Table tennis player Lynda Flaws enjoyed success at the recent Scottish national championships, staged at the Holyrood Sports Centre in Glasgow.
She won the under-18 girls doubles with partner Natasha Milliken and narrowly lost in the final of the under-18 singles, while she also reached the final of the ladies’ band one competition and the quarter-final of the mixed doubles with her partner Craig Christie.
First up for Lynda on Saturday was the ladies’ band one group stage and she progressed through as group winner with 3-0, 3-1 and 3-0 victories. She faced Stephanie McCallum in the semi-final and won comfortably 3-0 but in the final could not find her best form, going down 3-0 to Maureen Moran.
In the ladies’ singles competition Lynda found herself in a tough group where she started off against the number one seed, losing 11-5, 11-8, 11-9. She bounced back to win her second match 6-11, 17-15, 11-8, 11-6 but unfortunately the winner progressed straight into the semi-final instead of the normal format of the winner and runner up going into the quarters.
The last event of the day was the mixed doubles where Lynda paired up with Craig Christie who also plays in Shetland. They won their first match 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 to take them through to the quarter-finals. Lynda and Craig stormed into a 2-0 lead but their opponents fought back to make the match level at 2-2. In a close fought final and deciding set, Lynda and Craig unfortunately lost 11-8.
Lynda’s first event on Sunday was the under-18 junior girls’ doubles where she paired up with fellow Scottish team member Natasha Milliken from Glasgow. They were favourites for the title and did not disappoint, winning all their matches and only dropping a few sets to claim the victory.
Finally Lynda took part in the junior girls’ singles and she progressed through her group without any trouble, winning both her games 3-0.
In the semi-final Lynda also had no problems beating a surprise semi-finalist Ciara Hayes 3-0. That meant she would face her Scottish team mate and double partner Natasha in the final. Matches between Lynda and Natasha have always been close and hard fought and this was no different.
Natasha was first out the blocks to take a 2-0 lead. Lynda found some composure and battled back to take the next two sets 11-7 and 11-8 and level the match at 2-2.
Lynda got off to a bad start in the beginning of the final set, going 9-3 down after a few unforced errors. However, she was not going to go down easily and got herself back into the game to be only two points behind at 9-7. Unfortunately the unforced errors Lynda made earlier on in the set were costly, as she lost the set 11-8 and the match 3-2.
Six nations event
Lynda represented Scotland in her fourth appearance at the Junior and Cadet Six Nations the following weekend at the Inverclyde Sports Centre in Largs.
The team event began on Friday night where Scotland faced tough opponents in Wales. Scotland were unlucky not to record a win in this fixture with many close games, including Lynda and Natasha’s doubles match where they lost 3-2 in a tight game.
Next up for Lynda and the Scotland team was the Isle of Man. This time Scotland had no problems, winning 5-0 with Lynda recording two 3-0 wins in the singles and another 3-0 win in the doubles.
The first game on the Saturday was Ireland and Natasha got the team off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory. Lynda faced the number one seed, however, and was beaten in a close encounter 3-1.
To give Scotland the best chance of beating Ireland they had to make sure they won the doubles. Lynda and Natasha continued their winning doubles streak with a 3-2 victory.
Natasha had the chance to seal victory for Scotland but couldn’t quite make it, losing 3-2 to the Irish number one. That meant Lynda had to go out and play in the deciding match.
Lynda started off well, taking a 2-0 lead in another keenly-contested match. She gave the Irish number two a chance to get back into the game, losing the third set, but regained her composure to take the fourth set, the match and the victory for Scotland.
Scotland’s second match was against England, a dominant nation in girls’ table tennis, and Scotland could not get close, losing 5-0.
It was, however, good experience to keep playing top players.
This meant Scotland had to play Guernsey for the bronze medal. This was again a very close match, and with the scores tied at 2-2, Lynda had to play the deciding match again.
Even though Lynda was not playing her best she managed to take a 2-0 lead. However, the Guernsey number two began to find her form to bring the game all level at 2-2. Lynda could not find the form she needed to win and after a few unlucky points, with the ball clipping the edge of the table and the net in Guernsey’s favour, she lost the final set 11-9, meaning Scotland had to settle for fourth.
In the individual tournament on the Sunday Lynda faced a tough group in the form of the English and Irish number one. Her first match was against Chloe Whyte from England where she lost 11-6, 11-7, 14-12.
Lynda bounced back with a win 3-0 against a girl from the Isle of Man to set up a crucial game against Rebecca Kenny from Ireland. As Lynda had lost 3-1 to her the previous day, she felt she had every chance. But unfortu-nately she couldn’t find her forehand and lost 3-0, perhaps the two weekends of hard competition starting to take their toll.
The result meant Lynda could not progress in the main draw so had to settle for the consolation event instead.
She won her quarter-final against Becky Bayley from Isle of Man and her semi against Bethany Ross from Scotland 3-0, to secure her place in the final where she met Hannah Avery from Wales.
Lynda upped her performance to win 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 and take the under-18 consolation.
Even though Lynda did not feel she played her best, she was still happy with her win in the consolation event and gained experience from the tournament.
She said she would like to thank Craig Christie for coaching and Shetland Islands Council for the grant assistance.