On December 30th, The Kettering and District Table Tennis League held its first ever tournament designed specifically for junior players playing at a beginner level. The event was held at Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre, the home of Corby Town Table Tennis Club. The tournament attracted 18 participants, aged 7-15, with the players coming from Burton Latimer Baptists, Westfield, Market Harborough and Corby.
The tournament was split into two parts. Part one saw five groups, each with either three or four players in them. Players were then put into three groups of six players, dependent on their final positions from these initial groups.
Group C was made up of those players who finished in last place in their initial group and mainly consisted of those players from the younger end of the age scale. The winner of this group was Joshua Adams who won all five of his matches. The next two places were taken up by the only two girls in the tournament. Daria Gulbicki came second with four wins and Lucy Haynes was third with three wins. These were followed by Ethan Hunt (2 wins), Elisio Keightley (1 win) and Jack Perrin (0 wins).
Group B was mainly made up with players who finished in 2nd and 3rd place in their initial groups. Luke Brown carried all before him in this intermediate group, taking the top spot with five wins from five matches. Ben Freeman took the runners-up spot but there was very little to choose between the two players as shown by the match between the two players which Luke won 11-8, 11-9, 8-11. Miles Clark finished third with 3 wins, Alex Campbell took fourth (2 wins), Adam Mills was 5th (1 win) with Callum Bright in 6th position (0 wins).
Group A was for those players who had won their initial group plus the best runner-up and so it featured the top players in the event. The winner of this group and as such, the winner of the competition overall was Burton Latimer’s Harry Lade. Harry won all five of his matches to take the top spot with his closest match being an 11-8, 11-7, 13-15 success over club colleague Jacob Tattersall. Had Jacob won this match, there would have been a three way tie for top spot involving Harry, Jacob and Harborough’s Ben Clarkson. Ben finished in 2nd place overall with 4 wins with Jacob pushed down into 3rd place (3 wins). Jamie Morrison was 4th (2 wins), Conor Bromley finished 5th (1 win) with Thomas Strupar 6th (0 wins).
Overall, the tournament was a great success, providing some valuable match experience to those juniors who might not otherwise get to play any competitive matches. The level of play was quite high and surprised some of the adult players who were there to oversee the running of the tournament and the attitude of all the players was excellent with all players showing exemplary behaviour in success or defeat. Following the success of this event, it is hoped that further tournaments will be held to provide a platform to build the junior table tennis section across the Kettering and District Table Tennis League’s catchment area.
If you have a child who is interested in learning to play table tennis, there are a number of clubs in the area that provide coaching sessions. These include clubs based in Wellingborough, Burton Latimer, Islip, Rothwell, Market Harborough and Corby. Full details can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/kettering