Table tennis frustrated in semi-final defeat

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD SECONDS 7 UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 10

BUCS Northern Conference Cup Semi-final

The University of Sheffield men’s table tennis second team crashed out of the BUCS Northern Conference Cup at the semi-final stage with a defeat against the University of York firsts.

Sheffield's Kieran Guilbert can only look on in anguish as a point goes begging. Photographs by Graeme Benson

Sheffield finished as runners-up in the competition last year and they were desperate to get back to the final. However, it wasn’t to be on a very frustrating afternoon for the squad of four as they came up against a strong York team whilst having an off-day themselves.

The match consisted of sixteen games of singles and one game of doubles as all the players played against each other and Sheffield got off to a great start with Tristan Gretton winning his game against York’s fourth ranked player.

However, Sheffield’s lead didn’t last long as York came back strongly with their first and second ranked players performing well. York got themselves two games ahead and held onto their advantage at the half-way point leading 5-3, with Gretton and captain Matt Goold winning Sheffield’s other points.

It was starting to become a frustrating afternoon for the Sheffield team and it soon became visible (and audible) that they were aware they weren’t playing as well as they knew they could. This, combined with York seeming to get their fair share of luck with nets and edges at vital moments, made it feel like it wasn’t going to be Sheffield’s day.

Still, Sheffield continued to compete, Tristan won his third game in a row and Kieran Guilbert picked up a vital win to keep Sheffield in the contest at 5-7 going into the last four ties.

Sheffield couldn’t afford any more slip ups but, despite his best efforts, Gretton came up short in a close game against York’s first ranked player before the match ended as a contest in an acrimonious fashion with Goold losing a controversial game where his opponent’s white clothing made it difficult to see the ball.

Guilbert and Richie Pandey played finished off with some good table tennis managing to win the last two singles games before Gretton and Guilbert contested the doubles which York won making the final score 10-7.

Matt Goold, the Sheffield captain, in action. Photograph by Graeme Benson

It was ultimately a missed opportunity for a frustrated Sheffield who had unfortunately underperformed and underestimated their opposition.

Speaking afterwards, club captain Matt Goold said: “Generally, they were better than we thought they would be, but if we’d played anything like we have been in the last couple of weeks we would’ve beaten them.”

He then added: “To miss out on the final feels pretty rubbish; it’s disappointing because we came into the match expecting to get to the final.”

Sheffield Men’s Table Tennis 2nds:  1.Tristan Gretton, 2. Matt Goold (c), 3. Kieran Guilbert, 4. Richie Pandey

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