Over the weekend of Fri 10th to Sun 12th Feb the Draycott & Long Eaton Table Tennis Club were invited to compete in the Riga City Youth Cup.
The Draycott Club - who coach two of Latvia’s top senior International players, selected 4 of its very talented young players along with coaches Jon Bayliss, Paul Jennings and Jo Green to visit the capital city of Latvia in what proved to be a very exciting weekend. The squad faced strong opposition which included National teams from Latvia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Lithuania and Regional teams from Minsk, Moscow and Estonia plus a number of other table tennis clubs from the Baltic region. The organisers had also turned away over 100 entries for this very popular event.
First up was 10-year-old Anna Green - ranked England No.1 at U/11 who competed in the U/12 girl’s event and after a steady start progressed through her group stage and reached the last 16. She next faced the No.3 seed Dovydaittye Goda from Lithuania and played some terrific table tennis but was finally beaten by her older opponent by 3 games to 1. Anna eventually took 16th place but almost finished in the top 12 after losing in the 5th end of her 9-16 playoff match after having held 4 match points at 2 games to 1 up.
Connor Green (10) ranked England No.1 at U/11 also competed in the U/12 event and started really well winning all four of his group games and then progressed through the next round before facing Lithuania’s Ignas Sasianovas and despite winning the first end was beaten 3-1 by the eventual Runner-up. Connor then won two further very tough play-off matches against Uzbekistan and Latvian opponents to finish in an outstanding 5th place.
12-year-old Naphong Boonyaprapa (Ranked England No.1 at U/12) also played in the U/12 event immediately showed his intent by winning his group and then stormed through the next two rounds before scoring a semi-final win over Lithuania’s Gutys Knezius 3-0 and then faced Ignas in the final. Naphong started strongly and kept up the pressure to win 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 and take the Under 12 Boys title.
Naphong also competed in the Cadet Boys (U/15) event and played some further outstanding table tennis against much older opposition and finished in a very creditable 17th place.
Naphat Boonyaprapa (15) Ranked England No.7 at U/16 level) competed in the Junior event and also played really well to progress through his group and then beat Uzbekistan National team player Maksud Nurpulatov 16-14, 11-3, 11-6 before losing a titanic 5 game match against Mukhridden Rajabov (UZB) but then battled on to win the 7th / 8th playoff match against Latvia’s Andrejs Cemertans.
The Draycott Club team were awarded joint 3rd place in the team event with a 1st, 5th, 7th and 16th place finishes
Draycott Head Coach – Phil Vickers commented “The players, coaches were very well looked after by their Latvian hosts All the young Draycott players rose to the challenge and played to the best of their ability and have gained valuable experience both dealing with playing abroad and against unknown foreign opposition”