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Aldworth made great debut in national table tennis league
8:00pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Sport
ALDWORTH Table Tennis Club made a brilliant debut in the English Table Tennis Association’s Senior British League.
The team are competing in Division Four South/East, which is the fifth tier of the National League pyramid.
It is the first time any club from Basingstoke has competed in the league in it’s current format.
The squad of Jonny Evans, Ed Slot, Steve Murgatroyd, 14-year-old Ben Cawston and captain Patrick Garlick travelled to London in the hope of getting off to a good start as four of the 14 matches in the league are played on the first of four weekends throughout the season.
In each match, teams select four players from their squad and order them by ranking.
Each player plays two of their opponents, making eight games in total, with one point being awarded for a draw and two points for a win.
Aldworth’s first game was against the hosts, London Academy, who were made up of a mixture of strong youth and senior players, including the former British under-13 girls number one Hiba Feredj.
Despite Evans being pushed all the way to a deciding set in the first game of the match against London’s number two Charlie Austen, he came out on top.
Aldworth were too strong for their opponents overall as Evans, Slot, Cawston and Garlick took two wins each for a convincing 8-0 win to take an early lead at the top-of-the-table.
The afternoon game was a local derby against Kingfisher from Reading.
Garlick lost the team’s only two games of the match as he went down in five sets to Kingfisher’s number three Sanga Quamina and in four sets to the number four James Olsson.
But Aldworth’s overall class shone through as Evans, Slot and Cawston took the other six games with relative ease – but results elsewhere put the team into second place on games difference.
The following morning two time Basingstoke men’s singles champion Steve Murgatroyd joined up with the team in what was shaping up to be the more difficult day of the two.
The first match was against Survey Initiative Rowhedge who were mid table after day one.
Evans won the opener for Aldworth but Slot suffered an agonising defeat in a five-set thriller with Rowhedge’s number one Rik James to level the scores at 1-1.
However, Aldworth picked themselves up and, with the help of Murgatroyd and Cawston, won all six of the remaining games fairly comfortably to take a 7-1 victory and return to the top of the table on games difference.
The final match of the weekend was against Horsham Spinners, the team currently level on points with Aldworth.
This was team’s toughest match, not only of the weekend but perhaps of the whole season.
Horsham Spinners’ number 1 was ranked approximately 100 places higher in the country than Aldworth’s Evans and Slot but both Aldworth players caused big upsets, each winning in five sets to claim vital points for their team.
Despite Murgatroyd going down in two close games to Horsham’s Rory Scott and Steve Pound, Cawston won his two to join Evans on a 100 per cent record for the weekend which helped Aldworth to a 6-2 win over their nearest rivals to go two points clear at the top of the table.
The team will hope to build on their fantastic start to the season when they return to London on December 14 and 15 for the second weekend of matches.
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