Kendal Youngsters Star in English Schools Finals
The national finals of the English Schools Table Tennis Tournament took place over the weekend at the Aldersley Leisure Centre in Wolverhampton. 4 Kendal & District League players, James Neal, Anna Parkinson, Ben McDonald and Jake Haygarth took part. The tournament starts with round robin groups and both Ben McDonald, in the Under 16s and Jake Haygarth in the Under 13s, won through to the knockout stage. James Neal faced unbelievably high quality competition in the Under 19s and did well to win one of his group matches, as did Anna Parkinson in the girls Under 19 event. Jake Haygarth, who at 11 is ranked 25th in England Under 13, was unlucky enough to face Lancashire’s Toby Ellis in the first knockout round (the last 16) and was beaten 11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 9-11, 11-5 by his older and bigger opponent, despite a thrilling comeback from 2 games to 0 down. Ben McDonald was the star of the show, however, reaching the semi-final of the Under 16 event. Ben, ranked 70 in England Juniors, produced a brilliant performance to win his quarter-final match 8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7 before meeting his match in the semi-final.
Meanwhile, Dalton Cricket Club A were crowned champions of the Kendal & District Table Tennis league for the third year in a row, with Natland A runners-up. Division 2 was won by Burton B with Kirkby Stephen A running them close. Grayrigg A were champions of Division 3 with Crook C second.
Competitive play continues over the summer at Natland Table Tennis Club and social play at the Kendal Table tennis Club, at Kendal Leisure Centre, each Tuesday evening.