Winchcombe Table Tennis Club at the English Open
The 65th English Open may not have been ready when players of the Winchcombe Table Tennis Club started to arrive but Ratcliffe and Davidson soon put pay to this making sure that the table numbers were soon distributed so they could keep track of the matches.
Taking their seats the arrival had soon been noted as Alan Cooke, Bradley Evans and Joanne Parker took seats next to them. Mr Ferguson was next to arrive with what can only be described as an excited school girl. Mrs Ferguson was at her first major table tennis event and already using the word amazing.
The four watched a number of games before deciding that the rest of the venue should be inspected. Davidson and Ratcliffe found a mini table at one of the table tennis stands and straight away set up a competition of their own, Ratcliffe became a clear winner 11- 5 in the third. In the meantime Keith had checked out the other stand and purchased a new deadly sheet of rubber that is to be shown off this week in Cheltenham.
Lunch was soon on the horizon before the tour continued and close to the training room the public practice tables were soon located and the games began again. The Winchcombe crowd had not taken bats but after a quick word, two dead sponge bats and a ball were located. Ratcliffe quickly polished of Davidson again before crushing Ferguson to remain unbeaten on day one.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with women’s table tennis which was most interesting and the men’s qualifying rounds. A positive note here was how well Andrew Baggley played and he was unlucky not to make the last 64. Davidson however had spotted a talent in the form of Ruwen Filus of Germany who was being coached by Rosskopf and progressing well into the next days play.
Photo - Ruwen Filus of Germany – Photo from ITTF library
After a quick depart, wash and change at the hotel the four headed into Sheffield for drinks and dinner. The chosen indian was soon over run with girls. As they left the rest of Sheffield had obviously heard of Winchcombe‘s arrival and had come to see them in town. The excitement was soon too much for some and a number of nurses arrived in an attempt to keep their temperatures in tact.
As Keith had spent a small amount of time in Sheffield (some time ago it must be said) the Winchcombe four found themselves on a sort of Ghost walk strolling through the dark streets for a pub to finish the night in.
Day two started with the four heading for breakfast, Stewart felt that this was a major event and that the Olympian breakfast was the only suitable thing on the menu. A quick update with Chris Lane on the goings on at the Winchcombe matches the previous night was also discussed and they were made aware that Jacqui Carver played magnificently, she also broke her bat but the win was well worth it.
At the venue the best seats in the house were quickly taken by the Winchcombe crowd as Choi Sze To, Matt Hartwell, Jacqui, Richard, John and James Glass (nicks family) soon arrived making a strong hold at the front of the crowds. The first noticeable game on day two was the excellent performance of Drinkhall against Lars Hielscher of Germany as he won 4- 0 and progressed into the last 32. In the first round of the men’s u21, Davidson’s man of the tournament Ruwen Filus again showed it was easy, but finally found his match in the semi finals. He is certainly a name to watch out in the future. I told you here first.
Choi Sze then gave a small amount of her time to keeping in touch with the male Hong Kong Players and getting her nick name mention on the loud speaker. Ros and Richard continued to be dazzled by the quality of the play and the back row were into a big discussion on the Middlesex league as John Glass and Keith had both played in the league some twenty years ago (Those were the good old days).
Lunch seemed for the weak with so much action but most visited the coffee shop for a quick snack. All were soon back in their seats as they were treated to an expedite match. Yes !! 2 – 2 after ten minuets and with five loud cheers the young female umpire appreciated the Winchcombe support with a smile. They in turn had appreciated her commitment and dedication to scoring. Some 58 minuets later it was all over. Timo Boll then appeared and put in a satisfactory performance as he headed into the last 32.
The Boys favourite female player of the tournament was clearly the Romanian Daniela Dodean and her coach who defeated Japan’s Kasumi shikawa to win the ladies u21 singles.
Exhausted and with some still wanting more all of the Winchcombe crowd headed of at 8.15pm for a quick change before heading to the italian for dinner. It was at this point they were joined by Tristan Gretton who is at college in Sheffield making 11 in all. The red wines were poured and after a quick sing song to the thirty year old Matt Hartwell all were off to bed.
Day 3 saw the semi finals and with only Choi Sze, Matt, James and John attending, and some excellent games were again viewed.
Ma Long finally played Ma Lin in the final and with the number one seed Ma Long taking the title, the event was all over.
Report by Nick Davidson