Day two – top stars take to the table

Author:
Paul Stimpson and Francesca Bullock

Publish date:

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The big guns are entering the fray as the PG Mutual National Championships enters day two.

Defending champions Paul Drinkhall and Tin-Tin Ho take to the tables for the first time, as do Liam Pitchford and Kelly Sibley.

And there is the added attraction of the return of Jo Drinkhall to competition for the first time since 2014, alongside Paul in the Mixed and Sibley in the Women’s.

Meanwhile, Paralympic and world champion Will Bayley heads the list of athletes who will compete in the Para classes in Nottingham tomorrow.

The 29-year-old men’s class 7 world No 1 will take on his British team-mates Aaron McKibbin (class 8), Billy Shilton (class 8) and David Wetherill (class 6) in the men’s 6-8 event and has already been in winning form this season, completing a clean sweep in the class 7 singles, open standing singles and open standing doubles in the Draycott Para Open earlier this month.

Bayley said:

“It was really good to get some match practice in as I’ve been doing a lot of training but haven’t played many matches. I’m really looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd at the Nationals and it will be good to play well and try and impress them so I’m looking to win if I can.

“It is hard to compete against my team-mates – we all know each other’s styles of play inside out which makes the games closer, so you have to play as well as you can but you know it can go either way – you just have to try and do what you can to win the match.”

The para events will also feature classes 3-5 and 9-10 with some of England’s most promising young Pathway athletes taking on the more experienced Performance squad.

McKibbin, Shilton and Wetherill will fly back from the Italian Open to compete in Nottingham. Wetherill said:

“I’m really looking forward to the Nationals. People in the UK hear what we are doing but they don’t get the opportunity to see us play too often. I really want to go there in good shape and try and play my best because I think that is important.

“I’m looking to try and win because I know on my day I can compete but it is going to be difficult so we’ll see what happens. First and foremost it will be nice to put on a good show for the public.”

Click here to follow all of the action and watch live.

Saturday’s live streaming schedule

9am Mixed Doubles – Quarter-final – David McBeath & Emma Vickers v Shaquille Webb-Dixon & Emily Bolton

9.30 Men’s Singles – Last 16 – Sam Walker vs Craig Bryant

10.15 Women’s Singles – Last 16 – Cherith Graham vs Yolanda King

11.00 U21 Men’s Singles – Quarter-final – TBC

11.45 – Mixed Doubles – Quarter-final – TBC

12.15 PARA – Class 6-8 – Aaron McKibbin vs Billy Shilton

12.45 Men’s Doubles – Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford vs Matt Ware & Luke Savill

13.45 U21 Women’s Singles – Semi-final – TBC

14.30 U21 Men’s Singles – Semi-final – TBC

15.15 Mixed Doubles – Semi-final – TBC

16.15 Men’s Singles – Quarter-final – TBC

17.00 Women’s Singles – Quarter-final – TBC

17.45 Men’s Singles – Quarter-final – TBC

18.30 Women’s Singles – Quarter-final – TBC

19.15 U21 Men’s Singles – Final

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