Two victories by Liam Pitchford were in vain as opponents Hungary sent them tumbling out of the European team Championships.
Pitchford twice pulled England level as they battled to make it through to the quarter-finals, but Paul Drinkhall was beaten in the deciding game of the deciding match.
England may be out, but you can still watch the remaining action from Malmo on TTE.TV! We are showing all the remaining action on Table 2 on Thursday, and we will switch to Table 1 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the men’s and women’s medals are decided.
Drinkhall led out against Adam Szudi, currently ranked at 275 but who had flirted with the top 100 a couple of years ago.
The Hungarian started fast with an 11-5 opening game, and he kept in front, taking a third game point to win the second 12-10 and then completed victory with an 11-9 third game.
Pitchford also went a game behind against world No 115 Bence Majoros, but once he had levelled he turned up the power and put England level with an authoritative performance.
Tom Jarvis kept up the pattern of losing the opening game when he took on Tamas Lakatos (WR 321), and his opponent then added the second. They had both been close, so it was no surprise when Jarvis got on the board in the third, but he could not turn the match around as Lakatos won the fourth.
The pattern of England going a game down continued as Pitchford lost his opener against Szudi to 9, but once again it was a precursor to the England man blasting back with three in a row and at times going into ‘steamroller mode’ and leaving his opponent with few answers.
And so it came down to Drinkhall versus Majoros to decide the match and who would go forward to the quarter-finals to face Austria or Sweden.
The omens looked good when Drinkhall broke the pattern of losing first games, but Majoros came back to lead 2-1.
Drinkhall was not done though and won the fourth 11-5 to take the match down to the decider – and it was Majoros who built a lead, culminating in five match points. Drinkhall saved two, but could do not more as England exited.
Round of 16
Hungary 3 England 2
Adam Szudi bt Paul Drinkhall 3-0 (11-5, 12-10, 11-9)
Liam Pitchford bt Bence Majoros 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4)
Tamas Lakatos bt Tom Jarvis 3-1 (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9)
Pitchford bt Szudi 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6)
Majoros bt Drinkhall 3-2 (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7)