A Grand Day Out
On Sunday 2/3/13 Matthew and Peter Daish were dragged out of bed at 6.30 in the morning; they donned their New Milton shirts, and along with their coach Phil Handy travelled up to Cirencester for the Gloucester 2* tournament. This was a strong event with the likes of Finn Morgan-Bayliss, George Haskell, Carl Baldry, Jonny Higgins, Oliver Tyndall and the highest ranked player Alex Ramsden.
Peter was drawn in a very difficult group in the U15 competition and, despite showing very good form in the Bournemouth League recently, made a slow start and did not really get his game going until it was too late, getting knocked out in the group stage. Also in the U15’s, Matthew was much sharper than usual and cruised through his group dropping only two games. The next round brought up a match with coaching partner Artur Caltabiano from Southampton Waterside. Matthew quickly fell behind 2-0 to the left-hander and looked to be going out. Some firm words of advice from Phil proved invaluable and Matthew was able to claw his way back into the match. It was desperate, nail- biting stuff, but Matthew held his nerve and won through in the end, 3-2.
Gloucester 2 Star – Under 13 Semi-Final Clip
In the next round there followed a remarkable match with Carl Baldry from Cornwall – 40 places above Matthew in the rankings with a tremendous forehand. Thanks to some wise coaching from Phil and some great skill at the table, Matthew totally blew his opponent away in an often ill- tempered match, winning 3-0. Unfortunately, this win then brought on a semi-final appearance against the number one seed Alex Ramsden. Ramsden has always had the better of Matthew in past meetings and so it was in this match. Matthew looked resigned to losing even before the match began and lost 3-0 without putting up much fight. Ramsden then went on to beat Finn 3-2 in the final.
After lunch the U-13 competition got under way. Once again a very strong field of entries was present. Matthew started well and won his group but not without some firm coaching from Phil! His quarter-final match turned out to be a comfortable 3-0 walkover. Once again an unfavourable draw led to another semi-final against Ramsden. This time Matthew was much more confident in his approach and he put pressure on Ramsden from the start. Ramsden was clearly in some difficulties and frequently looked to his corner for help, but at a few critical moments Matthew – desperate to beat Ramsden for the first time – tried just a bit too hard and lost points he should have won. In the end Ramsdens’ very consistent technique proved the deciding factor and he won 3-2. Ramsden then went on to win the final against Caltabiano 3-0.
In the end there were no medals for either boys but there was some great table tennis on show and some confidence boosting performances. The mood on the drive home was very positive and had a feeling of a day well spent. Many thanks to Phil for giving up his valuable time and being there when needed and also to Adam Proszko who has done a great job improving Matthew’s game in just a short space of time.