Ollie Maric-Murray and Maliha Baig were the perfect champions as they lived up to billing as top seeds at the Under-12 National Cup.
Both won all nine matches over the weekend in Blackpool, Maric-Murray dropping only one game and Baig two all weekend.
Boys’ silver went to seventh seed Ralph Pattison, after a three-way countback. Second seed Joseph Cooper was third, with third seed Lennon Maughan – the player who took that set off the champion – the one to miss out on the medals.
Fifth seed Rachael Iles was the silver medallist in the girls’ event, with second seed Bethany Ellis taking the bronze.
Pictures by Trevor Parsons – click here to see more on our Flickr page
The day started with joint leaders in the shape of top two seeds Maric-Murray and Cooper, but that was no longer the case after the first round of matches.
It was Joseph Dennison who upset the applecart with a 3-2 victory over Cooper, bringing up his own third win and keeping him in contention for the bronze medal, having lost his first three matches yesterday.
Maric-Murray kept up his record of not having lost a game, though Francesco Bonato took him to deuce in the second, while Ralph Pattison and Lennon Maughan maintained their campaigns for a medal with 3-0 wins over Louis Cheung-Turner and Eduard Lakatos respectively.
Cameron Driver beat Abraham Earl Sellado 3-1 and also retained hope of a minor medal at that stage.
Maughan made a decisive step forward in round 7 as he inflicted a second straight defeat on Cooper. It was four sets, Cooper showing fight to save some match points in taking the third 18-16, but Maughan controlled the fourth to take the victory.
Pattison also notched a fifth win to ensure it was a three-way tie in the silver medal position at this stage. His victory was 3-1 against Lakatos.
Driver also retained an outside interest in the medals, overcoming Cheung-Turner in four for his fourth win, while Bonato defeated Sellado, also in four. Maric-Murray won 3-0 yet again, against Dennison, to move to the cusp of the gold medal.
That gold was confirmed with a round to spare when, in his next match, Maric-Murray defeated Maughan. He did drop his first set of the tournament and was asked a few questions, never more so than when 10-6 down in the fourth. He saved those four game points, missed a match point, and then clinched the title on his second opportunity, 14-12 in the fourth.
The medal picture became a little clearer as Pattison put in a terrific comeback against Driver to win 3-2 from 2-0 down, saving a match point in the fourth on his way to a 3-2 (5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9) scoreline.
That meant Pattison and Cooper shared second place – Cooper having defeated Lakatos 3-1 – with Maughan just behind and all in the shake-up for the minor medals.
The other two matches saw Bonato and Dennison respectively get the better of Cheung-Turner and Sellado by 3-1 margins.
Maric-Murray completed his 100% record with a routine 3-0 win over Cooper in the final round, but Pattison’s 3-1 defeat to Bonato, coupled with Maughan’s 3-0 victory over Sellado, left a three-way countback for the silver and bronze medals.
Looking only at the results between the three, all had one victory apiece. On sets difference, Pattison’s 3-0 win over Maughan proved the key and earned him the silver medal with a 4-3 sets difference. Cooper (4-4) took bronze ahead of Maughan (3-4).
Lakatos closed with a second win, 3-1 over Driver, while Dennison also needed four to defeat Cheung-Turner.
Champion Maric-Murray said: “I felt a little bit of pressure as top seed but I managed to play quite well. It was tough against Lennon and nearly went to a fifth game but I managed to save it and then I felt good for the last match because I knew I had already won and I didn’t have to worry.”
Pattison was delighted with his silver, saying: “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect it and would have been happy coming seventh because that’s where my seeding was, but I’ve outdone myself. My first couple of matches, beating people higher than me, gave me confidence.”
And bronze medallist Cooper said: “I’m still quite proud of my performance, because I’ve lost to pretty much every player here in the past. I’m quite happy, especially the first day when I played better and didn’t lose any games. All the players here are good and there’s no easy matches.”
Final standings: 1 Ollie Maric-Murray, 2 Ralph Pattison, 3 Joseph Cooper, 4 Lennon Maughan, 5 Francesco Bonato, 6 Joseph Dennison, 7 Cameron Driver, 8 Louis Cheung-Turner, 9 Eduard Lakatos, 10 Abraham Earl Sellado.
Oliver Maric-Murray bt Francesco Bonato 3-0 (11-5, 12-10, 11-2)
Joseph Dennison bt Joseph Cooper 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3)
Cameron Driver bt Abraham Earl Sellado 3-1 (11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4)
Ralph Pattison bt Louis Cheung-Turner 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-4)
Lennon Maughan bt Eduard Lakatos 3-0 (14-12, 11-6, 11-6)
Pattison bt Lakatos 3-1 (11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7)
Driver bt Cheung-Turner 3-1 (7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7)
Maughan bt Cooper 3-1 (11-7, 11-6, 16-18, 11-5)
Bonato bt Sellado 3-1 (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8)
Maric-Murray bt Dennison 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-5)
Cooper bt Lakatos 3-1 (11-5, 10-12, 11-5,11-7)
Bonato bt Cheung-Turner 3-1 (4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8)
Maric-Murray bt Maughan 3-1 (11-8, 6-11, 11-3, 14-12)
Dennison bt Sellado 3-1 (11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-3)
Pattison bt Driver 3-2 (5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9)
Maughan bt Sellado 3-0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-5)
Maric-Murray bt Cooper 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, 11-3)
Lakatos bt Driver 3-1 (11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10)
Bonato bt Pattison 3-1 (11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4)
Dennison bt Cheung-Turner 3-1 (7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10)
As in the boys, an unbeaten record went in the first round of the day when fourth seed Sienna Jetha defeated second seed Bethany Ellis in four.
That left top seed Maliha Baig out in front on her own – she dropped her first game of the tournament but still registered a win, 3-1 against fifth seed Rachael Iles.
There were first victories for Emily Cheung, who beat Mia Longman 3-0, and for Sophie Ackred, who overcame Jessica Morris in five – the first three games particularly tight in that one.
Third seed Connie Dumelow picked up her fifth win to join Ellis in a share of second, coming from 1-0 down to beat Chui-Que Wong in four.
Ellis and Dumelow met in round 7 in a key match in terms of the medals, and it was Ellis who bounced back from her defeat in the previous round with a 3-0 (10, 8, 8) win.
There was also a big win for Morris – her first of the competition – and she did it the hard way, recovering from losing each of the opening two games 13-11 to come back and win 3-2 against Wong.
Iles moved level with Dumelow in the bronze medal position thanks to a 3-1 victory over Longman; Cheung defeated Ackred 3-1, while Baig kept her perfect record with a 3-0 win over Jetha.
Baig’s 3-0 victory over Dumelow in round eight was enough to give her the gold medal, as second seed Ellis was surprisingly beaten by No 10 Wong in four games.
The defeat also opened the door to Iles, who joined Ellis on six victories by seeing off Ackred in thee comfortable games.
Jetha picked up her fifth victory, recovering from losing the first 15-13 to defeat Longman 3-1, while Morris got a second win in a row with a tight 3-0 (10, 10, 10) triumph over Cheung.
Baig dropped a rare set in her final match against Ellis, but recovered to cement her unbeaten record with a 3-1 victory.
Iles’ 3-0 win over Morris in three close games was enough to seal her the silver.
Bronze went to a three-way countback, with Jetha’s 3-0 win over Ackred and Dumelow’s three-straight victory against Longman taking them into a tie with Ellis – it was the second seed who got the verdict with a sets difference of 4-3 as against 5-4 for Jetha and 3-5 for Dumelow.
Also in the final round, Cheung ended with a 3-0 victory over Wong.
Champion Baig said: “I wasn’t totally confident because I knew there were a few girls I could lose to. It was a hard tournament but I’m happy that I played well and won.”
Silver medallist Iles said: “I didn’t expect to win a medal – I was ranked fifth but everything has gone my way and I’m a bit speechless. The standard was very high – I think my best performance was against Sienna Jetha because I’d never beaten her before.”
And bronze medallist Ellis said: “I was a bit worried I’d missed a medal so I’m really happy and proud to get one. It’s very tough because they are all the best players in the country.”
Final standings: 1 Maliha Baig, 2 Rachael Iles, 3 Bethany Ellis, 4 Sienna Jetha, 5 Connie Dumelow, 6 Emily Cheung, 7 Mia Longman, 8 Jessica Morris, 9 Chui-Que Wong, 10 Sophie Ackred.
Maliha Baig bt Rachael Iles 3-1 (11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3)
Sienna Jetha bt Bethany Ellis 3-1 (11-6, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9)
Emily Cheung bt Mia Longman 3-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-6)
Sophie Ackred bt Jessica Morris 3-2 (12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4)
Connie Dumelow bt Chui-Que Wong 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10)
Morris bt Wong 3-2 (11-13, 11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3)
Cheung bt Ackred 3-1 (11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8)
Iles bt Longman 3-1 (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6)
Ellis bt Dumelow 3-0 (12-10, 11-8, 11-8)
Baig bt Jetha 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-9)
Morris bt Cheung 3-0 (12-10, 12-10, 12-10)
Wong bt Ellis 3-1 (11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8)
Iles bt Ackred 3-0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-8)
Baig bt Dumelow 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-6)
Jetha bt Longman 3-1 (13-15, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7)
Cheung bt Wong 3-0 (11-5, 13-11, 11-8)
Jetha bt Ackred 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-6)
Dumelow bt Longman 3-0 (11-7, 12-10, 11-3)
Iles bt Morris 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 12-10)
Baig bt Ellis 3-1 (11-13, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8)