Chesterfield’s Liam Pitchford has helped England into the quarter-finals of the World Team Championships for the first time since 1983.
England today beat Poland 3-2 in Kuala Lumpur and next face France in the last eight tomorrow (Friday) at 11.30am UK time.
England, who made it through the group stage at the expense of second seeds Germany, were in good heart for their clash against opponents ranked No 12 in the competition.
And they made a brilliant start when Paul Drinkhall, ranked No 72 in the world, beat No 40 Zengyi Wang in four games.
Pitchford doubled the advantage when he staved off a comeback by world No 82 Jakub Dyjas to win in five.
Worksop’s Sam Walker then had a cracking match against Daniel Gorak, at No 67 ranked almost 100 places higher than the 20-year-old Worksop player, who is the world No 159.
Having been edged out in two lengthy games, Walker came back to level the match at 2-2, only to fall short in the last.
Wang overcame No 64 Pitchford 3-1 to take the match into a decider and Drinkhall, having lost the opening game to Dyjas, levelled in style and then took the next to games on deuce to take the Leopards through to the quarter-finals.
“It was really tough again Dyjas; I think I won the match four times,” said Pitchford. “He just kept getting the ball back, time and time again but I won; yes I lost to Wang Zengyi but Paul won two and we won the match, just really great.”
Quarter-final opponents France beat England 3-0 in the group but in-form England will scent the chance of a revenge victory.