Liam pitches in with a Euro win

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CHESTERFIELD’S Liam Pitchford and Northampton’s helped get England’s European Championship campaign off to an encouraging start on the opening day of competition in Herning.

Pitchford held off a strong fightback to defeat Poland’s Jakub Dyjas 11-6 11-8 9-11 7-11 11-6, while team-mate Baggaley was an 11-9 9-11 11-7 13-11 winner over Belgium’s Julien Indeherberg in Denmark.

Earlier, Pitchford had partnered Teessider Paul Drinkhall to doubles victories over Finland’s Roope Kantola and Benedek Olah, and the Slovakian pair of Samuel Novota and Peter Sereda.

Baggaley, partnered by Portugal’s Andre Silva, won a deciding set victory over Ukraine’s Ivan Katkov and Oleksandr Didukh, while British duo Darius Knight and Daniel Reed won two games against pairs from Belarus and Romania respectively.

Knight and Reed endured mixed fortunes in their singles openers, with Knight beating Kasper Sternberg in five sets while Reed went down to Czech Tomas Tregler.

In the women’s singles, Kelly Sibley bounced back from an early defeat to Romania’s Cristina Hiraci to beat Maryia Kuchuk of Belarus in the evening sesion, while Joanna Parker won two out of two against opponents from Kosovo and Slovenia respectively.