Kingfisher’s junior championship was again a success with four events and 108 matches scheduled over six and a half hours of the late morning and afternoon of April 27th. For many of the entrants this was their first tournament and, in some cases, the first time they had ever played a ‘proper’ match with an official umpire. Our thanks go to volunteer umpires Aled Howell, Lisa Williams, Peter Bradley, Darren Thomas, Tim Coombes, Sandra Shepherd, Chris Squire and Eric Van Looy without whom the tournament could not have taken place.
With only two contestants, Beechwood Primary School pupil Zak Squire won the Under-11 competition with a win over 8 year-old Johnny Coombes from Robert Piggott Primary in Wargrave.
One of the most closely contested events was the Under-13 singles where, on paper, the event could have been won by any one of four players. As it turned out, unseeded Ben Thomas, having beaten Katie Shepherd in the semis, took the title with a five-set win over no.1 seed Alex Squire.
The Cadet Singles (Under-15) competition finished very much as predicted with the top two seeds meeting in the final, and what a final it was! Having beaten Joseph Cornmell and Isaac Farnworth in the semis, last year’s winner Leo Long and Sam Liu battled it out. Sam took the first game easily and Leo levelled only for Sam to take a 2-1 games lead before Leo won the fourth to take the match into a decider and then took the fifth game by the narrowest of margins, 12-10.
The final event, Kingfisher’s blue riband competition, the Junior Singles, was organised in groups of five players with four seeds (Leo Long, Sam Liu, James Ellicott and Isaac Farnworth) exempt until the last 16. Group winners Joseph Cornmell, Kieran Warre, Adam Gozzard and Alex Squire were joined in the main draw by the seeds and those players who had finished 2nd and 3rd in each group: Scarlett Jones, Jamie Lomax, Katie Shepherd, Bertie Coombes, Ben Thomas, Abdel Mukhtar, Kevin Gurung and Kian Kasler.
Of all the contestants, probably the most unfortunate was 13 year-old Bertie Coombes who, having lost 12-10 in the deciding game against Kieran Warre in the groups, then lost by exactly the same score against the no. 4 seed Isaac Farnworth in the last 16.
As it turned out, all four seeds reached their allotted positions in the semi-finals with last year’s runner-up, Sam Liu, easily despatching Joseph Cornmell in the quarters and James Ellicott in the semis to book his place against no. 1 seed Leo Long in the final; Leo having won 3-0 against Adam Gozzard and Isaac Farnworth in the quarters and semi respectively.
The first game of the final was really tight with both players having game points before Leo finally clinched it with a nail-biting 16-14. When Sam won the second game it looked as if the contest could be as close as the Cadet Singles final between the same two players, finishing at deuce in the decidng game. However it wasn’t to be. Leo’s consistent counter-hitting allowed him to take the third and fourth games to win the title.
|Zak Squire (U-11)||Ben Thomas (U-13)||Leo Long (Cadet & Jnr)||Winners & Runner-Ups|
Under - 11 Singles
Zak Squire - Johnny Coombes: 11-4, 11-6, 11-8
Under 13 Singles
Ben Thomas - Alex Squire: 11-5, 15-13, 9-11, 8-11, 11-2
Leo Long - Sam Liu: 2-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10
Leo Long - Sam Liu: 16-14, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9