Table tennis: Time-out was key in Ramirez defeat, says England’s Joanna Parker

Originally published by SportsByte on January 30th 2013.

England women’s table tennis star Joanna Parker was left bitterly disappointed after a clever time-out played a part in her 3-2 loss against Sara Ramirez.

In a frantic match, Parker came from 2-0 down to level the scores in England’s first European qualifying match of the evening at Gateshead Leisure Centre.

Parker, who participated at London 2012 for Team GB, seemed to be in charge of the match after racing into a 3-0 lead in the final set, but Spain called a time-out and Ramirez went on to win the set without losing another point 3-11.

“I didn’t play my best game tonight,” Parker said. “I think there were a few factors affecting my game.

“I went 2-0 down and I wasn’t playing well, I managed to get it back to 2-2 and then I went 3-0 up in that fifth set and she [Ramirez] called a time-out because she realised the momentum was with me and I was starting to find my game.

“Her time-out kind of messed me up a bit; when you use them well that’s what they’re used for. She called a good time-out, and then I couldn’t find my game again after that which is disappointing as at this level you can’t win matches like that.”

Twenty-five-year-old Parker lost 10-12, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11 to Ramirez, who is ranked a full 55 places above England’s number one in the world rankings.

Coach Alan Cooke was proud of Parker’s efforts saying: “I thought Jo, in patches, played really well. She came back from 2-0 down and looked like she was in control in the fifth set.

“I don’t know what happened. Overall, it wasn’t a bad performance.”

After the match Parker admitted that it would have been a bonus for the English side to get a result against the Spaniards.

The Olympian said: “We knew it was going to be tough. All their players are ranked higher than us, and they are really good players.

“If we had have won it would have been a massive bonus but we did what we could and they proved better players in the end.”

The England team, made up of Parker, Kelly Sibley and Hannah Hicks were ruthlessly beaten 3-0 by Spain in front of a passionate North East crowd – with England now virtually consigned to relegation from the Championship Division of the European Championships.

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