by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
A semi-final finish at the 2018 edition in front of their home fans in London; in Tokyo, they showed class with the duo of Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall guiding the team once again.
Also, Tom Jarvis, who is considered the ‘New Kid On the Block’ measured up with the team as his partnership with Drinkhall gave them hope for the future.
In the group stage, they beat highly rated Japan with Liam Pitchford being the focus of attention; his enticing display stunned Tomokazu Harimoto and Koki Nwa to hand the European side a 3-1 win.
Not to be carried away by their stunning display against Japan, they put up another good show against Austria with a convincing 3-0 against the Robert Gardos-inspired side. Team England’s group stage display is a repeat of their performance at the 2018 edition of the Team World Cup in London.
However, in the quarter-final tie against Lin Yun-Ju led Chinese Taipei, the Englishmen did not respond as they had in the group stages, unable to win when it mattered most. They were beaten by a youthful Chinese Taipei side. However, positives were taken from the competition by Drinkhall and Pitchford.
“We were behind in this match especially in the doubles. It was the trend throughout, they were on top. I had the chance to win in the singles, it was a bit close in all the games. It is a good tournament for us having come through the group stage where we won two important matches. we just need to make some small changes in our game and generally, we have a perfect performance and this is the positive we are taking from this tournament.” Paul Drinkhall
Like Drinkhall, Pitchford is optimistic of the future.
“I think I did fairly well against Lin Yun-Ju, I was leading 9-6 in the first game but he caught up with me. I led in all the games but he was not missing and he could receive very well. This is the first time I have against him and I could say the match was close throughout. I think we lost to one of the strongest teams in the tournament and we have learnt a lot from this hoping to continue to work harder as a team” Liam Pitchford