By lunchtime on Sunday they were almost ready to wave goodbye to any hopes of progressing from the group stages – but by yesterday evening they had won their way into the semi-final by beating the Isle of Man.
However, when the dust of the team competition settled they were denied a medal of any colour. In the semi-final they were two matches down to Greenland before men’s doubles pairing Ben Watson and Gavin Carter, despite fighting a valiant three-setter, lost by next to nothing.
Although the ladies won their doubles, and Kim Ashton and Chris Cotillard the mixed, the game was lost. Still, they had the bronze medal play-off to strive for, which looked hopeful for Jersey with them pitched against a beatable Gotland. But, in the end, six matches in two days clearly got to the team, and they could only manage a one game to Gotland’s three.
Team manager Ian Coombs-Goodfellow said: ‘We have played some very strong teams, but we’ve put up an excellent fight. Some of those results are quite misleading because we’ve had plenty of three-set matches which have been lost in the final few points. The players have worked so hard in these last two days, but six matches in two days is a lot for anyone. Some people only have to run. They’ve all done a great job.’
Earlier yesterday morning they were counting their blessings having scraped into the play-off for a semi-final place on countback, ditching Guernsey out of the competition on Sunday.
Faced with a strong Isle of Man squad the players were wary about their prospects of progression – and when Chris Cotillard stumbled in the men’s singles Jersey looked headed for a disappointing day.
Then Kim Ashton won the ladies’ singles in spectacular three-set fashion, before men’s doubles partners Ben Watson and the indestructible Gavin Carter took another three-set thriller, winning a stunning victory after losing the first set.
Both players were phenomenal – particularly the injured Carter, who had left the treatment room for this match and, as Jersey were 19-16 up in the last set, felt his back seize up.
Knowing they needed just two points to win the game he managed to keep going for 21 – before he headed straight back for more treatment!
Ladies doubles’ pairing Lyndsay Woodward and Jade Coombs-Goodfellow were unlucky to lose their match – but despite the nerves at 2-2, with the decider left to mixed doubles partners Cotillard and Ashton, the duo clinically disposed of the opposition in straight sets to lift Jersey’s hopes once again, and seal their place in the semis.
Coombs-Goodfellow said: ‘Some of this has been unbelievable stuff. Ben Watson and Gavin Carter have been absolutely brilliant. Their matches have been incredible to watch. Against the Isle of Man they were behind one set and fought back to win in three sets and put us 2-1 up, and eventually help us through, which we never would have expected.’