Boys make case for defence, but it’s all new for girls

All four boys’ titles were won by the defending champions and all four girls’ trophies were won by new teams at the Butterfly School Team Championships.

Ackworth School were double winners, but six other schools shared the trophies in eight categories – boys’ and girls’ events at Under-19, Under-16, Under-13 and Under-11.

A total of 32 teams had made it through to take their place at Hinckley Leisure Centre out of an entry list of 286 schools who started the competition at local level.

Under-19 Boys

Whitgift School lost only one match as they retained their title. Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth were the team to take that match, Leon Zacharkiw defeating Jason Kwok.

Otherwise, Whitgift were unblemished as they defeated Carlton Le Willows (Nottingham) and St Mary’s College (Hull) 8-0.

There were some tough matches on the way, Kwok beating Jak Kane of Carlton Le Willows 12-10 in the fifth and, in the same tie, James Smith getting past Max Stevens 11-5 in the decider, having come from 2-0 down.

There were also two five-set wins against St Mary’s, Kwok beating Liam Marsh and Reiss Vydelingum overcoming Che Goulbourne.

Eggbuckland finished second thanks to scorelines of 6-2 and 5-3 against Carlton and St Mary’s respectively. St Mary’s overcame Carlton 5-3 to claim third, coming from 3-2 down to win the last three matches, starting with Goulbourne beating Kane 12-10 in the fifth.

For the winners, George Hazell said: “It’s a brilliant moment and good to retain the title. We were confident of winning but there were some tough matches and you still have to respect the people you are up against – and I think we did that.”

Winning squad: James Smith, George Hazell, Reiss Vydelingum, Jason Kwok, Darren Wu.

Under-19 Girls

Ackworth School duo Jasmin Wong and Naomi Lau were in top form as they won the title without dropping a match.

Indeed, they only dropped three games between them as they saw off Lancaster Girls’ Grammar, defending champions Tudor Grange and Bromsgrove School, all by 5-0 margins.

Lancaster pushed Ackworth the closest as Megan Dillon took a game off Wong and Alice Dillon had a great tussle with Lau before losing out 3-1 (14-12, 10-12, 11-6, 18-16).

The Dillon sisters beat Tudor Grange 4-1 and Bromsgrove 5-0 to clinch second place for Lancaster, while Tudor Grange defeated Bromsgrove to take third place.

Ackworth’s Wong, part of the Under-16 squad which won last year, said: “I’m proud to be representing my school again – we’ve played in a higher age group this time and won again. I like playing in team events because you get more support and that helps you feel more confident.”

Winning squad: Jasmin Wong, Naomi Lau.

Under-16 Boys

Ackworth School successfully defended their title as, despite dropping matches in every fixture, they were always on top.

Against Ernest Bevin College and Tanbridge House School, they won 7-1 and 6-2 respectively, while George Spencer Academy from Nottingham also won their first two matches, beating Ernest Bevin 6-2 and Tanbridge House 5-3 – though they were 5-1 up in the latter.

The top two met to decide the title and it was 1-1 after two matches as Amirul Hussain beat Naphat Boonyaprapa to put Ackworth ahead and Naphong Boonyaprapa levelled by defeating Reece Chamdal 11-5 in the fifth.

Thereafter, it was all Ackworth up to 5-1, ensuring them the title, but it finished 6-2 as Naphong Boonyaparapa completed a double by winning a superb match against Sam Chesterman, both players saving several match points before the George Spencer man won 3-2 (12-14, 9-11, 11-5, 14-12, 17-15).

Ernest Bevin ended in third thanks to a 6-2 victory over Tanbridge House.

Chamdal said: “It feels good to defend the title. We didn’t feel a lot of pressure – that would have had a negative impact on the team and it’s important to be relaxed and focused on the match.”

Winning squad: Reece Chamdal, Amirul Hussain, Sam Chesterman, Jamie Liu, Ben Cawood.

Under-16 Girls

Charles Read Academy lived up to their billing as England representatives at the World Schools Championships in Malta next month as they took the title ahead of Okehampton Community College.

The top two teams enjoyed matching 7-1 victories over Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School and 6-2 wins against Dane Court Grammar from Broadstairs.

It led to a meeting to decide who would take the trophy, and it was always close. Mari Baldwin beat Darcie Proud from 2-0 down to give Okehampton the lead – the score 10-12, 12-14, 11-7, 11-6, 13-11.

Mollie Patterson levelled against Emily Haskell, but Zoe Bennett put Okehampton back in front by beating Karrie Rogers. Danielle Kelly’s win over Megan Brogan made it 2-2 at the halfway points.

The match between Baldwin and Patterson would prove crucial and Baldwin again went to five, this time on the wrong end of a tight scoreline of 3-2 (12-14, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11).

Proud’s win over Bennett meant Charles Read were one win from the title, and Kelly confirmed it by beating Haskell. It ended 5-3.

Dane Court’s 6-2 victory over Lancaster put them in third place.

Kelly said: “Going in, we were quite confident we could do it. Being picked for Malta put pressure on us to prove ourselves. I think we worked well as a team and having Karrie as our fourth player was good and we needed her to play well – and she picked up a win in one of the matches.”

Winning squad: Mollie Patterson, Danielle Kelly, Darcie Proud, Karrie Rogers.

Under-13 Boys

St Mary’s College, Hull, retained the title by virtue of three victories – 7-1 over Carlton Le Willows, 6-2 over Sacred Heart School (Southwark) and 5-3 against University College School, Camden.

The vital one was the latter and St Mary’s came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to achieve it as Luke Hodgson, Jake Hewitt and Zachari Foston won the last three matches.

UCS ended in second place, beating Sacred Heart 5-3 and drawing 4-4 against Carlton Le Willows – who were third having also drawn 4-4 against Sacred Heart when Josh Smith levelled for them in the final match against Fitzroi Capili.

Ehsan Jawadi of St Mary’s said: “It feels great – shouting on our team-mates and giving them encouragement helped us to win. We felt a bit of pressure but we took the negativity out of our head and kept on going.”

Winning squad: Ehsan Jawadi, Jake Hewitt, Luke Hodgson, Zachari Foston, Ashton Innes.

Under-13 Girls

Three 5-3 victories ensured Wade Deacon High School from Widnes took home the trophy.

The key match was against Priory Ruskin Academy from Grantham, who led 1-0 and 2-1 before Wade Deacon came back to lead 4-2.

Lucy Brindle of Priory pulled one back against Chloe Allen and it was a thrilling finale as India Odley clinched a 5-3 scoreline for Wade Deacon by beating Megan Rowley 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8).

Priory beat Bredon Hill Academy (Evesham) 5-3 and Sacred Heart School (Southwark) 6-2 for second place.

Sacred Heart and Bredon Hill drew 4-4 in their match to decide third place, but the countback was 17 games to 13 in favour of Sacred Heart.

Niamh Scarborough from the winning school said: “It feels good to win. We were all cheering each other on and supporting each other. We’ve all been training hard so we wanted to win it this year after coming third last year.”

Winning squad: Niamh Scarborough, Ruby Bennett, Chloe Allen, India Odley.

Under-11 Boys

Holders St Peter’s CE Academy from Nottingham retained the trophy in a tight group in which every match ended either 5-3 or 6-2.

St Peter’s defeated St Laurence Church School from Birmingham 6-2, and it was the same score against Earls Hall Primary from Westcliff on Sea.

The match against Great Wood Primary from Morecambe was to prove the key, and that finished 5-3 to St Peter’s helped by five-set victories for Oscar Pennick and Cameron Driver which took the score from 2-1 to 4-1 in the middle of the fixture.

Driver’s win was particularly dramatic as he beat Joseph Dennison 3-2 (12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 15-13).

Great Wood also lost 5-3 to St Laurence, who finished second. But Great Wood’s 5-3 win over Earls Hall was enough for third place.

10-year-old Driver said: “I feel good about the team winning it twice. It couldn’t have happened without our coach Harvey Stevens, he trains us a lot and helps us to work hard.

“Sportsmanship and cheering on our players when they were on court helped us to win.”

Winning squad: Cameron Driver, Jamie Millward, Ben Firth, Oscar Pennick, Jack Powell, Charles Hopkinson.

Under-11 Girls

Greenway Primary from Berkhamsted proved the class outfit of the event as they won all three matches on their way to the title.

They defeated Earls Hall Primary from Westcliff on Sea 6-2, St Peter’s CE Academy (Nottingham) 8-0 and St Bede’s Junior (Widnes) 7-1.

Earls Hall won their other two matches 8-0 against St Peter’s and 7-1 against St Bede’s to finish in second place.

But it was the race for third which proved exciting as St Peter’s and St Bede’s drew 4-4. With the game scores also level at 16-16, it came down to points. There were just two separating the teams as the verdict went 299-297 in favour of St Peter’s. It was harsh on St Bede’s, who four times battled back to level in that final match.

For the winning team, Gabriella ‘Bella’ Tonev said: “It feels good, it hasn’t sunk in yet. Mr Lewis and Mr Loczy believed in us and said if you put your mind to anything, you can achieve it. We stayed positive and good support helped us to win.”

Lilly Atkin gave up the chance to be bridesmaid for a family friend, but was travelling to the reception with her trophy. She said: “It was worth it!”

Winning squad: Aliya Power, Gabriella Tonev, Lilly Atkin, Sophie Mabbs.

Author: via Table Tennis England
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