Radford on a roll

Table tennis
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The Independent Online
Linda Radford continued her winning run in team events when she made her World Championship debut in Manchester yesterday and helped England to their first win of the competition, a 3-0 victory over Armenia.

The 21-year-old from Dagenham, unbeaten in the Commonwealth team event last week, sat on the sidelines as England's women lost to Lithuania and South Korea.

Yesterday, Radford, given her chance by the team captain, Jill Parker, played with increasing confidence to beat Mariana Sahakyan for the victory that clinched the match.

Lisa Lomas and Andrea Holt, England's leading players, had both won in straight games to give the side a 2-0 lead which gave Radford the perfect springboard for a relaxed performance that masked her initial anxiety. Radford said later: "I was very nervous at the start but once I got into the match I felt a lot better."

England are now confident that they can avoid relegation from Category One, which consists of the top 24 nations.

The Welsh team of Natasha Williams, Bethan Daunton and Delyth Davies beat New Zealand 3-1 to win their group in Category Two while the Irish men - Colum Slevin, Jonathan Cowan and Sean Spelman - had their second successive victory when they overcame Sudan 3-0 in their Category Two match.

Scotland's men -Ewan Walker, Ian Stokes and Gordon Clancy -were also successful, but frustrated as well for they beat Zaire on a walkover.

Results, Digest, page 28