University of Gloucestershire Sport: Table Tennis and Rowing compete on the national stage

This weekend saw the university teams of both table tennis and rowing take on other colleges in their respective national BUCS competitions. The rowing team travelled to Wales for their indoor championships, whilst the table tennis cohort faced a long weekend up in Nottingham against some of the country’s best in their only individual competition of the year.

Let’s take a look at how the table tennis team got on in their quest for glory at the weekend?

It was a tough weekend for the table tennis team as they faced some of the best players the country has to offer and struggled with the intensity and quality of the players at the event. The team entered four players into the men’s singles draw and one player into the women’s singles.

First up it was the women’s singles where club captain Gemma McKay was playing in her first return to individual competition for about three years. McKay had a tough group with fifth seed Emma Torkington being her first opponent who easily brushed aside the Gloucestershire player 3-0. Following that she took on Sarah Matthew and competed much better but failed to achieve an improved result and was consequently knocked out in the group stage.

The men singles followed the completion of the women’s groups and Robert Herman faced the prospect of Joe Pilkington, University of Nottingham scholar currently ranked number 65 in the English rankings. Herman was beaten easily not playing at his best and couldn’t pick himself up and step up in the other two games and was also eliminated in the group stage. Jake Styles the University of Gloucestershire’s fourth men’s player in his first appearance at the tournament was also given a tough group and lost all three of his matches which saw an early end to his weekend.

It was a different Saturday morning for both Ben Christopher and Sam Turner though, who both qualified second out of their group after winning two out of their three matches and advanced to the next round. Christopher comfortably won his two matches 3-0 and lost his last one 3-2, while Sam Turner battled through with a 3-0 and 3-2 victory respectively.

The following day Turner was on at 9.00am and may have been forgiven for counting himself lucky not to be facing a seeded player but this feeling would be short-lived as he lost and exited the competition. Not playing at his best, missing shots that were easily going on the day before he went down to a 3-0 defeat. Christopher was given arguably the harder of the two draws and faced Turkish player and number 31 seed Ugur Saglik whose topspin forehand was clearly to much for the Gloucestershire man as he was also beaten without picking up a set.

With everyone out it was just a case of watching for the rest of the afternoon and it was Maria Tsaptinos of the University of Nottingham, also ranked number three in England who won the women’s singles, while another Nottingham player Danny Reed, ranked number nine in England won the men’s singles.

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Busy busybusy! pic.twitter.com/L88dUJMBUy

— UOG TABLE TENNIS!!! (@UOGTableTennis) November 25, 2017

It was a disappointing weekend for table tennis but did the rowing team fair any better?

The University of Gloucestershire rowing team on the other hand had a very positive weekend with a lot to be happy about. First competitor Ben Sweeney competed in the Fresher Students 1km and put in a brilliant performance, finishing second overall. Also Dan Wiggins another member of the team competed in the same race and this was his first national competition, he came 24th and recorded a big personal best of 3.38.

In the women’s events Jade Colton was competing for Gloucestershire in the 2km and 500m race and performed very well in both categories. She finished 5th in both races and was a really important step for her as she builds up to the British Indoor Championships in two weeks time. Colton will enter the same races in that event and it was good for her to get a taster for the distance and what sort of times she will be looking to hit.

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