Eastbourne table tennis player claims first national title

Eastbourne’s Josh Bennett won his first national title at the table tennis National Championships.

The 19-year-old won the mixed doubles title with England’s highest ranked female player and Bennett’s doubles partner at the University of Nottingham, Tin-Tin Ho.

The pair won the final 3-1 (11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5) over surprise finalists, Emily Bolton and Alim Hirji.

En-route to the final, they beat top seeds Tom Jarvis and Maria Tsaptsinos. Bennett and Ho were able to come from 2-1 down to win 3-2 (8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-9, 12-10). An excellent shot from Ho converting their second match point.

Josh Bennett and Tin-Tin Ho playing Emily Bolton and Alim Hirji at the Table Tennis National Championships 2019. With permission from Alan Man.

Bennett qualified for the men’s singles knockout round where he faced six-time men’s singles winner, Paul Drinkhall.

Josh Bennett playing at the Table Tennis National Championships 2019. With permission from Alan Man.

Unfortunately, it was a level too high for Bennett as he lost 4-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8) against a vastly experienced player.

Liam Pitchford won his fifth men’s singles title. The world number 15, saw off England number two Drinkhall in the final 4-0 (11-6, 11-4, 12-10, 13-11).

Throughout the tournament, Pitchford was a class above the rest as he won all of his singles matches in straight games.

Tsaptsinos won her first women’s singles title, beating Ho 4-2 (11-5, 13-11, 11-13, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5).

Ho went 6-0 up in the fourth game, only for Tsaptsinos to come back with several brilliant rallies. However, Ho took the game 11-7 on her third set point to level the match, 2-2.

After this, the 21-year-old dominated, easily winning the fifth and sixth games to secure the title.

Featured image caption – Josh Bennett and Tin-Tin Ho with the mixed doubles trophy at the Table Tennis National Championships 2019. With permission from Alan Man.

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