Warwickshire Senors miss out by 1 game of promotion to the Premier Division

 

            In one of the most thrillingly close contests in recent years, Kent narrowly pipped Warwickshire to the post in Division 1B of the Senior County championships. It was so close that from rounds 2 to 5, both teams were tied level on points and game difference, scoring identical results in each of rounds 3,4 and 5! However it was round 6 that proved significant in deciding the outcome of the championship. Kent defeated Worcestershire 9-1 – giving them a game difference of 46-14, while Warwickshire scored an 8-2 victory over Hertfordshire – which made their game difference 45-15. This meant that when the two sides met in round 7, Kent knew that a draw would guarantee them the title.

                Both Kent and Warwickshire had won all their matches up until round 7, and Warwickshire knew that nothing less than a win was required for promotion to the premier division. To achieve this, Warwickshire’s team captain bravely dropped their no.1 player Laurence Sweeney, and this proved to be a masterstroke when Amann Ubhi (England no. 76) stunned the watching crowd with a sensational 3-0 victory over the Kent no.1 – England no.15 Lewis Gray. In what was surely the win of his career, Ubhi blitzed his opponent with a succession of powerful attacking strokes which proved too much for Gray to handle. Ubhi came through 12-10 16-14 11-8.

                Warwickshire edged ahead thanks to their men, as a win each for James Ward, Matthew Outhwaite and Ubhi (completing his double) put Warwickshire 4-2 up. However it was Kent’s women, the outstanding Nivedita Sunil and Jasmin Ould, who saved their team with two wins each. Ould was especially impressive with convincing victories over Rachel Pilgrim 11-3 11-8 11-3, and Kate Hughes 11-7 11-7 11-7. In fact, the Kent women only dropped one match between them in the entire weekend, when Ould was defeated 3-0 by Hertfordshire’s Natasha Walsh. Kent’s success was undoubtedly built on these two ladies’ exceptional performances, and they will be relied upon to keep their county in the Premier division next season.

                It was left to Lewis Gray to make up for his earlier unexpected defeat, and he made no mistake this time, as he secured the draw – and promotion – for Kent by defeating James Ward 3-0. In a remarkable parallel, Ward’s namesake, British tennis player James Ward, was also on the losing end of a critical rubber in the Davis Cup against Andreas Seppi of Italy at the exact same time.

                The bottom of the table was no less dramatic with three teams hoping to avoid dropping into division 2 with the already doomed Surrey II. Going into round 7, Worcestershire were on 4 points, Middlesex II on 3 points and Hertfordshire on 3. Middlesex II leapfrogged Worcestershire by defeating Surrey II 6-4, and Worcestershire went down 9-1 to Surrey I. These results meant that Hertfordshire could send Worcestershire down if they drew with Devon, and they duly managed this when Jimmy Walsh scored a comprehensive victory over Devon number 3 Rory Harries 3-0 to earn his side a crucial point. Hertfordshire stayed up thanks to a superior game difference (28-42) compared to Worcestershire (26-44).

                As exciting as all the table tennis was, it was not even close to being the story of the weekend. In what was a special moment, Hertfordshire fielded five members from the same family in one match. It was a memorable occasion for the Walsh family, as dad Jimmy, mum Nicola, brothers Luke and Ethan, and sister Natasha lined up against Warwickshire. Has this ever happened before in the history of English table tennis? It is surely one for the archivists!

By Adam Laws

Averages: Men

Player

Team

P

W

L

%

Amann Ubhi

Warwickshire

10

10

0

100

Matthew Outhwaite

Warwickshire

8

8

0

100

Adam Nutland

Worcestershire

14

12

2

86

Nicholas Leung

Surrey I

14

12

2

86

Lewis Gray

Kent

6

5

1

83

James Ward

Warwickshire

14

11

3

79

Neil Cartwright

Kent

12

9

3

75

Adam Laws

Surrey I

14

9

5

64

Dominic Sussex

Devon

14

9

5

64

Chris Bush

Surrey I

14

8

6

57

Matthew Man

Middlesex II

14

8

6

57

Jimmy Walsh

Hertfordshire

14

7

7

50

Steve Horton

Worcestershire

12

6

6

50

Laurence Sweeney

Warwickshire

10

5

5

50

Richard Carden

Kent

12

5

7

42

Andy Norwood

Kent

12

5

7

42

Dob Tokov

Hertfordshire

12

5

7

42

Andrew Mudie

Surrey II

10

4

6

40

Richard Marshall

Devon

14

5

9

36

James Sprackling

Middlesex II

14

5

9

36

Andreas Pusch

Surrey II

12

4

8

33

Luke Walsh

Hertfordshire

6

2

4

33

Shaquille Webb-Dixon

Surrey II

10

3

7

30

Lee Horton

Worcestershire

8

2

6

25

Tyla Anderson

Middlesex II

14

3

11

21

Rory Harries

Devon

14

3

11

21

Liam Grant

Surrey II

10

2

8

20

Ethan Walsh

Hertfordshire

10

1

9

10

Dave Rogers

Worcestershire

8

0

8

0

Final table:

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

PTS

Kent

7

6

1

0

51

19

13

Warwickshire

7

6

1

0

50

20

13

Surrey I

7

5

0

2

40

30

10

Devon

7

3

1

3

37

33

7

Middlesex II

7

2

1

4

27

43

5

Hertfordshire

7

1

2

4

28

42

4

Worcestershire

7

1

2

4

26

44

4

Surrey II

7

0

0

7

21

49

0

Averages: Women

Player

Team

P

W

L

%

Nivedita Sunil

Kent

14

14

0

100

Jasmin Ould

Kent

14

13

1

93

Kate Hughes

Warwickshire

14

11

3

79

Vicky Smith

Devon

14

11

3

79

Natasha Walsh

Hertfordshire

14

10

4

71

Sarah Horsnell

Middlesex II

14

9

5

64

Naomi Jackson

Devon

14

9

5

64

Sally Cimiotti

Surrey II

4

2

2

50

Sally Cimiotti

Surrey I

2

1

1

50

Lucy Burks

Surrey I

12

5

7

42

Janice Laing

Hertfordshire

8

3

5

38

Rachel Pilgrim

Warwickshire

14

5

11

36

Fei Fei Pei

Surrey I

14

5

9

36

Malgorzata Muda

Middlesex II

6

2

4

33

Des Norbury

Surrey II

12

3

9

25

Isabelle Joubeily

Surrey II

12

3

9

25

Laura Horton

Worcestershire

14

3

11

21

Ella Parry-Reece

Worcestershire

14

3

11

21

Nicola Walsh

Hertfordshire

6

0

6

0

Samantha Lai

Middlesex II

8

0

8

0

Match scores – Division 1B

Saturday 5th April    Cippenham TTC    Doors open 9am

Saturday 10am

Worcs 4

Devon 6

Surrey I    6

Surrey II  4

Kent 7

Herts 3

Middx II   1

Warks      9

Saturday 12noon

Worcs       5

Middx II   5

Surrey I    4 Warks       6

Kent        8 Devon     2

Herts         6 Surrey II   4

Saturday 2pm

Surrey II   3 Kent           7

Devon       4 Surrey I    6

Warks      7 Worcs      3

Middx II     7 Herts           3

Saturday 4pm

Kent           7 Middx II    3

Herts         4 Surrey I    6

Surrey II   3 Worcs       7

Devon      3 Warks      7

Sunday 6th April   Cippenham TTC    Doors open 9am

Sunday 10am

Worcs    5 Herts      5

Surrey I    2 Kent          8

Warks       8 Surrey II   2

Middx II    2 Devon        8

Sunday 12noon

Surrey I     7 Middx  II   3

Kent    9 Worcs 1

Herts    2 Warks  8

Surrey II   1 Devon        9

Sunday 2pm

Worcs      1 Surrey I   9

Devon     5 Herts       5

Warks     5 Kent        5

Middx II    6 Surrey II   4

Author: via Warwickshire Table Tennis Association
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