Pitchford edges vital England win

Liam Pitchford. Photo by Michael Lovede
Liam Pitchford. Photo by Michael Lovede

Chesterfield table tennis ace Liam Pitchford won an epic match as England beat Netherlands 3-0 to cement their place in the European Team Championships qualifying play-offs.

Playing the second match against Laurens Tromer with England leading 1-0, Pitchford used his experience and skill to save three match-points in a five-set thriller before taking his own second match-point.

Pitchford, who won 3-2 (12-14, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 14-12), said: “I knew he was going to come out with nothing to lose.

“I’m not playing my best but I’m trying to find something in every match, and this was a good opportunity to do that.

“I played some good stuff in parts but not as clever in others and he took his chance.

“Fair play to him, he played really well but somehow I came through it in the end.”

David McBeath won the first match 3-1 against Rajko Gommers and Paul Drinkhall completed the victory 3-0 against Ewout Oostwouder.

England finished second in their group behind Greece and will face Slovakia, home and away, in the play-offs in April. The winners will qualify for the top division at the Europeans later this year.