Senior Premier County Championships 2015: Weekend 1
Following the 2014-15 success in being Division 1A champions, the Warwickshire Senior County team began their Premier Division Campaign, taking place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December, at Cippenham Table Tennis Centre in Slough. The five players representing Warwickshire were Loz Sweeney, Matt Outhwaite, James Ward, Kate Hughes and Charlotte Spencer.
The first match took place against Middlesex, a team comprising of Japanese player Ryota Kawai, senior number 27 Gabriel Achampong, Jojo Senorin, England Cadet number 1 Denise Payet, and Hiba Feredj. Warwickshire number 1 Loz Sweeney played first on against Achampong and despite two very close ends, the Middlesex player triumphed 3-0. James Ward levelled the score with a 3-0 win against Jojo Senorin. Middlesex went ahead with wins for Payet against Charlotte Spencer and Kawai against Matt Outhwaite. Kate Hughes pulled one set back for Warwickshire with a 3-0 against Hiba Feredj. The closest and most exciting set was between James Ward and Gabriel Achampong. Ward won the first set 11-5, only to lose the second 4-11. The next two sets were exchanged equally 12-10, and the decider went even closer, with Ward coming out on top 13-11. Throughout the match, Ward played very consistently forcing Achampong to play multiple shots; mixed in with excellent attacking play. The match score was once again level at 3-3. Middlesex took the lead again with wins for Feredj over Spencer and Kawai over Sweeney. This was followed by Hughes having an excellent win against Payet 11-9, 11-6, 14-12, once she could return her opponents serves!! In the last match, Matt Outhwaite was exceptionally unlucky to lose 9-11, 11-13, 10-12 to Jojo Senorin. The final match score was 4-6 to Middlesex.
Sunday’s first opponents were Derbyshire, who without some of their usual players, gave Warwickshire hope of putting up a competitive challenge. Matt Outhwaite started first against Derbyshire number 1 David Arrowsmith, and despite winning the second end 11-6, the Derbyshire player controlled the game winning 3-1. Ward once again equalled the match score beating Tim Denby 3-0. Unfortunately the next three matches all went Derbyshire’s way. Hughes lost 0-3 to Isobel Ashley; Sweeney lost 2-3 to Jake Meikle, and Spencer lost 0-3 to Latvian International Diana Rusinova. Outhwaite recorded a 3-1 against Denby (8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6). Spencer lost 0-3 to Ashley, followed by Sweeney losing 0-3 to David Arrowsmith (5-11, 10-12, 8-11), giving Derbyshire a 6-2 lead. Hughes then had a five set battle with Diana Rusinova. Hughes lost the first set 8-11, pulled back to win the second 12-10, only to lost the third 3-11. The Warwickshire player levelled once again 11-7, but lost out 7-11 in the fifth set. In the last set played, James Ward demonstrated another excellent performance beating Jake Meikle 3-1. The final score was 3-7 to Derbyshire.
The final match for the Warwickshire team was against Nottinghamshire. An excellent performance from Matt Outhwaite resulted in a 3-1 win against Jason Ramage. Outhwaite hit multiple awesome backhand and forehand counter topspins, and had a little luck along the way. James Ward doubled the Warwickshire lead by beating Michael George 3-0. Nottinghamshire pulled three sets back, with Evie Collier beating Hughes 3-0, Mark Green beating Loz Sweeney, and Sophie Neil beating Charlotte Spencer both by the same score line. Matt Outhwaite levelled once again beating Michael George 3-1. Spencer lost 0-3 to Collier, Sweeney 0-3 to Ramage; and despite a four set battle, Hughes lost 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 5-11 to Sophie Neil, giving Nottinghamshire the 6-3 lead. James Ward once again performed fantastically to maintain his 100% winning record beating Mark Green 3-0. The final score was 4-6 to Nottinghamshire.
Despite valiant efforts from the Warwickshire players, the team were unable to record any points in their first three matches of the Premier Division. The team will be hoping for significant improvements in February when the second weekend of competition takes place, involving matches against Berkshire, Kent, Sussex and Devon.
Many thanks to Inky Moss for his support over the weekend, and to all players for representing Warwickshire.
Kate Hughes (Acting Captain): December 2015.