the match, victorious in 5 sets, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 14-12, Gary again fighting till the end went down to Pazdzior 9-11, 1-11, 11-9, 2-11, John succumbed to Gray, 7-11, 5-11, 6-11. It was left to the outstanding talent that is Jermaine as he won the final match of weekend 2 beating Freeland 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 11-6 to confirm a great performance but a disappointing 6-2 loss not helped by some shenanigans (let's call it experience!!!!!) from the Stukeley team!
So after a great, tiring, fascinating and exciting weekend, Survey Initiative Rowhedge still lie in 5th place in the table of 8th and will be going to the next weekends first match, away to Brighton, on the weekend of the 19th and 20th of January 2014.
Need anymore information about our progress in the British National League have a look at this link: https://www.tabletennis365.com/BritishLeague/Results/Team/Statistics/Seniors_2013-14/Division_4_South_and_East/Survey_Intiative_Rowhedge