Ormeau hosted North Ayrshire in week two of the British Table Tennis League in what was a highly anticipated match for various reasons.
Ormeau had two young French stars in Lucas Molland (20) and Alexis Lebrun (15) making their debuts as well as Club Coach and co founder Keith Knox making his first appearance of the season. North Ayrshire also fielded a strong team which included Belfast born and former full time player Zak Wilson who had recently defeated Irish #1 Gavin Maguire in the group stage of the Irish Classification event. Gavin however went on to take the title.
First up was the Doubles in which Keith and young Alexis played Zak and Chris Main in what turned out to be a 5 set classic. The Ormeau duo sneaked it 3/2 due to a change of serve tactics from Keith and some blistering F/Hs from Alexis. Alexis has won the Euro Minis Singles event and has endured some unlucky injuries but you could see already just what a great player and competitor he is! 1-0 Ormeau.
Lucas Moland was up next for Ormeau once again versus Chris Main from North Ayrshire, this time in Singles. Lucas looked understandably nervous in front of his new fans and lost the first set 11/8. However, he then relaxed and showed why he is currently ranked # 140 in France to win the next 3 sets and the match. 2-0 Ormeau
The third match was probably the most interesting one of the fixture as you had Keith who is recently competing again against Zak who is one of the most respected players in Ireland.
Zak won the first but Keith found his game to win the next two sets in which his B/H was the dominant shot and he led the fourth 6/5. Then came a turning point as Keith played what looked like a down the line B/H winner only to see Zak retrieve it miraculously and make it 6/6. A shocked Keith dug in valiantly but lost the fourth set 11/9 to send the match into a crowd pleasing decider. Again, Keith started well and led 6/3 before a timely North Ayrshire time out seemed to settle Zak. Zak showed why he has achieved what he has in Table Tennis by winning 8 of the last 9 points and the game 11/8.
A superb match which had everything and was ultimately won by a very cool customer who stayed calm and in control when it mattered most. 2-1 Ormeau
Lucas was up once again in the fourth match against experienced Colin Dalgleish and looked much more relaxed right from the start. Molland won the match 3-1 and most onlookers watched in awe as he made difficult shots look easy time after time. His killer B/H block was one of the most impressive shots in his armoury along with his F/H loop. 3-1 Ormeau.
The stage was now set for Alexis to make his Singles debut for Ormeau and with the match now won he could play with even more freedom in his contest against Chris Main. Alexis has such variety in his game and surely much have been an inspiration to many of the young upcoming players watching. He won the match 3/0 although Chris fought very hard right to the end and showed no negative emotions throughout. 4-1 Ormeau.
A great days entertainment and the only negative point was that there were a few empty seats. Anyone who enjoys Table Tennis must surely put the next home match in their diary and come and support Ormeau and witness some world class Table Tennis!
By Allen Robson
Next Home Game : @ 14:00 ORMEAU v URBAN