No repeat title, but Liam is MVP again

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Please note - this news article was published more than two years ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

Liam Pitchford’s Falcons were beaten in the final of the Ultimate Table Tennis league but the English No 1 was named the series’ Most Valuable Player for the second year running.

Falcons went down 11-7 to Dabang Smashers in Kolkata, despite Pitchford winning his match to finish the tournament with only one defeat.

Smashers set down an early marker when Manika Batra beat Matilda Ekholm 3-0 (11-8, 11-10, 11-9) and went on to win the first three matches by a combined 7-2 margin.

Falcons captain Pitchford stopped the rot in Match 4 as he did what England’s footballers could not at the World Cup by beating Belgium – in this case Cedric Nuytinck – 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 11-7).

Bernadette Szocs then won 2-1 against Adriana Diaz to pull it back to 9-6 but when Sathiyan Gnanasekaran defeated Alvaro Robles 2-1 in Match 6, Smashers had an unassailable 11-7 lead.

Pitchford did at least have the consolation of being named Most Valuable Player (Male) to repeat his feat from last year.

In the semi-finals, Pitchford had lost his only match of the series as he was edged out by Sweden’s World No 18 Mattias Karlsson 2-1 (11-10, 9-11, 10-11).

But Falcons recovered to beat RP-SG Mavericks 11-10 when Ekholm beat Ayhika Mukherjee 3-0 in the final match.

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