Campaigns close in Dortmund

Author:
Russell Moore

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Three successive last match victories for Joanna Parker

England’s men’s and women’s team both finished victorious in their final fixtures at the 2012 Liebherr World Team Table Tennis Championships with respective triumphs over Egypt and Slovenia.

The men faced Egypt for a second time after they had already beaten them 3-1 in the group stages and this time, they were even more convincing in a 3-0 win.

Liam Pitchford once again beat Omar Assar to give the team the perfect start, which was quickly cemented by Daniel Reed who won his third match out of three when he raced to a 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-5) triumph against Ahmed Ali Saleh, who is ranked over 100 places above Reed.

The win was secured by National Champion Paul Drinkhall, who fell 2-0 behind to Mohamed El-Beiali before storming back to win 3-2 after taking the final three successive games – in the process allowing England to finish 29th overall at the WTTTC.

Although the men have missed out on automatic promotion, they can still play in the Championship Division in Tokyo 2014 if their overall world ranking raises above those in the bottom six of this year’s top league. The next two years will prove crucial for the English players as the team rankings are based on individual player world rankings.

Meanwhile, England’s women also won their last match when they beat Slovenia 3-2. It came down to two victories for English number 1 Joanna Parker who beat both Alex Galic (406) and Nina Pavlin (592) to gift England the win.

With Kelly Sibley rested from her hip injury it gave Jessica Dawson a chance to play two fixtures although once again, both of those ended in defeat for the inexperienced youngster.

It didn’t matter in the end though as Hannah Hicks was gifted a concession at 4-1 in the first end in game three so, for the third match in a row, it came down to Parker to seal the win and, for a third match in a row, she duly delivered with a 3-0 win against Pavlin to secure 37th place for the women.

Now the players will focus on the Olympics with six British players heading to the European Olympic Qualifiers in Luxembourg in April. Drinkhall, Pitchford and Parker who played today will be joined by Andrew Baggaley, Kelly Sibley and Liu Na to fight for automatic qualification to this summer’s big event in London.

Men

England 3-0 Egypt

L Pitchford bt Omar Assar (145) 3-1 (11-5, 1-11, 13-11, 11-9)

D Reed bt Ahmed Ali Saleh (121) 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-5)

P Drinkhall bt Mohamed El-Beiali (324) 3-2 (9-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8)

Women

England 3–2 Slovenia

Nina Pavlin (592) bt J Dawson 3-1 (11-6, 11-9, 3-11, 11-5)

J Parker bt Alex Galic (406) 3-1 (11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4)

H Hicks bt Manca Fajmut (362) 4-1 conceded

Alex Galic bt J Dawson 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-3)

J Parker bt Nina Pavlin 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-7)

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