Bournemouth Sports Just Miss Out On Promotion.

At the British League Play Offs on the weekend of May 10th and 11th our Bournemouth Sports team of Nathan, Steve, Chloe and Niklas Meijer came 3rd out of 6 teams gaining the same amount of points and games for and against as they did last year when they came 4th in the play offs, missing out on the two promotion places by 2 points. We did as well as we did even with a lot going against us. Before the start of the play offs according to the British League (BL) rules only Nathan, Steve and Chloe were eligible to play as each player needed to have played 5 matches over the season to be eligible. The two others who were going to play in the play offs for us were Hugo Pang and Hannah Hicks, but they had only played 4 matches each. However Hugo would have played the final weekend of matches and then would have been eligible to play in the play offs but was called up to represent England in the Cadet Home six nations. Unfortunately the BL committee would not make any exception and allow Hugo to play. However we were allowed to bring in another player who was not on the club ranking list and who was lower ranked then the eligible players, so they brought in Niklas Meijer who very kindly agreed to come out and play. Niklas plays for Ljungsbro BTK who Nathan and Steve travel out to play for in the Swedish National league Division 2.

We played 5 matches over the weekend playing against the winners and runners up of all of the Division 1’s, including having to play Kingfisher I again who had won our division.

On the Saturday we had 3 matches, we lost 5-3 to the North winners Burton Uxbridge (BU), 7-1 against the South winners Kingfisher I and we beat North runners up Derwent 6-2. We were so close in both of our losses, with Niklas being 2-0 up in his first match vs Matthew Outhwaite against BU, but then Matthew upped his level to win the next 3 games and win 3-2. Niklas also had a close game against Ryan Stockham but lost 3-1. Nathan, Steve and Chloe all won one in this match but didn't quite do enough to win two.
Against Kingfisher even though losing 7-1 we came very close to at least getting a draw as the first 4 matches all went to the 5th with Nathan losing 11-9 in the 5th to Marcus Giles, Steve losing 11-8 in the 5th after being 2-0 against defender David Barr, Chloe losing 11-7 in the 5th to Daniel Kolesnik and Niklas losing 11-8 in the final game to Daniel Moses. After these close matches our players struggled with their 2nd singles matches apart from Chloe who played very well to beat top junior player Marcus 3-1.
After these two tough matches the team did well to keep their spirits high and their confidence to beat Derwent comfortably 6-2. Niklas feeling more relaxed and confident won his 2 matches and also Nathan won the man of the match winning his 2, in the first vs Stephen Horsfield 11-9 in the 5th and then playing very well to beat the higher ranked Mark Short comfortably 3-0. Chloe and Steve both won 1 each to help the team win the match. Bournemouth Sports member Jon Gibson very kindly came to support the team but unfortunately arrived just as the team had finished for the day.

On the Sunday after having a good meal and watching the Eurovision song contest on the Saturday night the team were ready to raise their games. Also Rowden came up to coach and support the team which gave them a boost. We played against the lower placed team from the Midlands Woodfield and the winners of Midlands London Academy. Woodfield had a strong team with higher ranked players throughout than us, and this showed as they went 4-1 up with only Nathan winning vs ranked 51 in England Amann Ubhi. Our players then raised their game with Steve, Chloe and Niklas all winning their 2nd matches. The overall match came down to Niklas’ 2nd match with him fighting hard to close it off 11-9 in the 5th against Anthony Barella to achieve a 4-4 draw, with the team delighted that things actually went their way.
Our final match was against already promoted London Academy (LA) who chose to field younger less experienced players for the 3rd and 4th places in their team, however they kept their two strongest players, both from Sweden, to still try to get the win. Nathan gave Bournemouth a strong start playing very well to beat LA’s number 2 player Jesper Berglund 11-8 in the 5th. LA’s number 1 Sebastian Loso was too strong for Steve and Nathan even though they both took a game off him, and Jesper shook off his loss to then beat Chloe in 4 close games. For Bournemouth Sports to win the match LA’s 3rd and 4th players Hiba Feredj who represents Bournemouth Sports in Junior British League girls team, and Eren Gozcu had to be beaten. Steve beat Hiba 3-1 and so did Niklas 3-0, then Chloe beat Eren 3-1. This left Niklas with the deciding match against Eren. Niklas controlled the match but Eren fought well and took it to the 5th game, however Niklas’ experience shone through to win the 5th 11-8 earning him man of the match and giving us a 5-3 win as well as putting us in the 3rd place.

Even though disappointed at not achieving promotion, the team are pleased with what they accomplished considering all the things that went against us. It obviously wasn’t meant to be but the team are going to do the best they can next year and you never know they could be 3rd time lucky! The club and team are very thankful to Niklas for coming over to play and giving them the best chance for promotion.

For more details including player averages, the table and results click on this link https://www.tabletennis365.com/Britishleague/Container/SBL_Play_Offs/6476 .