Jack Hunter-Spivey survived a huge upset as he was defeated by Chris Ryan in the Class 2-5 Para Singles, the Commonwealth champion and Paralympic bronze medallist going through to tomorrow’s final on countback.

Photos by Alan Man

Hunter-Spivey has reigned supreme at these championships and this defeat was his first – and was all the more remarkable given that Ryan (pictured above) was 2-0 down.

But the Tokyo Paralympic wheelchair rugby champion, who has transitioned to table tennis since the last Games, fought his way back and Hunter-Spivey could not change the momentum.

When he finally won it, Ryan slumped on to the table in disbelief, and was visibly emotional afterwards. The final score was 3-2 (3-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7) in his favour.

Romain Simon

Ryan and Romain Simon had met in the first match of the day and took it in turns to dominate the first three games, Simon winning two of them. The fourth was closer but Simon completed a 3-1 (11-3, 3-11, 11-2, 11-9) victory.

Simon took a game off Jack Hunter-Spivey in the next match but could not apply any sustained pressure as his highly decorated opponent won 3-1 (11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4).

All of which led to countback, and Hunter-Spivey’s defeat being by a narrower margin was what saved him and ensured he will have a chance to add to his collection of titles tomorrow.

Standing in his way will be fellow Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist Megan Shackleton, who came through Group 2.

Megan Shackleton

The group started with Tom Hepburn’s first ever taste of the Nationals, against last year’s beaten finalist Simon Heaps, the oldest competitor at 68. He acquitted himself well on debut, but Heaps always had too much touch and experience and won it 7, 2, 3.

Hepburn also kept Paralympic medallist Megan Shackleton honest in her 3-0 (5, 6, 7) victory, and Shackleton then booked her first appearance on Finals Day as she defeated Heaps 3-1 (12-10, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10).

There will be a different name on the honours board to last year after defending champion Ashley Facey was forced to pull out of the class 6-10 competition after his first match, because of injury.

Facey started his defence against Theo Bishop and was initially on the back foot as he lost the first 12-10. However, he turned it around to win the next three 6, 6 and 3.

Ross Wilson defeated Bishop (11-7, 11-2, 11-4) and all was set for a match to decide the winner of the group – until Facey’s injury sent Wilson through to the final.

Billy Shilton’s first match in Group 2 was against Max Flint, and he held his younger opponent at arm’s length throughout a 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-7) victory. McKibbin then beat Flint with a consistent 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 scoreline.

Aaron McKibbin

The group decider saw McKibbin at his best as he overcame last year’s beaten finalist Shilton 11-8, 11-8, 11-7) to clinch his first appearance on Finals Day.

There was another upset in the class 2-5 showcase para doubles as Romain Simon & Chris Ryan defeated Jack Hunter-Spivey & Megan Shackleton.

Once again, it required a comeback as the lower-ranked pair found themselves 2-1 behind. But they dug in and won the fourth 12-10 before pulling out to an early lead in the fifth and then, after taking a time-out to settle the nerves as Hunter-Spivey & Shackleton threatened a comeback, getting over the line at 11-7 in the fifth.

The final reckoning was 4-11, 11-9, 3-11, 12-10, 11-7 – the victors winning seven points fewer than the beaten pair over the course of the match.

In the class 6-10 showcase doubles, Facey’s injury forced a re-jig of personnel and it was the pairs of Ross Wilson & Theo Bishop and Billy Shilton & Max Flint who took to the court.

World doubles champion Shilton and his younger opponent started faster, taking the first two games, but Bishop & Wilson – himself a former world singles champion – hit back in the fourth.

But they could not sustain the comeback and Shilton & Flint took the match 3-1 (11-5, 11-4, 5-11, 11-3).

The class 2-5 showcase doubles