UK Table Tennis News & Results 2001-2002
Irish News & Results

Gareth Herbert (Berks), the men’s singles 2nd seed, and Alex Perry (Devon), the 3rd seed both fell at the quarter-final stage of the English National Championships being held at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield.

Herbert, was swept away 11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 by Berkshire & England colleague Terry Young. Whereas Young employed controlled aggression, Herbert started erratically, and although his accuracy improved in the second two games it was not enough to stop the determined Young, who had only just survived against Darren Blake (Surrey), 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9. After his victory over Herbert, Young, who is currently not training at the National Training Centre in Nottingham, said, “I wanted to show everyone what I can do, and I think I have a good chance against Andrew Baggaley (the holder) in the semi-finals.

Perry, the 1999 national champion and current British Universities champion, started well against former England international Bradley Billington (Chesterfield, Derbyshire), taking the first two games with sharp angled hitting, but then he began just missing the angles while Billington grew in confidence and power to come through 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8. He will now play his old sparring partner from Chesterfield, the three times former national champion, Alan Cooke.

Andrea Holt, the former times English women’s champion, ended the run of Lindsey Thornton (Lancs), the conqueror of defending champion and top seed Nicola Deaton (Chesterfield, Derbyshire), beating Thornton 6-11, 16-14, 13-11, 11-4, 11-7 in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-finals results:
Men’s singles:
Alan Cooke (Derbys) bt Andrew Eden (Lancs) 3-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7.
Bradley Billington (Derbys) bt Alex Perry (Devon) 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8.
Andrew Baggaley (Bucks) bt Greg Baker (Warwicks) 11-7, 11-2, 11-4, 11-5
Terry Young (Berks) bt Gareth Herbert (Berks) 11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.

Women’s singles:
Andrea Holt (Lancs) bt Lindsey Thornton (Lancs) 6-11, 16-14, 13-11, 11-4, 11-7.
Joanna Parker (Surrey) bt Kubrat Owolabi (Middx) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10.
Helen Lower (Staffs) bt Abigail Embling (Essex) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.
Georgina Walker (Notts) bt Sally Clark (Yorks) 11-3, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7

The men's doubles title holders and Manchester Commonwealth Games gold medallists, Andrew Baggaley (Bucks) and Gareth Herbert (Berks) were knocked out in the National Championships (Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield) semi-finals, 2-11, 14-12, 9-11, 12-10, 12-10 by teenagers Andrew Rushton (Lancs) and Bryn Drinkhall (Cleveland), Rushton short returning a service from Baggaley which just dribbled over the net for the match point.

In the biggest shock of the English National Championships (Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield) so far, the left-handed 22 year old former England junior champion, Lindsey Thornton (Manchester, Lancashire), ousted the 26 year old, five times women's senior champion, Nicola Deaton, (Chesterfield, Derbyshire), 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9 in a second round clash. The key to Thornton's success was that she matched Deaton, probably the fastest English woman, for speed and power. But Deaton did not lose without a tremendous rearguard fight, saving 5 consecutive match points from 4-10 in the 5th game with high tossed serves and brave all out attack. However, on the last (6th) match point, Deaton attacked less positively and Thornton counter-attacked to claim a sensational victory.

Thornton, as a junior, had once before beaten Deaton and knew she had a chance. A player of great promise, she had considered playing professionally, but decided that making a living in table tennis was too difficult and now works with special needs children

Alex Perry (Devon) and Helen Lower (Staffordshire) retained their national mixed doubles title when they beat Andrew Rushton (Lancashire) and Kubrat Owolabi (Middlesex) 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9 at the English Senior National Championships, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield. It is the third time they have won this event. In the semi-finals they had put out Mathew Kenny (Sheffield, Yorkshire) and Natalie Bawden (Essex), the surprise 11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 conquerors of 4th seeds Bradley Billington (Chesterfield, Derbyshire) and Louise Durrant (Worksop, Derbyshire) in the quarter-finals.

Rushton, despite suffering from flu, and Owolabi, had defeated 2nd seeds Gareth Herbert (Berkshire) and Lindsey Thornton (Lancashire) in straight games to reach the final.

Mixed doubles final result:
Alex Perry (Devon)/Helen Lower (Staffordshire) beat Andrew Rushton (Lancashire)/Kubrat Owolabi (Middlesex) 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9.

17 year old Georgina Walker from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, the England no.2 junior, retained her national under 21 women’s singles title at the National Senior Championships being played at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield, hitting through the defence of top seed and England junior champion, Joanna Parker (Surrey). She has now lifted the title three times. In the semi-finals, Walker had put out the talented 14 year old, Kelly Sibley (Warwickshire), also in straight games, while Parker had similarly defeated last years losing finalist, the 2001 champion, Louise Durrant, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

The fast and determined Andrew Rushton (Manchester, Lancashire) regained the under 21 men’s singles title he last held in 2001, coming back from 2 games down to defeat Bryn Drinkhall (Cleveland), 6-11 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7. The biggest shock was the first round loss of second seed Matthew Kenny (Sheffield) to Shaun Marples (Chesterfield, Derbyshire), who in turn fell 9-11, 4-11 11-7, 7-11, to 13 year old ‘super kid’ Paul Drinkhall (Cleveland), the 8th seed. A superb hard-hitting semi-final between the Drinkhall brothers ended in controversy, when after Bryn had saved 3 match points at 7-10 down in the fifth game and then actually led by a match point, the umpire gave a ‘red card’ against his brother Paul for swearing thereby deducting a point to give Bryn the match.

6th seed Dave Harding (Surrey) was the surprise winner of the veteran men’s singles, scrapping through 12-10 in the deciding game against the defensive favourite, former European champion, John Hilton (Cheshire), in the final Harding had a tough path, with very close 5 game wins against 2001 champion, Clive Carthy (Essex), in the quarter-finals and John Rankin (Lancashire) in the semi-finals. Judy Morley (Gloucestershire) reversed last seasons veteran women’s singles when she beat the holder Jane Durham 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5.

Finals results:

Under 21 men’s singles: Andrew Rushton (Lancashire) bt Bryn Drinkhall (Cleveland) 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7.

Under 21 women’s singles: Georgina Walker (Nottinghamshire) bt Joanna Parker (Surrey) 11-7, 11-3, 11-3.

Veteran men’s singles: David Harding (Surrey) bt John Hilton (Cheshire) 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 3-11, 12-10.

Veteran women’s singles: Judy Morley (Gloucestershire) bt Jane Durham (Cleveland) 11-8, 6-11,11-9, 9-11, 11-5.

Chesterfield’s Alan Cooke, three weeks off from his 37th birthday, became the oldest England men’s singles champion when he regained the title he last held in 1996, by beating the title defender, Andrew Baggaley (Milton Keynes), 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 in the most entertaining final for many years, at the English National Senior Championships, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield.

Cooke, now more involved as an England coach than a player, employed his full repertoire of topspin attack, containing counter-hitting and blocking, and some spectacular lobbing, to break down the two-wing controlled aggression of Baggaley, but it was a very close thing. Three games to two down, he won a vital, long athletic, topspin to topspin point at 8 all in the 6th game and then the next two points to level the games. And then from 3-6 down in the deciding game, he won six consecutive points, which set him up for his victory.

Cooke said after the match, “Andrew Baggaley is an excellent player who will go a long way. Full credit to him. I can’t expect to keep beating these youngsters for long and was rather fortunate to win today from 6-3 down in the fifth game”.

The injured Matthew Syed, whose 4 times champion record Cooke now equals, said, “I have immense admiration for Cookie, for 15 years after he first won the title coming off the coaches’ bench to win the title again.”

Manchester’s Andrea Holt, 32, regained the national women’s singles title she last held in 1995 – she was also champion in 1991 and 1993 – with an easier than anticipated 11-2, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 win over Helen Lower (Wolverhampton, Staffordshire) in the final. Her defence was generally too consistent for Lower, and she was only seriously threatened twice: at 9-10 down in the first game she won a long defensive rally, retrieving from all corners of the court, eventually taking that game 13-11: and in the fourth game, when Lower’s ‘loop’ appeared to have found the target, Holt came back from 2-7 down to win 9 consecutive points for the game.

Like Cooke, Holt has now won the (women’s) singles title four times, and she may follow Cooke’s example by helping to coach the national squad at Nottingham.

Alex Perry (Devon) and Terry Young (Berkshire), the 2001 Commonwealth champions, took the men’s doubles, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, against teenagers Andrew Rushton (Lancs) and Bryn Drinkhall (Cleveland), having the experience to handle the pressure better. Nicola Deaton (Chesterfield, Derbyshire) got some consolation for losing her singes crown, by winning with her new partner, Kubrat Owolabi (Middlesex) the women’s doubles, beating junior girls Abigail Embling (Essex) and Joanna Parker (Surrey), 11-5, 12-10, 11-9.

Finals results:
Men’s singles: Alan Cooke (Derbys) bt Andrew Baggaley (Bucks) 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8.

Women’s singles: Andrea Holt (Lancs) bt Helen Lower (Staffs) 13-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9.

Men’s doubles: Alex Perry (Devon)/Terry Young (Berks) bt Bryn Drinkhall (Cleveland)/Andrew Rushton (Lancs) 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5.

Women’s doubles: Nicola Deaton (Derbys)/Kubrat Owolabi (Notts) bt Abigail Embling (Essex)/Joanna Parker (Surrey) 11-5, 12-10, 11-9.

Semi Final Results
Defending singles champion Andrew Baggaley (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire), just 20, again reached the English National Championships men’s singles final at Pond’s Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield today, with a fairly comfortable 11-7, 13-15, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 success over Terry Young (Maidenhead, Berkshire). Briefly Baggaley looked in trouble in the second game when he could not contain Young’s extra weight of shot and was driven back from the table, but after narrowly losing 13-15, he used his better close to the table control and positional play to advantage to close Young down and by end was attacking more positively himself.

Baggaley now meets in the final the former three times champion and former Commonwealth champion Alan Cooke, 36, who had a little too much consistency and control for his Chesterfield, Derbyshire colleague, Bradley Billington, winning their semi-final 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 13-11.

Andrea Holt (Manchester, Lancashire),32, looks in a strong position to win the women’s singles for the fourth time, being too experienced at the same type of all-round defensive game as her 15 year old rival, Joanna Parker (Surrey) in their semi-final, with scores of 11-2,11-8, 11-6, 11-6. However, her final opponent, Helen Lower (Wolverhampton, Staffordshire), also 32, who outgunned 17 year old Georgina Walker (Kirkby-in-Ashfield), 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, will be hungry to lift the title for the first time.

Semi-final results:
Men’s singles:
Alan Cooke (Derbys) bt Bradley Billington (Derbys) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 13-11.
Andrew Baggaley (Bucks) bt Terry Young (Berks) 11-7,13-15, 11-7,11-4, 11-4.

Women’s singles:
Andrea Holt (Lancs) bt Joanna Parker (Surrey) 11-2, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.
Helen Lower (Staffs) bt Georgina Walker (Notts) 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6.