Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall started the defence of their Commonwealth Games Men’s Doubles title with a fine win over Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay & Colin Dalgleish, and they were joined in the last 16 by Sam Walker & Tom Jarvis.
The defending champions (pictured above celebrating their Gold Coast triumph in 2018) were first up and their opponents started like a train – the Flying Scotsmen perhaps – as they opened up an 8-1 lead, with Rumgay enjoying a few ‘laps of honour’ away from the table to reinforce their play with positive body language.
Two successive Drinkhall returns flicked off the net to give Scotland eight game points, and they only needed the second to get the first game on the board in no time at all.
But defending champions Pitchford & Drinkhall are highly rated on the world stage for a reason, and they came out in the second to impose a stranglehold on the game which they never lost.
The next three were all comfortable for the English pair, who next face Tyrese Knight and Ramon Maxwell of Barbados in the round of 16 tomorrow.
Pitchford said: “They came out and risked it all. Obviously, the first set for them was really good. We didn’t really put them under any pressure but after that, we regrouped, got the tactics right and did the job.
“When we took the ball early and didn’t give them any time, it was fairly easy. That’s what we needed to do in the first set, we gave them time and they played well but after that, we did what we needed.”
It was Barbadian opposition in the last 32 for Walker & Jarvis in the final match of the day as they took on Kevin Farley & Tre Riley, and the English pair had simply too much class for their opponents as they opened their campaign with a 5, 3, 2 victory.
Jarvis said afterwards: “No match is easy out there in front of the fans and the cameras. It is sometimes hard to play well when you’re dominating but we did it really well. We had good focus from the start and good signs for the men’s doubles.”
They will face Theo Cogill & Chetan Ooka Rathoo of South Africa in the last 16.
Round of 32
Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall bt Gavin Rumgay & Colin Dalgleish (SCO) 3-1 (3-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4)
Sam Walker & Tom Jarvis bt Kevin Farley & Tre Riley (BAR) 3-0 (11-5, 11-3, 11-2)