Birmingham men’s table tennis first team slumped to a 10-7 defeat to Loughborough 1s in a game that could have all but secured first place in the league for Birmingham.
Despite missing three first team players, Birmingham were still full of confidence going into this top of the table fixture. This confidence was palpable as Kenny Lindsay and Jake Crocker won their first games, putting Birmingham into an early lead. However, they were soon pegged back by a plucky Loughborough team when Rashan Silva and Stanley Chan were defeated by Loughborough’s two star players, Buchanan and Hampson.
That set the tone for a fiercely contested afternoon of table tennis, Birmingham regularly in the lead, largely thanks to four flawless performances from Lindsay. A nerve wracking five set game between Silva of Birmingham and Shardlow of Loughborough ending in a defeat for Silva was the standout game of the afternoon, and was perhaps the turning point for Loughborough as from this point onwards, they were almost unstoppable. With three singles games remaining, Birmingham were 7-6 up. Unfortunately, three four-set thrillers ensued, but all ended in wins for Loughborough who celebrated triumphantly as Buchanan overcame a spirited performance from Birmingham’s captain, Crocker.
Chan and Crocker were then powerless against a well organised Loughborough doubles pairing, the final result 10-7, leaving the league as close as possible heading into the last fixtures of the season.
Birmingham must beat third placed Nottingham on the fifth of March by more than Loughborough defeat Warwick on the same day to secure top place in the league, a more strenuous task than they hoped for. However, Crocker remains confident that Birmingham will prevail.