by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Guided by Stephen Jenkins, the national coach, star of the morning was 11 year old Anna Hursey of Wales, she won the hearts of whatever nationality was present in the Oxenford Auditorium, as she came so close to pulling off a fairy-tale win against Ishara Manikku Badu in the contest against Sri Lanka.
After Charlotte Carey, a step ahead of those on duty, had beaten Erandi Warusawithana (11-4, 11-6, 11-7), Anna Hursey lost the first two games against Ishara Manikku Badu, before winning the next two, saving one match point in the fourth, before just falling short in the decider (11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7).
Credit to Anna Hursey but also we must also pay great credit to Ishara Manikku Badu who had the whole of the Gold Coast against her and had done nothing to annoy anyone!
Matters level following the close defeat of Anna Hursey, the 11 year old returned to the arena to partner Chloe Thomas to doubles success (11-9, 11-8, 11-6), the win coming before Charlotte Carey returned to the fray to end matters by overcoming Hansani Kapugeekiyana (11-4, 11-5, 11-2).
“It means everything to us to reach the quarter-final; now we have a chance to reach the semi-final for the first time at the Commonwealth Games. We have reached the quarter-finals before but never the semi-final. We are one match away from history. We have a great team spirit, the girls are all good friends, they form a talented group, they are really switched on. Thanks to the supporters; I think they are all related but in Wales everyone is related.” Stephen Jenkins
The hard fought success meant second place behind India; however, it was not the closest encounter in the vital group phase contests. The closest was the three-two win recorded by Guyana against Vanuatu; Priscilla Tommy being the player to cause Guyana problems.
She beat Trenace Lowe in the opening match of the fixture (11-8, 11-6, 11-7), before partnering Anolyn Lulu to doubles success against Natalie Cummings and Priscilla Greaves (11-7, 11-9, 11-6).
However that was to be the only successes for the Pacific island. Stephanie Qwea lost to both Natalie Cummings (11-7, 11-6, 11-5) and in the vital fifth match of the fixture, to Priscilla Greaves (11-7, 11-5, 11-3). The one further win for Guyana was secured by Trenace Lowe, in the fourth match, she overcame Anolyn Lulu (11-5, 11-9, 11-3).
Meanwhile, in the two remaining fixtures to determine second place; the outcome was more decisive.
Canada, represented by Alicia Cote, Zhang Mo and Justina Yeung beat the Mauritius combination of Elodie Ho Wan Ku, Sanjana Alix Ramasawmy and Ruqayyah Kinoo by three matches to nil; by the same margin Malaysia overcame Fiji. Malaysia fielded the trio of Ho Ying, Li Sian Alice Chang and Karen Lyne; for Fiji, Xian Li joined sisters Grace Lee and Sally Yee.
The quarter-finals commence later in the day and conclude on the third morning of play.