Rheinbrohl Germany: Matthew earns high praise in the Brohler Cup
On 29th August 2014, Matthew Daish (13) participated in the Brohler Cup, a biennial tournament which took place in Rheinbrohl, Germany. The tournament attracts some of the best players from the surrounding region with an 800 euro prize fund. This was Matthew’s first experience of playing in a tournament outside the UK.
Prior to the tournament, Matthew had been invited to join club training in Adenau who play in the Bezirksliga, roughly equivalent to a strong Premier Division side in the Bournemouth league but some 5 leagues below the German Table Tennis Bundesliga. The difference of standard and technique was apparent from the start as Matthew struggled to get to grips with opponents’ styles and spin, losing all his matches. A few days later Matthew was invited back to the Adenauer club for further training and he proved that he was able to adapt by winning his matches.
Matthew then attended training at Rheinbrohl TTC, the Brohler Cup hosts who play in the Verbandsliga – two divisions higher than Adenau. He received a warm welcome, encouragement and help from the members.
Matthew took part in both the singles and doubles events and was the youngest competitor by several years so the odds were against him right from the start. The group stage proved fairly comfortable for Matthew, ending up as runner up in his group. In the knockout stage he fell 2-0 behind to a very strong female player Kathrin Schwierz (who later won in the doubles) but the New Milton table tennis club player fought back to win the match 3-2.
In the quarter-finals match, Matthew faced Mathias Caspari and the gulf in class between this player and the others Matthew had faced previously was apparent from the start. Caspari – who had just beaten one of the tournament favourites -stormed into a comfortable 2-0 lead. Matthew looked beaten but then Raphael Scharrenbach (Publicity Officer for the Rheinbrohl club) offered Matthew some coaching and Matthew raised his game with some of the best table tennis he has ever played to pull the match back to 2-2. The momentum was with the 13 year old but he started the 5th end poorly, leaving him 9-3 down. He managed to climb back to 9-7 but Caspari’s greater experience carried him over the line and he won the last end 11-8, knocking Matthew out of the tournament.
In the doubles event, Matthew and his doubles partner Daniel Dechert crushed everyone in their path until the semi-finals match which took place at half past midnight! Their form deserted them at the wrong moment and they were comfortably beaten.
As a thank you gift for taking part, Matthew was given a scarf with the Rheinbrohl TTC’s colours and logo and was told that he would be welcome to play in their A team in the Verbandsliga when in Germany. Before leaving he was also introduced to the Mayor of the local area Verbandsbürgermeister Michael Mahlert, who was a guest of honour.
Matthew would like to thank both the Adenauer and Rheinbrohler table tennis clubs for generously allowing him to train with them, for their support and kindness.