Northumbria embarked on the long and winding road to Newcastle university for the 2018 Stan Calvert. In awe they entered the sports centre and completed their pilgrimage. Terror flashed across their eyes as they saw Newcastle’s first team. Nuradin Muktar, Miller, the never ageing George Falcus and the ever-smiling Chun Yin Yu.
Northumbria’s star player Anth Barella managed to escape from the shadow of his brother for a fleeting moment to scrape through 3-1 against both Falcus and Miller. With inspiring support and limitless enthusiasm radiating from team mascot Matt Hopkins, the team rallied to win all the remaining games.
Terror flashed across their eyes as they saw Newcastle's first team
Ever the entertainer, Falcus went the distance with Blair Carmichael leaving the crowd’s hearts racing and 3/4 of their seats useless but eventually prevailing the 3-2 winner.
The rest was plain sailing until the headline events; Anth vs Chun and Nuradin. After a shaky start, they both came through as 3-1 winners dedicating their victories to returning coach Bernie. With Falcus and Miller winning 3 each and Chun and Nuradin getting the clean sweep, the victory was certainly comprehensive.
The Men’s 2nds game wasn’t so straight forward. The teams were a lot more even and it was always going to be a tight affair. With the team consisting of: Hanson Xu, the president Oliver Grant, Sam Hansen and Matt Hopkins.
The first round of fixtures started off well for Newcastle. Matt Hopkins performed exceptionally to beat their number 1 player without giving him a chance to get into the game. He was controlling the rallies and dispatching the ball past his opponent at every opportunity. Sam Hansen didn’t have as much luck, coming up against a tricky defender who strived in getting a psychological edge on his opponent. A good but rusty performance saw him lose 3-0 despite playing well.
Both the Newcastle players go the wins in spectacular style to get the crowd off their seats and give Newcastle an early 3-1 lead
Hanson and Oliver’s games were not as straightforward. They were a lot more tighter matches full of quick top spin rallies and intense play. Both the Newcastle players got the wins (3-2) in spectacular style to get the crowd off their seats and give Newcastle an early 3-1 lead, with the crowd and tactics from the coaches playing a big part.
The second round of fixtures was where the momentum shifted Northumbria’s way. Oliver’s attacking game came up against the extremely defensive player Ben. The match up creating an unorthodox but yet entertaining game, which Oliver just lost out in. Hanson came up against their number 1 player. The game contained few errors, so it could have gone either way. Unluckily for Newcastle Hanson just lost out 11-9 in the fifth game which gave Northumbria the edge. Matt and Sam’s were edged out in their games putting Newcastle behind on the overall scorecard.
The last two round of fixtures went in similar fashion. Newcastle putting up a strong, valiant effort creating some very entertaining games but causing Newcastle to lose each round 3-1.
Despite this, Newcastle ended up losing for the first time in 3 years 11-6. Even though Hanson put in a match winning performance winning 3 out of 4 of his game.
The womens game is structured differently with only two players per side. The Newcastle team consisting of Kate Roberts and Emily Walker was the last match of the day. All the other teams and more were glued to this fantastic match up. Both the girls were extremely up for the tricky test.
The first round of games started off poorly for the women both going 2-0 down in their respective games. Kate got a lengthy team talk from the coaches and a big lift from the crowd who all stopped what they were doing to support this consistent quick paced game.
Both the girls were extremely up for the tricky test
Kate shifted into another gear to play some breath talking play to level the game at 2-2. Momentum shifted her way in the fifth game and from early on there was only going to be one winner, Kate’s consistently heavy topspin game was in the end too much for her opponent and before she knew it she was celebrating the win with the coaches and crowd.
Emily again had a steady start and as the crowd got more intense so did her performance. Playing some extremely strong table tennis in the third end but just lost out.
The game was tied at 1-1 going into the last round of fixtures before doubles would be played to decide it if needed. This time unfortunately the girls could not repeat their success, with both losing in tight games. The win meant a lot to the Northumbria girls, especially to Kate’s opposition who dramatically turned it around to sneak the fifth game by 3-2 right at the end of the match.
This concluded the fixture with Northumbria winning 3-1. On another day it could have been very different since the Newcastle girls’ performances deserved more.