October 22nd/23rd marked the start of the Junior British League season for 2016/17, with Lillington Free Church Table Tennis Club sending a team of junior boys to the Derby Arena to compete in Division 2B.
Last season the club came away with a silver medal in Division 2B, but with two of the medal-winning side no longer able to compete in the junior events it was time to blood some new talent from the within the club ranks. Timmy Cooper, last year’s number one, has been joined by club-mates Adam Cofler, Jack Green and Lewis Singleton.
In another notable change from previous years, this season also marks the first sponsorship deal the club has managed to secure for the Junior British League competition. Locally based IT solutions provider, NS Optimum, have generously covered the cost of the team kit this season and the club is extremely grateful for their assistance.
NS Optimum are a Total IT Solutions Provider to schools and colleges throughout the UK. Since the early 1990s they have supplied thousands of schools and colleges from their wide range of products and services. They have developed long-term partnerships with schools in both the state and independent sector.
NS Optimum provides complete IT solutions to small nursery and infant schools right through to colleges, including primary, junior, middle, secondary and independent schools. They are responsible for some of the UK’s largest campus wide school networks providing in many cases a complete managed service. You can find out more about NS Optimum and the services they provide by visiting their website at www.nsoptimum.co.uk
The Lillington boys started their campaign with a match against a strong Halton side and if they were under any illusions as to the quality of opposition in the division, things were quickly cleared up and Timmy Cooper, Adam Cofler and Lewis Singleton were whitewashed 6-0. Cooper put up a good fight against Halton’s number one, Keir Morton, going the distance before the deciding fifth leg just got away from him.
Next up were Kingfisher who boasted the prodigious young talent, Jamie Liu, amongst their ranks. Cooper was first up for Lillington and failed to cope with Liu’s speed and spin in the first leg before adjusting and becoming more competitive in the ensuing legs. Liu, who represents England in the younger age groups, was just too sharp, though, and ran out a 3-1 winner.
Jack Green was brought into the side for the second match and produced some excellent play in his opener against Sam Liu, showing good touch combined with attacking intent. Green lost two close legs before taking the third, but the fourth ran away from him.
Adam Cofler also fell to Sam in four legs, and did extremely well to take the Kingfisher number one, Josh Gallen to four legs. Cooper extended Gallen to a fifth leg, which he came through to win 11-9 and pick up Lillington’s first win of the day, salvaging some pride in a 5-1 defeat.
The last match on the first day was against top-seeded Market Rasen. Rasen’s number 1, Sam Chesterman, was in imperious form as he blew away Cooper and Green 3-0. Lewis Singleton produced a fine effort against Nick Keast, taking him to a fifth leg before succumbing. Green was unfortunate not to take Rasen’s Tom McIntosh the distance, as a strong finish at the end of a competitive fourth leg gave McIntosh a 3-1 win. Cooper lost the first leg to Keast, but knuckled down to reel off the next three. Lillington leaving the match with a second 5-1 defeat.
Day two of the weekend started with a match against Ulster and Cooper got things off to a positive start with a comfortable 3-0 win against Conor Nugent, using a combination of controlled blocking and offensive top-spin from both wings.
Adam Cofler followed this up with an outstanding win against Ulster’s number 1, James Magrath. In a see-saw match, Cofler found himself 7-8 down in the deciding leg when a time-out was called from the corner. Composing himself and cutting out the cheap errors that were costing him, Cofler reeled off the next four points to put Lillington 2-0 up in the match.
Jack Green was next to step up and faced Connor Smith. Green found himself 2-1 down and squeezed home in a tight leg to go to the decider. Green’s touch play was superb and he used it to great effect, denying his opponent opportunities early in the rally and attacking first to take control of the points. Green opened up a big lead, before Smith started to narrow the gap. Another effective time-out was called to stem the come-back tide and Green went back to the table, served intelligently and finished the job 11-6.
Lillington were guaranteed at least a draw, but the win looked far from certain as Cooper couldn’t find a way past Magrath and Green found himself on the wrong end of an 11-6 fifth leg this time against Nugent. This left Cofler to play the final game of the match against Smith. After winning a tight first leg, Cofler was ominously blown away in the second. Cofler, though, stayed calm and found his attacking range to take the final two legs and give Lillington their first win of the weekend 4-2.
The final match of the weekend was against Irish Boys. It was another hard match for the Lillington boys and they found themselves 3-0 down as Green, Cooper and Singleton were defeated by Thomas Joyce, Dillon Byrne and Art Mclaughlin respectively.
Cooper stemmed the tide with a win over Joyce – four 11-9 legs being shared, before Cooper came through a tense decider 17-15 to notch one on the board for Lillington.
A draw was still possible, but it wasn’t to be as Green and Lewis fell to Mclaughlin and Byrne in straight sets, leaving the final result as another 5-1 defeat.
At the end of the weekend, Lillington sit in 5th place in the table on two points; two above Ulster and two below Irish Boys. Halton lead the way with nine points, followed by Market Rasen (eight) and Kingfisher (7).
The Lillington boys fought hard all weekend and they will doubtless learn from the experience, looking to come back stronger for the second weekend, taking place in January.
Photo – Lillington FC JBL squad members (L-R) Adam Cofler, Lewis Singleton and Jack Green, with Director of Coaching, Chris Mulligan, presenting a team shirt, signed by England No.1, Kelly Sibley, to Rob Smith, Sales Manager, of NS Optimum, Lillington FC TTC JBL 2016/17 Team Sponsors.
Chris Mulligan is selling a Jan Ove Waldner World Champion 89 special edition blade by Donic.
Top workmanship, made in Germany. The new World Champion 89 blade series is exceptional. It celebrates the 25th anniversary of Sweden winning the World Championships Team title in Dortmund in 1989 (in a historic 5-0 final win against China). DONIC is exclusively producing three new blades in Germany, in honour of the legends Jan-Ove Waldner, Jörgen Persson und Mikael Appelgren. Hand crafted and employing the most modern precision and technical know-how, in acknowledgement of the supreme mastery with which the Swedish Superstars played. This is a fast blade but with great feel and ease of control. Designed for players who require a balance between speed and control.
The weekend of 10th/11th September saw Lillington Free Church Table Tennis Club compete in the Senior British League, the top team competition in the country, for the first time in their history.
Last year’s silver medal winning trio in the Junior British League, Timmy Cooper, Lee Dorning and Sam Weaving, have been joined by club-mates Sam Wiggins and Tom Brocklehurst and will enter the Senior British League in Division C-3, playing their matches over four weekends throughout the season at Draycott & Long Eaton Table Tennis Club.
The side has been fortunate enough to secure a generous sponsorship deal from Bidford-on-Avon based engineering company, Fulcro, for the 2016/17 season.
Fulcro is an innovative, creative engineering team. They offer a bespoke service that includes Building Information Modelling (BIM) and 3D/4D digital prototype and design detailing, also known as Virtual Design and Construction.
Working closely with their clients, they combine data and technology to provide detailed plans based on accurate timelines. In this way they are able to add value and efficiency to building and construction projects, and reduce risk.
Their team has a wealth of experience, having worked in the UK and abroad on award-winning green public buildings, multi-use developments, historical architecture and listed buildings. They have also collaborated on complex and time-critical projects, including the 2012 Olympic Stadium and the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station.
Fulcro are currently looking for apprentices across the business and anyone interested should contact the HR department at the Wixford office on +44 (0)1789 490000.
The Lillington team got off to a solid start on the first day of the weekend, facing Newcastle-based side, Mount, in their debut fixture and running out 7-3 winners. Lee Dorning got them off to a flying start with a 3-0 win against defender, Duncain Wraight, before Sam Weaving and Sam Wiggins extended the lead with wins over brothers Lee and Dean Eadington respectively.
Mount got on the scoreboard when Peter Smallcombe beat Tom Brocklehurst in five close sets before the match progressed to two games of doubles which were shared between the two sides.
In the four remaining singles, Dorning and Weaving both won their second games of the match against Lee Eadington and Smallcombe, and Brocklehurst notched his first against Dean Eddington, with Wiggins just failing to find a way past Wraight.
Match number two was against one of the host club’s teams, XLNT Draycott V. Draycott got off to a fast start as the wily Malcolm Truman baffled Weaving for two legs before completing a closer third to put Draycott 1-0 up.
The next two games were shared. Dorning recovering from a first set loss to hit back against chopper, Gareth Hickling, and Brocklehurst losing out to Jack Finney. Lillington then went of a run of four unanswered points to move from 1-2 down to 5-1 up. Wiggins beat Lauren Evans and combined with Brocklehurst to take a doubles against Evans and Finney. Weaving and Dorning registered another doubles win, which was followed up by a Dorning singles win over Truman.
Left-hander, Finney, picked up his second win of the match by beating Weaving, before Wiggins (coming from 1-2 down to win in 5) beat Hicking and Brocklehurst wrapped up another 7-3 win with a straight sets victory over Evans.
Day two saw Timmy Cooper join the quartet and he got off to a good start against Halton III, beating Anthony Whelan in five sets, which put Lillington 2-0 up as Dorning had previously beaten Ryan Lunn in four.
Proceedings then took a downward turn for Lillington, losing five consecutive games as Brocklehurst and Weaving lost singles to Olivier Barthelemy and Bethany Farnworth, both doubles slipped away, and Lunn beat Cooper.
Dorning stopped the rot with a confident win over Barthelemy and Weaving recovered from an opening set loss to beat Whelan in four. Unfortunately, Brocklehurst was unable to capitalise on a first set win against Farnworth and Lillington lost the match 4-6.
The final match of the weekend was against Drumchapel Glasgow III and Lillington were once more on the wrong end of a close 6-4 match. Scot, Keir Morton, was in imperious form and won both his singles against Cooper and Dorning with some accurate, powerful play despite being tested by both.
Cooper and Dorning both won their other singles, though, against Zaid Khalid and Danny Bajwa, but lost the tightest of doubles 12-10 in the fifth.
Weaving and Wiggins fared better in their doubles, again in five sets, but this time Lillington took the important decider comfortably. Weaving picked up a singles win against Zaid Khalid for Lillington’s fourth and final point of the match.
Lillington ended the weekend in fourth place in the table, with four points from their two wins and two draws, a point behind Ormesby IV, three behind Drumchapel III and four behind Halton III. With ten matches still to play over the rest of the season, they will hope to make inroads into those leads and put themselves in a position to challenge for the top two slots by the end of the second weekend, taking place on 12th/13th November.
Photo – Lillington SBL squad members, Sam Wiggins (R) and Timmy Cooper presenting a team shirt, signed by England No.1, Kelly Sibley, to Neil Nickless, CDS & BIM Team Leader, of Fulcro, Lillington TTC SBL 2016/17 Team Sponsors.