County Junior Team – Match Report – 6th April

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May 082013

The county junior team played host to Avon and Somerset, overseen by Dave Adamson, team coach, at Deer Park to finish off the season.  The team for the day was boys: Jack Collings, Olly Tyndall, Billy Shilton; girls: Beth Williams, Margaret Pang.

Against Somerset, Olly and Billy made a confident start, quickly putting the team 2-0 up.  Next up was Beth vs Beth (Atkinson) and Jack vs Jack (Cross), which both turned out to be close encounters that, unfortunately, didn’t go our way.  A similar fate awaited Margaret who went down in 5 to Beth.  Things then swung back in Gloucestershire’s favour as Olly and Jack were able to add 1 a piece, to square off the match at 4-4.  Unfortunately, the final two matches went to Somerset with a noteable performance from their number 2 Jack Cross, at least 14 inches taller, much improved, and unbeaten on the day.  Final score: Gloucestershire 4, Somerset 6.

Avon turned up two players short, with only two boys and one girl, and it was at this stage the Gloucestershire finally got into gear.  Olly started with a good win over Avon number 1, Josh Kashdan, while Jack got the better of, pen-holder number 2, Robin Francis.  Avon number 1 girl, little sister, Jess Kashdan, playing up, was no match for our girls, as Beth and Margaret both won their matches comfortably.  Finally Jack came off on top in a 4-setter vs Josh to give Gloucestershire a comfortable 9-1 victory to end the season, along with an early finish to have us home in time to see the Grand National.

Although the loss to Somerset was a little disappointing, it could easily have gone our way.  It has been particularly pleasing to see such an improvement in the younger members of the team along with good support from the older players, who made valuable contributions in the face of looming exams.  On balance I feel quite optimistic for subsequent seasons.

Gavin Collings

County Junior Team – Match Report

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Nov 302012

The county junior team travelled to Okehampton table tennis centre to kick off the season with three matches against teams from the deepest South West. The team for the day was boys: Jack Collings, Billy Shilton and Jamie Theyer, girls: Beth Williams and Margaret Pang.

First match was against Cornwall 2 where Jack, Jamie and Margaret quickly got the team into a 3-0 position. Billy then made a confident start assuming a good lead against the Cornwall number 1, Locryn Vanderveld. The wily Cornish chopper had other ideas, though and managed to grind his way back into the game and come out on top in the closest encounter of the match. Beth then made a confident start brushing aside the Cornish number 2 and with the team now in sight of victory, most the remaining matches went to Gloucestershire giving the team a 8-2 victory with all players contributing to the points tally.

Devon 3 were next in line and proved to be more of a tough nut to crack. Hotshot leftie, number 1 Kevin Vandabona, surely misplaced from the premier division, proved too strong for our boys as did number 1 girl Bella Payne for our girls. Jamie got our score rolling however, and then contributions from Beth and Jack evened the score out at 3-3. Devon were too strong, however and subsequently pulled away to take the match 7-3.

Final match of the day was against Cornwall’s best, led by the Wright brothers, identical twins from St Austell. This led to some confusion at the beginning of the first match when Jack found himself facing the wrong Wright. After finding the right Wright, however, Gloucestershire confidently took a 1-0 lead. Jamie couldn’t quite sustain the momentum though going down in a close 5 setter in the next match, following which Cornwall pulled away to a 3-1 lead. Beth then stepped up to take a point from the Cornish number 2 before Cornwall again stretched their lead to 5-2. Jack now found himself up against the second Wright (previously the wrong Wright, but now the right Wright), who showed himself to be the not quite so identical twin, taking Jack to a 5 set 11-13 nail biter before giving up another point for Gloucestershire. The last couple of points went Cornwall’s way however to leave us with another 7-3 loss.

Thanks to all the parents who did the long drive and came along to support the team, and of course to the players who played without exception with a good attitude and kept trying even with the odds against them.

Gavin Collings

County Junior Team Report (2011/2012 Season)

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May 112012

The County Juniors played their matches in Divsion 2D over two days, at Cippenham on 21st Jan and the 17th March.  On balance it’s fair to say that the team put in a good performance, especially considering that almost all players were of Cadet age and many of the top ranked boys were unavailable.

In January, the team of Jack Collings, Ben Roberts, Joe Constable, Margaret Pang, Katie Trinder took on three of the weaker sides in the division.  A hesitant start against Oxford saw Jack pick up two and Ben make a good start with a valuable win.   The girls made a hesitant start leaving the team with 7-3 loss.  Sussex III were next and Gloucestershire managed to narrow the gap to gain 4 points this time, both girls picking up a point.  Last match of the day was against Wiltshire where Jack just managed to overcome old adversary Lee Philips to gain 100% for the day, while the girls also got 4 out of 4 to give the team a 6-4 win.

In March, the day was tougher as the three strongest teams were left to play, and due to a late drop-out we travelled with only two boys, Jack Collings and Ben Roberts accompanied this time by Margaret Pang and Beth Williams.  The team put up a strong fight however, and especially the girls seemed to gain noticeably in strength as the day progressed.  In the first match against Bucks, Jack and Margaret managed a point each, but were unable to stop an 8-2 defeat.  Next match was against division Winners Middlesex II which saw the match of the day between Jack and old rival, Middlesex number 1, David Rahbani where Jack was able to reverse a previous result and come out on top 11-9 in the 5th to gain the only point for the team.  The last match against Surrey II saw a strong team performance which saw Gloucestershire finish on 4 points against a very strong team with 3 points coming from Beth and Margaret.

The final position was second from bottom of the divsion with some hope that this young team can make progress over the coming years.

Gavin Collings