Yorkshire’s Drinkhall full of optimism for the future despite disappointment in final

Middlesbrough's Paul Drinkhall in the Gold Medal Team Match.
Middlesbrough's Paul Drinkhall in the Gold Medal Team Match.
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History repeated itself yesterday as England were forced to take Commonwealth Games silver in the team table-tennis at Glasgow 2014.

Just like in Delhi four years ago, Singapore were their conquerors with the reigning champions taking the gold with a 3-1 victory.

Time proved no healer for Andrew Baggaley, Middlesbrough’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford as they were beaten at Scotstoun, with a poor start coming back to haunt them.

Drinkhall had the perfect chance to lay down an early marker as he led Jian Zhan 1-0 and 2-1 but he ended up losing 3-2, before Pitchford was brushed aside 3-0 by Ning Gao.

Salvation appeared to be at hand as Baggaley and Drinkhall ripped through their doubles match to make it 2-1 overall but, when Zhan dispatched Baggaley 3-0 in 24 minutes, the game was up.

It was not a case of twice bitten thrice shy for Drinkhall, though, who remains intent on cracking the code in the Commonwealth team event.

“We are there or thereabouts, it’s just a couple of points either way but we’ll be back in four years and this will only make us more determined,” he said.

“This is a much stronger Singapore team than four years ago. They’ve brought in two new players who were not eligible in Delhi and they really pushed on.

“I think we’ve closed the gap on them. These guys are very experienced, some of them are ex-Chinese national team members. While they are coming to the end of their career, we are just starting to peak.”