On the 22nd and 23rd of November, over 200 young players from all over England went to Preston to compete in the biggest Junior and Cadet event of the season. The event was held at the UCLAN sports centre (University of Central Lancashire)
On Saturday, the junior event took place and Woodfield player, Charlotte Bardsley who at 12 years old was hoping to improve on her progress of last year. She duly did that by qualifying out of her group, though she had almost topped the group when she just missed a match point by an inch against the number 5 seed in the 3rd end. Finally losing that match in 5, she took a lot of positives away from the match and with an impressive display of very quick counter hitting she knocked out the number 7 seed, which set up a match against Tin Tin Ho in the last 16. Despite losing in 3, playing Tin Tin was a great experience for Charlotte and she was happy to hit some winners against the world number 53 Junior.
On Sunday, Jack Wood and Joey Chen joined Charlotte in the cadet competition. Jack was at his first nationals and had a tough set of group matches. However he played very well with some long and exciting rallies. He had good battles against much higher ranked players and often took the ends to deuce. However in the end he was not able to get to the next round, but will have taken a lot of good experience from the matches.
Joey was placed in the number 1 position in group 18 and produced some good table tennis against some very spirited players to top his group. This set up a match against a highly rated young Yorkshire player. Joey was able to overcome the difference in ranking and ran out a relatively comfortable 3-1. However his next match in the round of 16 was going to be much tougher, playing the number 6 seed. From 2-1 down, Joey took the match to the 5th end, where he just lost out 11-9.
In the girls cadets, Charlotte was placed in group 6 where she topped that group with 3 wins out of 3, despite having to play a tricky match against the competition giant killer from Hull who then went on to take out the number 2 seed in the last 16. After a long day, Charlotte was eventually stopped in the quarter finals where she came up against the very strong number 1 seed and top English cadet. She has another 2 years left in the cadet competition so she is hopeful of progressing even further next time.
All three players from the club acquitted themselves very well in what was a very big national tournament.