Article by Donald Pirie
The Scottish Inter-League (Team) Table Tennis Championships took place over the weekend of 23-25 March, with the usual strong contingent of ASV Table Tennis Academy players in attendance.
The Inter-League championships are effectively the Scottish Team champs, with teams competing in all age categories across male & female players. All the Scottish regions, West of Scotland, Dumfries, Stirlingshire, Edinburgh & Lothian, Dundee & District and such like, select teams for each of the categories.
As we have come to expect ALL the junior age Aberdeen teams were players from the ASV Academy, with U13 boys & girls, U15 boys, & U18 boys & girls teams all represented.
Things got off to a great with Isla Stott (St. Margaret's School) & Tessa Yau (Albyn School) dominating the U18 Girls event. Between them, Isla & Tessa only dropped one set across the whole event, and gave the Aberdeen team an excellent start by becoming the Scottish U18 Girls Team Champions.
We also had high hopes in the U13 boys event, with a strong Aberdeen squad of Louis Loi (Turriff Academy), Daniel Tibbetts (Arduthie Primary) & Dylan Thies (Aberden Grammar). As expected it came down to the very last match on the Sunday against Edinburgh, who like Aberdeen were also unbeaten up to this point. Edinburgh had the current Scottish Primary Schools champion Charlie McGowan as their No.1 seed. Daniel has beaten Charlie previously, but not on this occasion, and Edinburgh took a 1-0 lead in the match. Louis was up next taking a comfortable game win 3-0 to even the match score at 1-1. Then Dylan also produced some of his best table tennis to take another 3-0 game score and put Aberdeen into a 2-1 lead. Louis then had to take on Charlie, but never really produced the play we know Louis is capable of, and the match was poised at 2-2 with one game left to play. It was up to Daniel to secure the final game victory for Aberdeen, which he did in some style 3-0, and Aberdeen became the U13 Boys Scottish Team Champions. This was in fact the 6th year in a row that Aberdeen have taken the U13 boys title, such is the domination of the ASV Academy!
The story for the U15 boys was almost identical, remaining defeated all weekend and having to take on West of Scotland in the final and deciding match. Rafal Wilowski (Banchory Academy), Yifei Fang (Robert Gordon's School) & Josef Bokedal (Aberdeen Grammar) were representing Aberdeen. Top ranked player in the U15 boys event was Charlie Morton from Glasgow, and playing for the West of Scotland. Yifei was up first against Charlie, and after taking the first end, was dispatched 3-1, and this put the West into a 1-0 lead. Rafal & Josef played some excellent stuff in their games, and Aberdeen were quickly back into a 2-1 lead and looking comfortable.
Charlie was up next again for the West though, and went up against Rafal. After two very close games it was Rafal who went into a 2-0 lead. Rafal has played Charlie many times in the past, and lately Charlie has just had the edge, so this was excellent stuff by Rafal. However Charlie clawed his way back into the match taking the next 2 sets on deuce, and squared the game at 2-2. Despite Rafal trying to frustrate his opponent with his consistent and well thought out play, Charlie took the final set and put the West back level at 2-2. It was down to Yifei to win the last game of the day against Michael Zhang from the West team, and after Yifei taking a comfortable 1-0 lead in the game, suddenly found himself 1-2 down! After some nervous moments, great serving, and some excellent attacking play, Yifei was back at 2-2 and then dispatched Michael in the last set to secure Aberdeen as the U15 Boys Scottish Team Champions.
Our U13 girls and our U18 boys also performed very well across the weekend.
Hania Petryk (Sunnybank School) & Willow Shek (Greenbrae Primary) just lost out to the West of Scotland in the final match of their weekend, and took a Silver Medal in the U13 Girls team event.
U18 boys of Andrew McRae (Westhill Academy), Elias Bokedal (Aberdeen Grammar) & Murray Gauld (Hazlehead Academy) also took a Silver Medal. The boys lost out in a very tight deciding match against Edinburgh 2-3, and can count themselves very unfortunate not to have taken the title after some excellent play across the weekend.
Clearly it was another successful weekend of Table Tennis for the ASV Academy players, taking 3 Titles and 2 Silvers from a total of 5 junior teams, and without doubt Aberdeen were the most successful age category team across the weekend.
Last event of the season is the Scottish National Championships, taking place over the weekend of 28/29 April, being delayed from early March due to the 'beast from the east'! We will be looking for the ASV Academy players to take a few Scottish titles to end the season on a high!