Both Cardiff City I and Cardiff City II were in action on the weekend. With the season nearing its final stages both sides were still chasing promotion up the British League system.
Cardiff City I began the day in ruthless form, comprehensively defeating hosts Halton I without dropping a game. This was the first time this season that Cardiff have secured an 8-0 result despite having come close to perfect in two 7-1 victories in 2014.
Lawrence John was declared player of the match against Halton in only his second weekend competing in the league. Patrick Thomas later said of his young teammate that “he’s trying to push himself forward and he’s been brilliant. He’s playing really positive. It’s been a good season that way generally. Younger players throughout the club are showing real promise and showing that they can step up and compete with the bigger boys.”
Fellow chasers of the top spots Drumchapel II could only manage a draw against Rotherham Scorpions I in their first game of the day, and so Cardiff briefly topped Division 1 North after the first round of games.
But Cardiff’s lead would only last a matter of hours as Drumchapel II quickly recovered from their dropped points against the Scorpions to defeat Cardiff in the day’s second round of games. Wiktor Dzwonkowski and Patrick Thomas picked up a game each but could not prevent Cardiff going down to a 6-2 defeat overall in their first loss of the season. Drumchapel II meanwhile remain undefeated and now leapfrog Cardiff into first place.
Promotion-chasing Cardiff City I can still be encouraged after the opening weekend of 2015 as they retain an important three point lead over third-placed Rotherham. They also remain mindful that Drumchapel II will not be eligible for promotion since the large Glasgow-based club already have a team in the top division of British table tennis, and league rules will not permit a club to field more than one team in any one league. This means that third-place at the end of the season will likely be good enough to secure Cardiff a place in the play-offs and the chance to win promotion to the Premier Division. It is still mathematically possible though for Cardiff to be caught by fourth-placed Northfield, so there remains plenty to play for in the final four games.
Just as the first team were recording their first total victory of the season up north, Cardiff City II were matching their achievements down in Southampton. Competing in their first season in the British League, Cardiff City II demonstrated the depth of quality players at the club by securing their first ever 8-0 win in their morning match against Survey Initiative Rowhedge.
Kingfisher III, Cardiff’s next opponents, were late additions to the league this season but have since been rapidly catching up with the top teams. This crucial match up ended in a dramatic 4-4 stalemate, denting Cardiff’s hopes of cementing second place. They and Kingfisher III are now equal on points, though the latecomers will carry a game in hand into the final weekend.
The star performer for Cardiff City II was Jiakun Lin. An experienced coach in China, Jiakun won 100% of his games in his first weekend representing the club. Teammate Lloyd Gregory said that the debutant “cruised through all of his matches all weekend. He looked pretty comfortable out there.”
Elsewhere in Division 5 Southampton natives Waterside continued their dominance at the top by extending their lead to 5 points. The undefeated leaders are still to play Kingfisher and so Cardiff will be hoping that Waterside can peg back Kingfisher, offering themselves the chance to take back second place and ensure automatic promotion.
Full results and tables are available at www.tabletennis365.com/britishleague. See below for full Cardiff team lists.
Cardiff City I