By Vishal Saha
Second Year pupils Ed Gooze-Zijl and Vishal Saha played in the London South Table Tennis Individual Championships. The pair played with much determination, and Ed managed to make it past the group stages before he was unfortunate to be knocked out in the round of 16.
The tournament was held at Wallington Grammar School, with the calibre of all the players being extremely strong – this included the third ranked player in England for our age group. The pair were split up into six initial groups, with five players in each. After a long warm-up, the matches began.
Gooze-Zijl and Saha were both facing some tough opponents from schools such as Tiffin School, Wilson’s School and Wallington County Grammar School. Saha’s first match was against a skilful player from Wallington, who was very powerful and consistent. Despite a hard-fought fight and some thrilling points, Wallington came out on top.
On the contrary, Gooze-Zijl played well and won his first match. Saha’s next two matches were very challenging, as he faced opponents with very different playing styles. Despite some very close points, the other two players managed to outplay him on the day.
Gooze-Zijl was very consistent in his games and through some great shots and smashes, he won his next matches comfortably, including a solid win over Tiffin. He managed to get a win in his final match in the group stages, securing a place in the round of 16.
Saha’s final match was extremely close. He managed to win the first set comfortably, however in the second set it was very different. Saha was 10-7 up, on the verge of winning the whole match, but then his opponent managed to come back and win 13-11. After a difficult second set, Saha was determined to win the final set. However, despite giving his all, he ended up losing the match.
Hampton were not defeated yet though, as Gooze-Zijl had to play in the round of 16 against an opponent from Wilson’s. He started shakily, but soon gained more control of the game and played some superb forehand smashes. However, the Wilson’s player was very strategic and managed to create lots of spin on the ball as well as the occasional drop shot, which caused Gooze-Zijl to make some unforced errors. In the end he lost, however the match was very tight throughout.