HAVING taken six months off from table tennis in order to prepare for their final undergraduate examinations at Durham University, Angharad and Megan Phillips have made a successful return to the sport over the past few weekends.
In the Seven Nations event, which involved teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey and Wales, the Welsh team of Megan Phillips and Beth Roberts came away with the gold medal.
Having beaten the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and Scotland by 3-0 margins, and then Ireland 3-1, it was all down to the battle against the team from across Offa’s Dyke.
In a pulsating match, which went down to the fifth set of the fifth game, it was Wales who came out on top by beating England 3-2, with Beth Roberts winning the deciding singles against Lois Peake after coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Meanwhile, last weekend saw Megan and Angharad Phillips winning the British Universities title, which was held in Nottingham.
These championships include many of the top British players, in addition to overseas students, and are the equal in standard to any domestic competition within the UK.
Going into the event as number three seeds, Angharad and Megan worked their way comfortably through the first four rounds, winning all their matches 3-0.
In the semi finals, they came up against old adversaries Manchester University, against whom they have a 1-1 record this season.
However, on this occasion, it was to prove to be a comfortable 3-0 win for the twins from Denbigh, which meant that they were through to the final to play against the number one seeds from the host university, Nottingham.
Included in the Nottingham team was England’s number three player Maria Tsaptsinos and Haoyu Liu.
In another nerve tingling contest, the Phillips’ sisters upset the odds to claim gold by taking the match 3-2, with the final set being won by 11-9.
It was certainly a dramatic finish to say the least!
However, it has not been plain sailing for Angharad.
Last week, she was scheduled to play in the Spanish Open on the World Grand Prix circuit.
With no room available for her hand luggage on the plane out to Spain, it was placed in the ‘hold’.
However, the case did not arrive in Spain in time for the competition. Included in the luggage was all of Angharad’s playing kit, her trainers, tracksuit and, most importantly, her table tennis bats.
In high-standard table tennis, the rubbers on the bats are specific for the respective player’s style of play.
There are thousands of different rubbers, the vast majority of which would not be suitable for Angharad’s style.
Not surprisingly, playing in borrowed and ill-fitting kit - and with a borrowed bat that included rubbers not suited to her style of play - Angharad did not have a successful event, being eliminated during the group stages.
She still awaits a response from British Airways to her concerns.
See full story in the Free Press