Cumbria Schools’ Table Tennis
Furness schools performed excellently at the Cumbria Schools’ Table Tennis Association Team Championships 2014 played at Saint Bernard’s School. They took three out of four titles and also finished runners up in three out of the four finals.
The day’s play began with the Under 11 Boy’s event. Surprisingly this featured only two local teams and a mixed team from Storth School. Both Holy Family and Saint Columba defeated Storth 6-2. Storth’s victories came from Lucas Schofield and Connor A-Tann and a brace of wins for Chloe Woodruff. Their number one player Maya Schofield played some very good table tennis especially when she went to a deciding fifth set against the Holy Family number one Sol Stanway.
In the Final Saint Columba continued their recent domination of this event with a 7-1 win. Toby Wilson and Joss Edwards remained unbeaten throughout the event. Fraser Park won both his matches in the final whilst Adam McLoughlin finished with two wins from his four matches. Joe Amison was the winner for Holy Family. The other players in the Holy family line up were Sol Stanway, Joseph Lyness and Kaven Burns.
The Under 11 Girls’ Final featured the same two schools but this time it was Holy Family who were stronger. They were led by Rebecca Rigg who won both her matches, although she was pushed very hard by another Year 5 player Leah Ralph with the score 11-8, 11-9, 16-14. Molly Stephenson also collected two wins beating Cerys Thompson and Chloe Irvine. Lucy Atkinson’s win against Amelia Langhorn secured the title for Holy Family. Saint Columba’s Leah Ralph, Cerys Thompson and Amelia Langhorn each won once so that the final result was 5-3.
Teams from Kendal, Egremont, Kirkby Lonsdale, Dalton and Barrow competed for the Under 13 Boys’ title. It soon became clear that the title would be decided between three teams – Queen Elizabeth, Kirkby Lonsdale, Dowdales and Saint Bernard’s. Dowdales gained 7-1 wins against Queen Katherine, Kendal and West Lakes Academy. Bradley Fagan and Blaine Stansfield won all of their matches whilst Benson Moncrief and Hadley Cartmell collected 3 wins from 4 matches each.
Queen Elizabeth won their matches against the same two teams 6-2 and 7-1. Archie Catnach took all four of his matches whilst team mates Tom Horrocks, Dan Pritchard and Jamie Yafai all won three out of their four. Saint Bernard’s started most impressively winning both matches 8-0. There were four wins for Matthew Rigg, Ben McDonald and Mackenzie Rushton whilst Josh Dawson and Jake Croft remained unbeaten in their two matches.
West lakes top player was Joseph Alderson. Playing at the top of the order he collected four wins. Queen Katherine’s top player was Jim O’Reilly who also won four of his matches. Queen Katherine finished the day in fourth after beating West Lakes 6-2. Jim O’Reilly and Bence Bacsi won twice and Jay Hebblethwaite and Jonah Aldridge each won once.
In the final round of matches Dowdales found the opposition too strong and were beaten 7-1 by Queen Elizabeth. Benson Moncrief gaining their only win. They also lost 6-2 against local rivals Saint Bernard’s; Blaine Stansfield and Hadley Cartmell both winning. Match of the Day came in this encounter when Benson Moncrief played Jake Croft. Benson went two games ahead 22-20, 11-6 before Jake replied 11-3, 11-9. The Saint Bernard’s player won the decider 13-11. Both players showed good attacking spin shots even when the scores became close.
The Final started in exciting fashionas Archie Catnach and Ben McDonald traded games 7-11, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8. Archie’s mix of top spin attack and defence gradually wore down the fast offensive game of McDonald. The last end was won 11-7 by Catnach to put Queen Elizabeth ahead. However, the disappointment showed by McDonald spurred his team mates on and that was the last time they were behind in the match as Matthew Rigg, Jake Croft and Mackenzie Rushton outplayed their opponents to take the Cumbria Title 7-1.
The Under 16 event again featured teams from right across the county with Millom, Kendal, Milnthorpe and Barrow represented. The standard in this event was very high with several top division players from the Barrow and Kendal leagues featuring. All the matches were very close showing the overall high standard of the teams.
Millom School lost their three group matches by very close margins – 3-5 against Saint Bernard’s, 2-6 against Queen Katherine and 3-5 against Dallam. This last match could have been a draw as Stephen Goulding for Queen Katherine won his second match 12-10 in the deciding game. Scott Barker had an outstanding competition and remained unbeaten throughout. He emerged victorious in three matches that went to deciding games showing his composure under pressure. Jack Cullen gave Millom their other victories whilst brothers Sam and Tom Huddleston both played extremely well at the top of the order.
Dallam School finished third in the event with a 5-3 win against Millom, a 3-5 defeat against Queen Katherine and a 2-6 defeat against Saint Bernard’s. Stephen Troughton, Stephen Gosling and Brad Varey all won three matches and Jay Green won once.
In the Final Saint Bernard’s were against a well drilled Queen Katherine team all of whom play regularly in the Kendal league, whilst their top player is a regular winner at national tournaments around the country. With two of their players recently returning to the game Saint Bernard’s had done well to reach the final.
There was a good start for Saint Bernard’s with top player Ben O’Flynn easily defeating opposite number two Paul Chan with consistent power from his forehand wing. Ryan Cotton came very close to notching up the valuable win against the Kendal team’s top player, James Neal that was needed – just going down in four games despite a clever mix of defence and attack which made Neal work hard for victory. There followed a run of 5 wins for Queen Katherine – all gained in four or five games. Tom Snelgrove was particularly unlucky to lose his match to number two Paul Chan in a decider and Louis Rourke was beaten by the narrow margin of 14-12 by Peter Chan.
The current Cumbria under 16 champion James Neal saw off the challenge of Ben O’Flynn in a hard fought four game match. The Kendal left hander spraying his topspin loops around the table making it difficult for O’Flynn to penetrate with his sharply hit forehands. Ryan Cotton added a win to the Saint Bernard’s total before Patrick O’Reilly defeated Rourke to make the final score 6-2.
Three events were unplayed as there were only one team in each of these events so that Dowdales Under 13 and Under 16 Girls’ teams become county champions as do Queen Katherine Under 19 Boys. All three teams will join the other Cumbria Champions at the National Zone Finals in Billingham on the weekend of 31st January.
Holy Family Under 11 Boys, Saint Bernard's Under 16 Boys, and Queen Elizabeth Under 13 Boys have all been invited to play at the Zone finals.