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As the end of the first term beckons, Lancaster University Table Tennis Club can look back on an already successful first couple of months. They find themselves top of their BUCS league following a 16-1 annihilation of York, putting them in an excellent position for the rest of the year. Particularly giving them the early advantage over York in preparation for Roses.
Defeating York is always a revered achievement, but the team’s impressive 16-1 victory will kindle hopes of a comfortable win when the two teams meet again for Roses, particularly on the varsity tournament’s 50th anniversary. Speaking to SCAN, LUTTC President Rowan Campbell described the result as “a great indication for Roses, as this was their A team that we played against.” The team however will still need to stay focused to a ensure a repeat of this excellent result.
A team captain Alex Tyson made it clear however, that come Roses, victory is unlikely to be so comfortable, stressing that York’s team “missed one or two of their better players, who’ll be sure to test us more at Roses.” He went on to say that such domination like what occurred on Wednesday can only be good looking forward, building confidence in the team as the season continues. The Lancaster first team are in a strong position in the BUCS Northern 2A league at the top, with equal points to UCLAN 1sts and York 1sts after 4 matches, although with significantly superior point difference.
The firsts only defeat this year so far came in October when they found themselves on the wrong side of 9-8 scoreline against UCLAN 1sts, and they’ll be hoping these close matches do not trip them up this year as it did last; a 9-8 defeat to Manchester 2nds in the final match of the season allowing Manchester to go above Lancaster to win the league. Coming so close last year has clearly spurred the team on this time around, as evident from such an impressive domination of York. Considering Roses, confidence must also come from Lancaster 2nds tightly-fought encounter with York 1sts losing 9-8, building hopes of Lancaster supremacy at Roses.
Rowan Campbell made it perfectly clear that the first team has not been the only team to develop recently. Wednesday was a successful day all round as Lancaster 2nds won 10-7 in their match against Bangor 1sts, “taking them clearly out of the relegation zone” into fourth place overall. This win followed a 9-8 victory in their previous fixture against Liverpool 2nds, meaning they already have more wins under their belt than during the entirety of last season.
Despite both teams making large strides in BUCS this year, Campbell stated that “in the local league we have been having mixed start to the season with some disappointing results, but we’re on track to finish in the top three.” Hopefully each teams’ continued success in BUCS will give them the confidence to repeat such form in the local leagues through the rest of the year.
One major development made by the table tennis society this year has been the introduction of an inter-college table tennis league; nearly all the colleges are represented, many of which bought new tables to take part in the tournament. “The college league has been going excellently with the colleges really getting into it and managing to get a lot of spectators.”
This year the club seem to have focused on widespread improvement, through giving regular games to more people via the inter-college league and by “a professional coach coming every two weeks to help bring on people’s abilities.” County currently lead the league after only four matches with Cartmel a close second. The creation of college teams seems to have been a shrewd move, not only because there has been a clearly good reception with numerous colleges having busy trials, but also as a sort-of pooling system for those who did not attend the university team trials or just missed out, yet are still skilful players.
Already this year seems to have a positive trajectory, according to Campbell – “this year looks to be our biggest yet in terms of reaching a wider audience and catering for everyone’s tastes and abilities, which was reflected in our record 200+ sign ups in freshers week.” Although Roses is still along while ahead of us, early progression indicates likely success this year for Lancaster Table Tennis, and hopefully a repetition of their 16-1 triumph over York.