Unfortunately our preparation for the upcoming Joola European Nations League match in Preston (Round 5) didn’t go according to plan, when our two squads headed overseas for round 4.

Traveling out to Turkey were:

Men: Paul Drinkhall, Darius Knight and Danny Reed
Coach: Jia Yi Liu

They were up against a mixed bag of players when world ranking was taken into consideration, with the Turkish number 1 Bora Vang outranking all of our players at 94 in the world, whilst Gencay Menge their lowest ranked player is 182 places lower than our lowest ranked player in the event, Darius knight at 275th in the world.

On court first was Knight against Vang, an extremely tough encounter. Knight got off to a good start taking the first set 12-10, but then the balance swung to the Turkish number 1 who proceeded to take the next three sets in convincing style.

Paul Drinkhall played twice in this event and secured England their sole victory of the foreign encounter, in three straight sets in game 2, but succumbed to their number 1 by the same scoreline in game 4.

In between Drinkhalls two matches Danny Reed represented us courtside, but was only able to take 1 end before eventually going down 3-1.

A few days previous the English women played out to the same 3-1 score line.

Bora Vang (94) bt Darius Knight (275) 10-12, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6
Paul Drinkhall (121) bt. Gencay Menge (457) 11-4, 11-6, 11-8
Pengfei Jiang (323) bt. Daniel Reed (259) 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6
Bora Vang (94) bt. Paul Drinkhall (121) 11-6, 11-9, 12-10

Our squad in Belarus were:
Women: Joanna Parker, Kelly Sibley and Hannah Hicks
Coach: Alan Cooke

Game one was a close contest when Kelly Sibley faced Viktoria Pavlovitch, with one set won and one set narrowly lost by Kelly before the eventual 3-1 finale.

Joanna Parker took our sole win 3-0 when she faced Alena Dubkova, but lost by the same score line when she played Viktoria Pavlovitch.

Sandwiched between Parkers two games was Hannah Hicks against the second Pavlovitch sister, Veronika, this went to the Belorussian 3-0.

Viktoria Pavlovitch (26) bt. Kelly Sibley (158) 11-2, 15-13, 6-11, 12-10
Joanna Parker (173) bt. Alena Dubkova (232) 11-9, 11-9, 11-9
Veronika Pavlovitch (76) bt. Hannah Hicks (557) 11-1, 11-4, 11-4
Viktoria Pavlovitch (26) bt. Joanna Parker (173) 11-8, 11-2, 11-6

For more details on the Preston matches click here.