North-East table tennis star Drinkhall claims Commonwealth gold

GOLDEN JOY: Husband and wife team Paul and Joanna Drinkhall claimed the mixed doubles table tennis title at the Commonwealth Games

GOLDEN JOY: Husband and wife team Paul and Joanna Drinkhall claimed the mixed doubles table tennis title at the Commonwealth Games

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

CLEVELAND'S Paul Drinkhall completed his set of Commonwealth Games medals as he teamed up with his wife, Joanna, to win the mixed doubles title.

Having claimed a silver and bronze medal at the 2010 Games in Delhi, Drinkhall added another silver to his collection when he was part of the England men's side that lost out to Singapore in the team final on Monday.

However, the British number one went one better at the Scotstoun Sports Campus this afternoon as his husband-and-wife partnership beat Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho 3-2 in a thrilling all-English final.

The Drinkhalls claimed the first game 11-7 before stretching their lead with a comfortable 11-3 win in the second.

Ho and Pitchford came back in game three, which they took 11-5 in rapid fashion.

Ho, 15, is the youngest member of the England team but was not fazed by an appearance in the final, as along with Pitchford she pushed the favourites in game four to force a decider.

Tied at 10-10 in the fourth, the match was in the balance before Paul Drinkhall missed a smash and Ho and Pitchford levelled the match at 2-2.

They then claimed first blood in game five, but a pumped-up Paul Drinkhall claimed the next point before a missed shot put the married pair ahead.

A 2-1 lead quickly translated to a 5-1 advantage, with the Drinkhalls wrapping up victory by an 11-5 margin in the fifth.

The gold added to the bronze medal won by Hutton Rudby's Danny Reed and Kelly Sibley after they defeated Singapore's Jian Zhan and Tianwei Feng 3-1.

"It's great for English table tennis, it's great to play our team-mates, it's great to beat Singapore," said Paul Drinkhall. "I came for four medals, got two, but one of them is gold."

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