Liam Pitchford helps England keep up perfect start

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Liam Pitchford helped England defeat Netherlands 3-0 to keep up their 100 per cent record in their European Championships qualifying campaign.

England travelled to Holland on the back of a dramatic 3-2 home win over Greece earlier this month but it was not so close this time against opponents all ranked outside the world’s top 200.

After Sam Walker had won the opening match 3-0 against Ewout Oostwouder, Pitchford put England firmly in charge with a 3-1 (11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4) defeat of Rajko Gommers.

Paul Drinkhall then beat Laurens Tromer 3-1 (11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5) to complete victory.

Pitchford said: “We always expected it to be easier than the match against Greece but it was still a tough match. They were playing at home and wanted to show their fans a good performance, but in the end we were stronger.”

England next play away to Greece on January 24th. Where they finish in the group will determine which division they play in at next year’s championships.

Pitchford added: “Going away to Greece is going to be a fight for that first place in the group. We probably go there as slight favourites, but they’ve proved they can play really well and we’ll have to make sure we’re prepared.”