Ormesby and Burton Uxbridge sealed the major gongs of the Junior British League season in epic fashion.
Ormesby played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with London Academy to take the Boys’ crown, whilst Burton Uxbridge defeated title rivals Ellenborough 4-2 in the Girls’ title tussle.
It was the game between Ormesby and London Academy that shall ultimately define the season. An utterly thrilling contest between the two sides ended with the pair unable to be separated, which handed Ormesby the title on sets difference. But this was more than a just a draw, but a match that makes the British League one of the most special and memorable events on the table tennis calendar.
Ormesby knew they needed just a point to clinch the title, and got off to a perfect start as Tom Jarvis won a superb encounter with Gabriel Achampong in the fifth, with the two players going back and forth in mid distance rallies, before Jarvis’ ability to create the angles finally saw him to victory.
The next decider was soon upon the expectant crowd as Chris Wheeler and Luke Savill went toe to toe, and this time it was Academy’s man, Savill, who clinched it in the final end, and the match was suddenly back on.
London completed a mini turnaround as Willaim Apelqvist comfortably dispatched of Huang Zehong, putting Academy just two sets away from the title.
Jarvis entered the arena with the burden of pressure weighing on his shoulders, and when he went 2-1 down to Savill, who was his only previous British League defeat of the season, most would have crumbled.
But he showed the mental toughness that separates him from the rest. His composure and control surpasses that of his age, and it was evident as he took the next two games 11-4 & 11-6 to give Ormesby a vital set.
Suddenly, the pressure shifted the way of London Academy, who needed the next two sets or the title was heading north to Ormesby. It didn’t affect Achampong, however, who defeated Zehong 3-0 to put the game level and the title on the line.
As Wheeler and Apelqvist prepared to do battle, whispers of the situation spread around the hall and spectators flocked around the surrounding courts, with well over 200 people ready to watch what would be the decider of all deciders.
And so it turned out. What panned out was a truly epic affair, with both players raising their game to the occasion. Stunning shots, tremendous courage and awe inspiring rallies were in abundance as both players hunted glory.
Ultimately, triumph fell to Wheeler, who battled through four incredibly tight ends to grasp the title to the delight of the Ormesby faithful.
The Girls’ title wasn’t quite as eventful as Burton triumphed 4-2 against Ellenborough. Needing just a point, Burton wrapped it up in the fourth end. Fittingly, it was Eva Wang who clinched the title with victory over Emily Bolton to secure the third set and title. Wang had previously given Burton the lead with a 3-0 victory over Denise Payet before Bolton put Ellenborough level with victory over Lois Peake. A crucial set between Burton’s Letitia McMullen and Ellenborough’s Zahna Hall went the way of McMullen 3-1, and with just a set required, it appeared inevitable that the unbeaten Wang would claim it, and she did so with victory over Bolton. Payet added a consolation with victory over McMullen before Peake, who only arrived in the country from the Czech Open at 3 AM, secured victory by defeating Hall.
Northfield’s Division 1 title year ended on a slightly disappointing note as they drew 3-3 with Greenhouse. Victory would have given them ten wins from ten, whilst Bournemouth Girls secured the Division 1 crown by overcoming rivals Munster 4-2. Munster had just two players.
St Mary’s TTC Hull wrapped up the Division 2A title with victory over second placed Pompey after Harry Dai and James Garrod won twice, whilst Fusion ended the season in style in 2B with a 6-0 win over Dublin. The same can be said of Fusion Ladies, with the Division 2 champions making it ten wins from ten with victory over Warrington.
The excellent Rasen Racers secured the Division 3A title with a 5-1 win over Ulster, with Carl Baldry and Nicholas Keast winning twice, whilst Division 3B champions are Boys’ Team of the Weekend Byng Hall. They defeated Halton to claim the title.
Cippenham’s wish was granted as Cardiff’s 4-2 victory over Urban handed Cippenham the title. Their 6-0 win over Leeds Ladies was enough to give them the championship after Urban’s defeat.
Cardiff TTC made sure of the Division 4A title with victory over Ormesby 2, whilst JOOLA Plymouth’s 4-2 defeat to 4B runners up Wales B was insignificant having already claimed the title.