Woodfield player Charlotte Bardsley travelled to Perth in Scotland as one of a 24 strong squad of England Schools players competing in the Home Nations International. Charlotte qualified for the England Schools team by virtue of her 2nd place in the U14 England Schools finals held at Tipton in April. She was partnered by Gauri Duhan from Hull in the team event who had come 1st. England fielded two girls and boys teams in each age category of U14, U16 and U18.
After a long trip up to the Bells arena, the players had to already start the team matches on Friday evening. With 8 teams competing in one large group and the format of 4 singles and one doubles for each match it also meant an early start and late finish on Saturday. England were playing in a bright orange kit with strong set of yellow lights so the pictures are rather yellow!
England 1 and England 2 U14 girls both made strong starts against Scotland 1 and 2, but then they had to play each other which ended up being a key match in deciding the medal positions later in the competition. England 1 won that match 4-1 and so went into Saturday unbeaten along with Ireland and Wales. After defeating Isle of Man and Guernsey, England 1 then had a decisive wins against Ireland (4-1) and Wales (5-0) which meant that they were sure of Gold going into the last match with Scotland 1. Similarly England 2 U14 girls with Mollie Patterson and Katie Holt were also now able to secure silver with their wins over Ireland and Wales. The final positions for the girls U14 were England 1, England 2, Ireland.
On the Sunday it was the individual competitions which followed a group and then knockout competition. All 4 England girls were seeded in different groups and duly won their groups. Charlotte was drawn to face Mollie Patterson from England 2 in the semis which won. She then had to wait almost an hour to find out who she would face in the final as the other side of the draw had many 5 set matches. In fact the last match of the whole tournament was to be Charlotte versus her team mate from the previous day, Gauri Duhan. This was a rerun of the final held at Tipton. Gauri had made a brilliant comeback from the brink of defeat in the semi-final where she overturned a 9-5 deficit in the 5th to run out a 15-13 winner against Kate Whelan of Ireland. She took that momentum into the final and took a quick first end. Charlotte fought back to level it 1-1 but then Gauri was able to edge a tight 3rd end in deuce. Charlotte regrouped again and was able to counter the heavy top spin from Gauri by taking the last two ends to 4 and 7 for her to take her first schools individual title.
Some great performances by all of the England teams over the three days of competition. Details of the full England results will be updated shortly on the ESTTA website.