Chris Doran in action

The first scheduled group qualification senior Men’s matches to kick off the 66th English Open an ITTF Pro Tour Major event and first on court at 10am were Chris Doran ( group 3) and Matt Ware(group 10). Chris, (WR 500) took centre stage and lit up the playing hall gaining a great 4-1 opening match over Gregor Zafostnik from Slovenia (WR 391) giving the English crowd great heart with an opening victory. With just one player going through to the main event it will be very tough nevertheless Chris has opened his account but has a mountain to climb as he has to play Hyun Deok Seo (wr 83) later this afternoon to see if he can progress through.

Matt Ware (wr 689) started confidently taking the first game 11-8 against Anastasious Riniotis (Greece –wr 333) but then was bombarded by the power and accuracy that came from the Greek player throwing all the crockery at him taking the next four games leaving Ware to pick up the pieces and await a tough next match against Emmanuel Lebesson (wr 112) to stay in the event.

Darius Knight (wr 271) was in cruise control taking his group match 4-1 against Ireland’s John Murphy (wr 770) and another English success came from Liam Pitchford (wr 269) in group 16 gaining a 4-0 victory against Mohammed Al-Saadi (wr 915) to start off his campaign. Damien Nicholls (wr 871) lost out narrowly to Enio Emendes(wr 265) from Portugal 2-4, however he fought back bravely from a 0-3 games deficit. Other English players to take the limelight were Richard Andrews who lost to Lauric Jean from Belgium (wr 244) 0-4 and David McBeath who played his socks off but he too lost to a much higher ranked player in Hunor Szocs from Romania, the ex cadet European champion, a similar scoreline. Last of the English Men to try and qualify for the main event was Danny Reed (wr 247)who opened his account with a 4-0 result over Garry Dodd from Guernsey(wr 995).

By Geoff Ware