by Simon Daish
Hailed as national heroes for their tremendous performance in Kuala Lumpur the trio of Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford and Sam Walker have naturally been selected to represent England once again in Halmstad with David McBeath and Tom Jarvis also included in the team for the competition.
The podium finish at the 2016 edition of the World Team Championships was undoubtedly an impressive feat with England receiving its 13th Men’s Team medal in the history of the event and its first since 1955.
Sports fans are used to seeing one-hit wonders come and go but Team England has proven that its success in Kuala Lumpur was no one-off achievement with two bronze medal finishes in 2018 alone.
Inspired by Liam Pitchford’s magical display, which included victories over the likes of Tomokazu Harimoto and Hugo Calderano, England secured a spot on the medals podium in front of the home crowd at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in February.
More recently at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, England accounted for Singapore by a 3-0 score-line in the Men’s Team bronze medal match while the duo of Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford emerged victorious in the Men’s Doubles category.
Placed in Group C 12th seeds England will face Japan, Chinese Taipei, Belgium, Belarus and Singapore at the first hurdle in Halmstad. On paper a very difficult start for the English team but with the success of two years ago in the back of the players’ minds and the rich run of form leading up to the 2018 World Team Championships, can England stun table tennis fans across the globe once again?