DOUBLE GOLD FOR SHAUN!
As some of you may know, our club chairman Shaun Newcomb is the regional disability coach for the South and South East; the monthly training sessions for the squad are held at the disability sports club “SportsAble” in Maidenhead, Berkshire. On the weekend of 23/24th November, SportsAble held their inaugural Disability Grand Prix tournament at the nearby Cippenham Table Tennis Club’s premises near Slough.
As Shaun puts it, “…although I am more focussed on the coaching these days, I still enjoy entering the national disability events as firstly they’re fun and a chance to catch up with old friends and second, it keeps the young players on their toes!”
On day one of the competition were the class competitions where you only play people with similar disability levels and one of Shaun’s “pupils” Nicko Anderson from London, who won the wheelchair event at this year’s Sainsbury’s School Games caught Shaun napping to record his first ever win over his coach – and it was an emphatic 3-0!
“I hadn’t realised just how much Nicko had improved” said Shaun and with that loss Shaun had to work hard to gain the bronze medal in his class.
On Sunday, better prepared, Shaun has to face young Nicko again in the round robin stage of the prestigious Open tournament; said Shaun “Fortunately this time I managed to scrape it 3-2 and won my group, so avoiding a couple of players in other groups who I have struggled against” “Nicko was playing like a demon and also beat two of these other players in the latter stages, thus helping me out!!”
The final therefore saw Shaun and Nicko battling it out and although each set was very tough, Shaun drew on his experience of the big final and triumphed 3-0. Shaun pictured below with far left Nicko Anderson and immediate left President of SportsAble John Jenkins.
With his doubles partner Jack Pegram from Watford, Shaun also went on to win the doubles, beating the Welsh pair of Ashley Davies and Thomas Matthews, who had knocked out Newcomb and Pegram in the quarter finals at their last meeting in Nottingham in June.
Shaun is off to Hong Kong next month as team manager for the INAS World Championships for players with an intellectual disability. Adam Thompson who is Great Britain’s number one player in this class was also at the SportsAble tournament at the weekend and showed good form, winning his class apparently quite comfortably.