Pitchford retains national title

English National Table Tennis Championships at Ponds Forge,,,,,Mens Singles Liam Pitchford

English National Table Tennis Championships at Ponds Forge,,,,,Mens Singles Liam Pitchford

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Liam Pitchford successfully defended his men’s singles title at the 55th English national table tennis championships with a 4-2 win over four time champion Paul Drinkhall.

The 20 year old from Chesterfield who plays for the Ochsenhausen club in the German league, provided a display of power, finesse and the class which has elevated him to a world ranking of 55.

Earlier, the rivals had combined to retain the doubles title with a tight 3-2 victory over Darius Knight and Andy Baggeley.

Joanna Drinkhall nee Parker, overcame her England colleague and defending champion Kelly Sibley, to take the women’s crown for a third time.

Joanna’s defensive wall proved too strong to breach for the Warwickshire based No 1 seed, as she went down 4-2 in an absorbing contest. The pair had earlier teamed up to win the doubles event for a sixth time, at the expense of the teenage stars Tin Tin Ho (15) and seventeen year old Maria Tsaptsinos from Berkshire.

On Saturday, Worksop’s Sam Walker (18) shook off the disappointment of surrendering his under 21’s crown during Friday night, as he combined with the Middlesex prodigy TinTin Ho, to become the English national mixed doubles champions. The former Vulcan star, who now plies his trade in Germany, helped steer the youngsters to their first senior national success in Sheffield, with a 3-0 win over David McBeath & Emma Vickers, 12-10, 11-5, 11-4.

Earlier the duo had created shock waves with a 3-2 win over second seeds and former champions Paul and Joanna Drinkhall.

Further local success came in the group matches of the ladies singles when Sheffield ladies champion Sarah Short (Notts and Vulcan Redtooth) fought valiantly to win through what was arguably the toughest of sections, to beat the three other contenders in sets which all went the distance.

Her reward was a last 16 berth to face the seventh seed Yolanda King, who unfortunately proved too strong for Sarah, winning 4-1.

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