Posted by Rob Short at 12:03 on 26 March 2013
Wales headed off to the 2013 European Junior Team Championships in Ankara, Turkey where they faced a tough challenge in a group containing favourites Denmark, Bulgaria and Hungary.
First up for Wales were the favourites Denmark and with a 10am start plus apprehension at what lay ahead it was perhaps no surprise that the end result was a 5 – 0 loss. What the team were disappointed with was the lower than expected points total that they achieved. This can be due to giving too much respect to opponents, but also to sluggish pre game preparation which is often seen at the start of team events. Wales were guilty of both but a very positive team chat post match dealt with the issues and allowed a refocus for the next match, against a strong Bulgarian team. The result was also a 5-0 loss but the overall attitude and preparation of the players was at a much higher level with quite a few matches very well contested. There was a strong sense that momentum was building for the final match and sure enough the best performances were brought out against Hungary which ended with a 3-2 victory, which in reality could have been 5-0.
The very positive aspect of this win was that it was achieved with the pairings put together for the individual events which starts on Tuesday, Jordan Hart recording a good win after a long lay off with an ankle injury and showing good mixed form with Mike Kinnear. Ellen Mahenthiralingam and Aimee Moran demonstrated what a good doubles pairing they can be by winning, but perhaps were actually more impressive in their performance against the Bulgarian girls (who then beat the top Danish girls in straight games). The most disappointed were Adam Stewart and Matthew Vacher who had a good lead in the third set of their doubles and let it slip away. The North Wales boys are however the least experienced at this level and played very well and responded very positively as each match came along.
Eddie O Neill was with the team during the team event and commented
“it has always been my experience that young Welsh teams take time to gain confidence and self-belief and although they lost two matches it’s not at all easy to win any team match at this level. What I love to see is the change that takes place over just a few days in self-belief and that’s what makes this sort of 8 day marathon a good investment.“
The full set of results for the team event can be found on Tournament Software.