Oxford Inter League Report
Oxford Inter League Report by John Birkin
Oxford carried off both trophies from SundayÔÇÖs Oxfordshire Inter-League Tournament at South Moreton School.
The Oxford junior trio of Jonah Stott, Anthony Howgego and Tom Marrs carried all before them in
the county Inter-league trophy held at South Moreton, defeating Banbury 6-1, Didcot (the holders)
7-0 and the Rest of Oxfordshire 7-0.
University no 1, Jing Yu Sun, teamed up with Gareth Hayward and Dawn Pearce to defeat
Didcot (4-3), Banbury (4-3) and Rest of Oxfordshire (7-0) in the senior competition.
Dawn won all her ladiesÔÇÖ singles, although Sindy Li, representing Didcot, took her to
11-9 in the 5th and also teamed up with Craige Campbell to defeat Dawn and Jing in mixed doubles.
Lianne Fisher (Banbury!) made her mark with a hard fought victory over Sindy
(11-7 in the 5th) but later lost to Birgit Muller (RoOx), who was also making her debut in
Anne Borrowdale finished the day strongly, with her expertise in mixed doubles
carrying the Rest of Oxfordshire into 2nd place, ahead of Didcot.
In the MenÔÇÖs events Craige scored spectacular wins over Jing Yu Sun and Gareth Hayward but
lost out to Glen Freeman (RoOx) over five games. Mark Scott (RoOx) also had match points against
Jing, before going down 10-12 in the 5th.
For Banbury, Gary Jackson and Jason Tustain were blitzed in their first match by Craige and
Joe Cheong of Didcot, and left it till late in the day to find any form, but then gave Oxford a very close
call by taking three of the four menÔÇÖs singles.
In the junior event, while Oxford were sweeping aside Rest of Oxfordshire (7-0), Banbury were
involved in a protracted struggle against the holders, Didcot: wins for Michael Harrison, Dominic de Groote
and Jack Shardlow put them in a commanding position, but Didcot kept themselves alive by winning the doubles
from a game down and Charlie Lane and David Smart then set things up for a grand finale by winning their
second singles matches.
This left Nathan Cheong to win the match for Didcot, with some big hitting finally penetrating the athletic
defences of Jack Shardlow in an epic duel which finished 17-15, 8-11, 13-15, 11-8, 11-7.
Oxford v Didcot started off in similar vein, with Tom Marrs prevailing over David in five close games, at
which point 12 year old Jonah Stott began to exert his influence for Oxford with an equally tight five game
victory over Nathan.
Charlie looked to steady the ship for Didcot against Oxford no 1 Anthony Howgego: this was a titanic struggle
with some big forehands from Charlie and fine counter-hitting from Anthony: it was decided when at 13-11, 13-15,
11-8, 8-11, 16-15 AnthonyÔÇÖs forehand push dribbled over the net, the ultimate frustration for his opponent!
From here Oxford never looked back, defeating the holders 7-0.
A very youthful Rest of Oxfordshire side took some heavy defeats, but Chad Silk (13) competed well, winning six
games, and Simon Price (12) threatened to steal the whole show by beating our no 1 ranked County junior, Michael
3-0 and also a tiring Nathan at 11-9 in the 5th. Simon is a fine competitor and it doesnÔÇÖt take much imagination
to picture these two youngsters along with Jonah and James Rowan (13) going on to greater things in the future.
Banbury still had a chance in their final match against Oxford and levelled it at 1-1, when Dominic beat Jonah.
Anthony then had another large battle on his hands, recovering manfully from a deficit of two games to one to beat
Michael 11-9 in the 5th. The doubles is often important and here Tom/Jonah were down 6-11, 9-11 but won the next
three 6, 5, 5. In the next singles a fading Jonah (this is a long day and most players fade towards the end!)
nevertheless always looked to have the beating of JackÔÇÖs defence with his fluent forehand hitting and he finally
put the match to bed for Oxford at 11-7 in the 5th. Anthony and Tom, still intent on preserving their unbeaten records,
brought the proceedings to a resounding close with a 6-1 victory, thus consigning Banbury to 3rd place behind Didcot.
This was an excellent seven hours of table tennis: match of the day was Craige v Jing Yu, two brilliant attacking
players in full flow, Trinidad versus China in South Oxfordshire! Only one yellow card was issued (and this merely
in jest!) Good sportsmanship prevailed and I was pleased to observe that at various points of the day the three most
frustrated juniors wisely left the hall to vent a bit of anger on the playground after their most acute disappointments!
Special thanks to Paul Cheong and his willing helpers from Moreton TTC for setting up the whole arena and reconstituting
it for school duty at the end, tasks without which none of the excitement recounted above could have occurred.