Team Ireland has gotten off to a sensational start at the World Team Championships in Tokyo, Japan. The team is made up of Paul McCreery, Ashley Robinson, Gavin Maguire and Ryan Farrell, with John Murphy Head Coach.
John updates us below in his Worlds diary…
Having arrived in Tokyo on Friday morning after almost 24 hours travelling the team took the option to relax for the rest of the day to try to get over the jet lag. This left us with two full days of preparation which was ideal.
We started on Saturday morning with a long 2.5 hours session followed by a shorter evening session where we were joined by Israel Number 2 Guy Elensky which added an extra challenge for the players. Having had such a long day Saturday we decided that Sunday we would have only one session in the morning. Again we were lucky to have Elensky join us along with Norway’s Lars Ronneberg which provided something new for our squad in terms of match preparation
There is a great team spirit within this group combined with very relaxed feeling as the players know that they have prepared well ahead of a tough start to the Championships tomorrow against Lativa 1pm and Mexico 7.30pm.
Thankfully our investment to travel early has paid off with the lads recording a very good 3-1 victory over Lativa in our first match. Paul leading the team with two wins over Arthur Reinholds and Olegs Kartusovs with Ashley chipping in at number 3 with one win over Leonids Maslovs 3-1
Gavin lost out in the other rubber to Kartusovs 12-10 in the last.
Our second match on day one was against top seeds in our group Mexico. Marcos Madrid their number 3 is ranked 150 in the world so it was always going to be a tough one. Paul started against their number 2 and looked to be in total control leading 2-0 before eventually losing out 11-8 in the fifth. Ashley lost to their number 1 3-0 and Gavin playing at number 3 lost 3-1. Although they are a strong team both myself and lads had felt that we failed to reach our highest level both mentally and technically in the game. Lessons to be learned…..
Playing at 10am against New Zealand gave us little time to regroup after our loss to Mexico late the night before.
We had a short team meeting over dinner and tried to learn from our previous mistakes at other major championships where we had struggled mentally after a loss. We started with the same team – again Paul winning the first match against Phillip Xiao 3-1. Ashley then recorded a good win under pressure against the experienced Shane Laugersen 3-1. Gavin finished a fine team performance with an easy 3-0 victory over John Cordue. This performance shows how far we have come as team in the last couple of years.
Summary so Far
A very positive start after two days of play with Kuwait ( 19.30 ) to play tomorrow and Guatemala ( 13.00 ) the following day we are on course for a top 3 finish in the group and a place in the main draw where we will be in the hunt for promotion to the second tier of world table tennis. Ryan Farrell who is at the worlds for the first time has had a very positive impact on the group and although has not featured so far has made a huge contribution to our good start here in Tokyo.
It is also great to see Paul really lead the team as number one. Sitting on the bench, we as team really feel that he is capable of beating anyone in our Division which is a great positive.