Report on Guernsey, British Primary Schools Tournament
A squad of eight youngsters from the Isle of Man Table Tennis Association travelled to Guernsey over half-term to represent the island in the British Primary Schools Tournament against some of the best players from Great Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands. The kit was generously sponsored by OCRA (Isle of Man) Limited an international corporate and trust service provider. The team managers and coaches were the IoMTTA chairman Maggie Mulhern and the Manx Youth Games Table Tennis co-ordinator Malc Lewis.
Match Reports - Girls
The first match was against Ireland, which was a bit of a baptism by fire as the Irish girls proved to be a really strong team. It was perhaps no surprise that after we lost all our games in straight sets Ireland went on to win the girl’s event.
Next we were up against England. Sophie Sheard had the best chance of winning when she took an end off their number four seed Erin Green. Unfortunately, that was the closest we came to a win and England went on to claim second place in the tournament.
Wales were our next opponents and Sheard put us on the score board when she had an excellent win against Zoe Chase, 11/7, 12/10, 11/5. Lauren Allwright, from the Junior Development squad, was making her debut at international level and had a close game against the same Welsh player, losing 10/12, 6/11, 5/11.
We were unlucky not to pick up more than one win against Scotland. Libby Quaggin, first on against Holly McNamara, went the distance narrowly losing 12/10, 7/11, 11/7, 6/11, 8/11. Kitty Thomas picked up our only win in this match when she beat McNamara 11/8, 9/11, 7/11, 11/9, 11/4.
Quaggin and Thomas in the doubles went down 8/11, 8/11, 12/10, 5/11. Allwright put up a good fight against Amelia Smolarek losing in the fifth set, 12/10, 12/14, 5/11, 11/8, 8/11.
The first four games against Guernsey went to the IOM with Quaggin, Thomas and Allwright all winning in straight sets while it took Sheard five sets to win her match. We won the number one doubles with Quaggin and Thomas beating Starr O’Connor & Megan Simonet 11/5, 11/4, 11/6. Unfortunately, we lost our second doubles leaving us 6-1 up.
Quaggin and Sheard went on to take their second singles. Thomas, playing well, went down in straight sets 7/11, 8/11, 8/11. Allwright, playing against Erin Vaudin, took the first two ends 11/9, 11/8 just losing the third 10/12 their match went down to the fifth end 7/11 which, never-the-less left us with an excellent 7-3 win and our team finished in fifth place overall.
Sunday was Singles day and play started in groups. Thomas and Quaggin both went through to the main event after finishing second in their groups. Their first round opponents from England & Ireland respectively were too strong and both girls lost in straight sets.
Sheard and Allwright both finished third in their groups and went into the plate event. Their quarter final matches both went our way with Sheard beating Megan Simonet of Guernsey 11/6, 11/4, 11/9 and Allwright confusing Charlotte Burridge of Scotland 11/7, 11/1, 11/2.
Sheard played her semi-final match against Amelia Smolarek of Scotland and went down in four sets 4/11, 11/4, 7/11, 5/11. Similarly, Allwright, playing another Scottish girl went down in straight sets.
Maggie Mulhern stated that it had been an excellent weekend’s play from all four girls.
Match Reports - Boys
Ireland and England were the boy’s first opponents and although both teams proved too strong for our team there were some encouraging signs for the rest of the weekend play. Despite losing, our international debutants Tiernan Garvey and Cameron Dudley, recorded respectable scores against England going down 7/11, 4/11, 3/11 and 8/11, 4/11 and 5/11 to Felis Tomis and Bertie Kelly respectively.
The next two games saw us up against Guernsey and Jersey, so this was a real battle of the islands. An 8-2 loss against Guernsey didn’t tell the whole story as there were some great games. Tyler Hannay had a close game against Callum Gibson losing 11/6, 16/14 11/9, while Matthew Emison was unlucky not to pick up at least and end against the same player losing 12/10 in the third set. Our points came from Dudley who pulled back from two ends down to win 11/6 in the fifth set against James Crocker. Then Garvey won in straight sets against the same player 7/11, 9/11, 4/11. Both doubles pairings of Hannay and Emison plus Garvey and Dudley lost in five sets so the match score could have been closer.
The boys were still playing well and they got the result their play deserved against Jersey in another close match, winning 6-4. All players won a singles match: Emison beating Noah Risby 11/8 in the fifth; Hannay taking the fifth set 13/11 against the same player; Garvey winning both singles against Xavier Syvert and Luca Macaione dropping just one end; Dudley winning in three straight against Syvert. The crucial match proved to be the doubles where second pairing Garvey and Dudley won their match. A great performance from the players who all contributed to an excellent win.
The day finished against Scotland and Wales. Scotland proved too strong for our players winning the game 10-0. Wales who had done well so far may have expected a 10-0 win but Hannay and Garvey managed to put points on the board. Hannay beat Evan O’Connor in four tight sets and Garvey overcome Kavin Durai in three sets and then James Vaidya 11/5 in the fifth after being two sets down. Both Emison and Dudley had close matches and could have added to the three points for us.
The team event was won by Ireland with Scotland placed second. Our team finished sixth ahead of Jersey and just behind Guernsey.
Sunday was the Singles day and with one win for each player in the group stages this put all four boys in the Plate competition. Hannay lost in the first round to Kavin Durai who was the eventual winner. The other three players all won their first round matches: – Emison and Dudley both winning 13/11 in the fifth while Garvey won in three straight. There were some long battles in the quarter-finals with Dudley losing 11/7 in the fifth against Freddie Walker from Guernsey and then Emison winning 13/11 in the fourth against Caden Brouard from Guernsey. Garvey won in three straight sets against Zaheer Anees also of Guernsey. Despite having two players in the semi-finals neither were able to reach the final to bring home a medal. However, overall it was a great weekend from the boys with some excellent results against very strong opposition.
MAGGIE MULHERN AND MALC LEWIS