Paul McCreery has grown in international stature at the Liebherr 2010 World Championships in Moscow as he chased World ranking points, having already jumped over 200 places this season to be the current highest ranked Irish player.
In the midst of travelling over one hour, to take two A level exams in the Russian capital, the 17-year-old McCreery from Crossgar was the backbone of the Irish team.
After a victory over Moldova, the squad, coached by Swede Peter Neilson, went down 3-2 to the Dominican Republic and 3-0 to Ecuador.
McCreery took out Juan Vila Batista, a player who is 240 places ahead in the new World rankings, 3-1 in the opener of the Dominican Republic match.
He later lost to Ju Lin, while John Murphy (Dublin) defeated Emil Santos, with Keith Knox (Tyrone) losing twice. McCreery opened brilliantly in the Ecuador match against Geovanny Coello, with a world rating 175 places ahead of the RBAI sixth former, but lost out 13-11 in the fifth set.
This left Murphy and University of Ulster student Knox to face the Ecuador strength in vain.
China are dominating both men's and women's team events but many players are seeking bonus points in the World rankings.
McCreery, watched by his father Tom, is already improving in Moscow on his No. 743 position, in a list which has over 1,700 active international players on ITTF computer system.