The 2017/2018 season now nearing the half-way mark, Matthew is well on his way towards achieving the goals he has set himself.
Matthew, now 17, has joined the ITTF Junior World Circuit and participated in the ITTF Portugal Junior Open – managing to secure a place in the last 32, and win a bronze medal in the team event – and the ITTF Czech Junior Open (a premium event with players such as the world number 6 and 7 also participating) seeing him play against the World number 65 at the time (U18).
Matthew also managed to achieve a career high rank in his age group (u18) of number 6 in England, resulting in his qualification in the English Nationals, and provisionally in the English National cup. He is currently ranked 365th in the world junior rankings list after just two events and is looking forward to the opportunity to play in many more during the course of the year thanks largely to the generous support of The Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation.
In addition, Matthew was crowned Hampshire Senior Men’s champion in spite of being seeded number 2 for the tournament. Matthew has only played one senior competition in the UK, due to league commitments in Germany. At the Bath Grand Prix he reached the final of Band 2, with wins against players with over 200 ranking points higher than him, and losing to a German in the final who was well over 200 points higher in Germany than Matthew.
Matthew, having changed clubs this season from Mainz 05, joined TTG Niederkassel, near Koln in Germany. He is very grateful to the members of Niederkassel TTG for making him feel so welcome and for their great hospitality. He is flying out and playing most weekends for the club. Matthew has fought hard in the league, achieving wins against players such as Daniel Stanchev from Bulgaria who has participated in ITTF senior events that Matthew hasn’t yet had the opportunity to do. Matthew has made many appearances in league matches playing doubles alongside fellow teammate Milan Hetzenneger, who was Matthew’s coach’s old teammate at Bruhl-Vochem.
Matthew has set his goals high for this season, hoping to try and enhance not only his ranking points in England, but also in the World. Matthew’s aim for the u18 category is to rank himself at a minimum of 5 in the country, and in the u21 category, to be placed at 15th. In the u18 world rank, the initial target was simply to get a ranking but is now set at a minimum of top 200 – and top 150-100 would be an amazing goal to try and achieve.