TABLE TENNIS: KELLY Sibley sealed a great comeback as England won 3-2 in Slovenia to seal their place in the European Team Championships qualifying play-offs.
Sibley lost the first match to Alex Galic 3-0 (11-9, 11-6, 13-11) but two wins for Tin-Tin Ho, either side of a defeat for Maria Tsaptsinos, meant it was 2-2 going into Sibley’s second match against Ana Tofant, with the winning country guaranteed a play-off spot.
And Sibley showed her class with a superb 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 12-10) victory as England repeated their 3-2 home triumph – also from 2-1 down – against the same opponents in November.
It means England finished second in their group behind Olympic silver medallists Germany and will now face Spain, home and away, in the play-offs in April. The winners will qualify for the top division at the Europeans later this year while the losers will go into the second tier.
Sibley said: “We knew it was going to be very tough and we’re pleased we were mentally strong enough.
“We’ve had two matches where we won from 2-1 down. We never gave up and kept pushing and that gives us confidence.
“Spain is going to be tough again but we honestly believe if we play well as a team – and our team spirit is one of the best in Europe – we can definitely beat them.”