Horsham Qualify for Junior British League!

Steve Pound, Rory Scott, Daniel Pound, Mark Collins and Erik Van-Mol


Horsham Qualify for Junior British League!


Horsham Table Tennis Club entered a team into the Junior British League qualification event on Saturday 17th July in Grantham, mainly for the experience, with very low expectations of actually getting through to play in Junior British League proper. JBL is a high level & above the level of National Junior League & National Cadet League, which the players were used to. The team consisted of Daniel Pound, Erik Van-Mol & Mark Collins, all of whom live in the Horsham area & are products of the Coaching system in Horsham TTC. The team is pictured with Club Coaches Steve Pound (far left) & Rory Scott. The team was put in Group 4 & rated as the 4th highest team in the group out of 5 teams, based on National rankings. There were 20 teams in total in the competition & only 7 spaces in the JBL. Groups winners automatically went through & runners-up & 3rd placed teams battled it out for the remaining 3 places.


The first match played could not have gone any better with Horsham beating St. Mary’s Hull 6-0! The 2nd match was vs group favourites Cliffedale Chandlers of Grantham. The matches in this encounter did not go Horsham’s way, with Daniel losing 2 close 5-set matches & Mark losing a close match, having had a no. of game points in 2 of the games he lost. They eventually lost 6-0 & Cliffedale went on to win the group & thus automatically qualify for the JBL. Their 3rd match was vs the 2nd highest team in the group (Halton TTC based in Widnes) & not much was expected of them, having been soundly beaten by Cliffedale. However, they won this match 4-2, with Mark playing well above his ranking & gaining 2 unexpected wins & Erik & Dan winning once each.


The final group match was a thriller. It was vs Crusaders, a club based in Wallington, Surrey. Daniel won a 5 set match vs promising U11 player, Liam Grant & Erik lost his 1st match. Mark won his match 3-1 & then Daniel won his 2nd match. Mark then had a great match vs Liam, but played poorly in the 5th set & lost. Therefore the score stood at 3-2 to Horsham. Erik needed to win the final match for Horsham to finish 2nd in the group-otherwise it would be a count-back for 2nd place. It didn’t look good when he went 2-0 down & looked out of it, but somehow he picked himself up & turned it around winning the next 2 games & finally scraping through 13-11 in the 5th set to get the win for Horsham.


That meant Horsham progressed to the quarter finals, where they played the Tunbridge Wells-based team, Byng Hall. On paper it looked like a 2-1 win for Horsham, but it was not as easy as that. Mark had a good 3-1 win & Erik lost, so it was down to Daniel to clinch the win. He was playing the no. 3 in England U11, Luke Savill & of course it went to 5 sets. It was a fantastic game with great rallies. An opportune time-out at 8-6 up & the match was won 11-6. Dan was clearly pleased with the result, as was the rest of the team.


Now they were in the semi-finals. A win here & Horsham would be guaranteed a spot in JBL proper to join Horsham’s 2 other teams, which already had their JBL places from the previous season. They faced another Kent team, Medway. Again it was felt that the match could be won 2-1 if Mark & Dan won. However, it did not turn out that way & Mark lost a player only just above him in the rankings, but Erik had a very good 3-0 win (12-10, 12-10, 11-9) vs a higher ranked player, despite playing a defensive game, which is not his usual style. 1-1 so again it was down to Dan to pull the team through & again his match went the distance. It was tighter in the 5th set this time, but the rallies were great & went on & on, mainly with Daniel attacking & moving the ball around the table really well. It went to 9-9 with Dan serving. 2 points to Dan & Horsham had qualified for JBL! Dan jumped for joy punching the air, having won that match.


This is a great achievement & the first time a team consisting solely of Horsham based players has qualified for the JBL! Daniel won 7/10 matches playing at the difficult no. 1 position, Erik won 5/10 at no. 2 & Mark won 6/10 at no. 3.


Rory Scott

Craig Bryant
July 22, 2010