Paul Drinkhall will hope to add promotion to his Spanish Open win (Courtesy of ITTF)

England’s men and women successfully opened their accounts at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo (JPN) with victories over Thailand and Wales respectively.

While the men’s team won comfortably against their Thai opponents, the women had to battle hard through a titanic tussle with their close neighbours and could only celebrate victory after Tin-Tin Ho beat Charlotte Carey in deuce in the final end of the final match.

The fixture began well with England’s no. 2 Joanna Drinkhall beating Carey 3-0, while Tin-Tin’s loss to Naomi Owen was a close encounter that showed plenty of promise in the matches to come. Hannah Hick’s 3-2 victory over Megan Phillips looked to have set-up the victory for Group F’s top seeds but a shock win for Owen over Drinkhall ensured a tense finish in Tokyo.

At one stage 15-year-old Tin-Tin fell 2-1 behind to Wales’ young star, Carey, in the decisive fixture but showed courage to fight back and secure a vital early confidence-boosting win for the women 12-10 in the fifth.

Following their success, England’s men wasted no time in completing a straightforward victory over Thailand to kick-start their 2014 Worlds Team campaign. Liam Pitchford conceded just 11 points in beating Max Poungsri in double-quick time before both Paul Drinkhall and Daniel Reed also won comfortably against Padasak Tanviriyavechakul and Chaisit Chaitat respectively to get straight into the rhythm for a promotion push.

You can watch both of those victories at the links below (Note: not all England matches will be available on live stream).

Both sides now have an early start tomorrow (Tuesday 29th) with the men facing Congo Brazzaville (02:00 GMT) and the women playing Colombia (02:00).

Latest 2014 World Team Championships, Tokyo (JPN) Scores:
Men’s Challenge Division Group G:

England 3-0 Thailand
Liam Pitchford bt Max Poungsri (unranked) 3-0 (11-2, 11-3, 11-6)
Paul Drinkhall bt Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (265) 3-1 (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6)
Daniel Reed bt Chaisit Chaitat (289) 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-9)

Watch full highlights of England v Thailand here

Women’s Challenge Division Group F:
England 3-2 Wales
Joanna Drinkhall bt Charlotte Carey (229) 3-0 (11-4, 11-3, 11-5)
Naomi Owen (232) bt Tin-Tin Ho 3-2 (11-5, 10-12, 13-11, 11-13, 11-8)
Hannah Hicks bt Megan Phillips (374) 3-2 (8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6)
Naomi Owen bt Joanna Drinkhall 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 12-10)
Tin-Tin Ho bt Charlotte Carey 3-2 (6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10)

Watch full highlights of England v Wales here

Russell Moore (April 28, 2014)