Bicester’s Christelle Rajapaksa wins Under 21s

Vicky Coll began her morning campaign with a four game group loss to Scarlett Anders (Middlesex/Cadet ranked 19). She recovered to nudge home against the higher ranked Emily Beasley (Warks/Junior 49) 12-10, 12-10, 12-10. A further straightforward win over Sasha Withers (Notts) gave her a chance of qualifying for the main draw. This quickly became a reality, as the top seed in her group, Niamh Scarborough (Cheshire/ Junior 46) conceded 0-3 through injury. In the quarter-final she encountered Lauren Loosemore (Devon/Junior 53), who had overwhelmed her at the last Burton tournament: this time it was a desperately close match, with Vicky carving out a 9-6 lead in the decider before losing 10-12. Lauren herself went on to play an equally gripping final game against Scarlett, blowing a 10-6 lead to finish as runner-up. Vicky, having started the season at 120 and currently ranked 73, is honing her counter-hitting game to a sharp edge at the moment and steadily making her way back into the top 50 junior girls.

In the afternoon Bicester’s Christelle Rajapaksa blew the opposition away with a scintillating all-action display in Under 21 Girls. She beat the dangerous Emily Beasley (Warks/Junior ranked 49), dominating for two games and taking the 3rd at deuce. Next up was the top seeded Charlotte Marsden (Herts/Junior 23), a very powerful hitter but still out of sorts after losing her junior semi-final. This went the distance, Christelle keeping Charlotte under constant pressure with her own powerful hitting and extracting some nervy errors as she eventually prevailed 11-8. That was the last we saw of the top seed, who at this point left the arena never to return! Isobella Khan (Avon/ Junior 51), a fluent stroke-maker, also fought her way through the competition, defeating Vicky Coll 3-0 inter alias, and this set the stage for a final hard-hitting showdown between two very determined young ladies. Christelle edged home 11-9 in the first two games, then losing the 3rd by a similar margin before taking a 10-2 lead in the 4th, eventually getting over the line 11-7. Vicky Coll took on Emily Beasley for 3rd place and beat her again, this time going to five splendid games. This was a fine event in spite of the disappointment of losing the most talented player en route, and great credit goes to the two Oxfordshire girls.

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The top three in Under 21 Girls, Isobella Khan (Avon), Christelle Rajapaksa (Oxon) and Vicky Coll (Oxon).




Author: via Oxford Table Tennis League
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