THE INAUGURAL MATCH of the Roses weekend ended in defeat for the White Rose. The University of York Table Tennis Club lost their firsts match 10-5 and their seconds match 12-4. This represents an improvement on the last Roses, also seen in their phenomenal season, winning the league and cup, spearheaded by star player and captain Calum Goodwin. Starting as the opening fixture of the Roses Weekend is never easy, especially when Peter Cowburn had forgotten his playing shoes, prompting a last-minute mad scramble to JD Sports. The burden of expectancy is laid at your door. The crowd grows and you’re their first port of call. Side by side in the Sports Centre, these expectations may not have been met by the firsts and seconds, but their performances against a university currently featured in the BUCS Northern League’s highest echelons managed to cushion the blow of defeat and earn the respect of the watching fans.
In the end, the score-line flattered Lancaster’s efforts in the firsts match. 10-5 may suggest that the York representatives were outclassed. In reality, it was a score that came about through thin margins not going the way of the White Rose. Calum Goodwin won three of these and managed to beat both the first and second-best Lancastrian players, Rob Barker and Daniel Clarke, both of whom are in the national top 32.
The other victories came from Peter Cowburn and Ishan Bairoliya although there certainly would’ve been a sixth if Alex Nagle was able to play his match that was cancelled due to time constraints. The seconds had a less credible performance with their four wins coming from Martin Brown (three victories) and Jordan Liu winning a solitary match. Just like the first, there were a series of tight matches on their two tables and, despite their eventual comprehensive loss, the team kept spirits high with a remarkable amount of motivation and support coming from both the York crowd and, more notably, the players not on-table.