English Championships: BAGGALEY claims third senior title
07/03/2010 – Andrew BAGGALEY defeats Liam PITCHFORD in an epic final 4-3 (11-5, 7-11, 7-11. 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8)11of the men’s Singles Event at the English National Championships. Play began pretty evenly until PITCHFORD gifts BAGGALEY a h
07/03/2010 – Andrew BAGGALEY defeats Liam PITCHFORD in an epic final 4-3 (11-5, 7-11, 7-11. 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8)11of the men’s Singles Event at the English National Championships. Play began pretty evenly until PITCHFORD gifts BAGGALEY a host of points, allowing him to take the first end 11-5. BAGGALEY returns the favour in the second which PITCHFORD capitalizes on to make it 1 game all. A failed drop shot from BAGGALEY in the third, and the crowd erupt, this gives PITCHFORD the momentum to take it all the way to 10-7, followed by some extremely powerful attacks, driving BAGGALEY right to the barriers until he could no longer return them. 2-1 to PITCHFORD.
The fourth set was extremely close, it could have gone either way, but again it goes to the Derbyshire player, PITCHFORD. Baggaley starts the fifth well, going 6-2 up, dominating proceedings, he only lets PITCHFORD get 5 points on the board, finishing it off with a fast return down the edge of the table, keeping himself in contention.There were more mind games coming from BAGGALEY end of the table, PITCHFORD seemed pretty immune until this point. BAGGALEY levels the score at 3-3.Baggaley gaining a lead in the latter part of the seventh end, gave PITCHFORD a task that was just too hard, sealing victory at 11-8 and claiming his third senior national title of his career.
Back up to full fitness and training as well as she ever has, Kelly SIBLEY still faces a big task to reclaim her title, having faced 5 months without even hitting a ball, whilst her sparing and doubles partner, who has always been her biggest opponent at the nationals, upped her game and worked hard on her attack. This is a hard match to call. Attack verses defence, combined with two players that know each others games inside out, made for long rallies.
PARKER appeared to be on top in a battle that in the past SIBLEY would normally be favoured. PARKER took the first two before gifted a few to Sibley in the third, taking advantage of this, Sibley brought it back to 2-1, a close fourth went back to Parker before cleaning up in the fifth and retaining her title. Joanna PARKER bt. Kelly SIBLEY 4-1 (13-11, 11-6, 9-11, 13-11, 11-5)
Having knocked him out of the singles, Liam PITCHFORD needs to try it all again when teamed with Gavin EVANS he faces DRINKHALL and KNIGHT in the doubles final. Again PITCHFORD and EVANS enter as underdogs, but that is a tag they seem to be relishing at the moment. Pushing each other all the way, both sides being are being stretched and loosing their footings. PITCHFORD/EVANS take fist blood, 12-10, followed by the second.
DRINKHALL/KNIGHT pull one back to make it 2-1 and save some face, but it was too little too late, as the top two juniors depose the top two seniors. DRINKHALL has been champion since 2006, winning once with Alan COOKE and three times with Darius KNIGHT, but now there is a pair on the trophy. Liam PITCHFORD/Gavin EVANS win 3-1 (12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7)
Returning to the final after missing last years due to Kelly SIBLEY’S injury, the top two England players, with a wealth of international experience and national titles face the England number 4 and 8 in the form of Karina Le FEVRE and Emma VICKERS. There is a big gap at the top of women’s table tennis in this country, so anything but a PARKER/SIBLEY victory will be a huge upset, demonstrated clearly as the first two sets go to PARKER/SIBLEY in quick succession. The third set saw closer play with Le FEVRE/VICKERS bringing it back to 10-10, before succumbing 12-10. PARKER/SIBLEY bt. LE FEVRE/VICKERS, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10
(by James CORNFORD, courtesy of ETTA)
Photo: Andrew BAGGALEY (courtesy of ITTF)