BATH AND DISTRICT TABLE TENNIS 2014-15 JUNIOR CLOSED CHAMPIONSHIPS
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY, BATHAMPTON SCOUT HQ
The annual Bath Junior Table Tennis championships produced some exciting and competitive games of a very high standard. Twenty-two boys from St Mark’s, Bathampton, Bathford and Oldfield table tennis clubs played in the under 14 and under 18 events, in groups and then knockout stages.
The first under 14 semi-final was a very close match with lots of attacking play. Olly Newton’s (Oldfield) better defence finally overcame some stylish attacking from Joe Teasdale (St Mark’s). The score shows it could have gone either way: 16-14, 9-11, 3-11, 11-8 and 12-10. The other semi-final brought together the top two arch-rivals from St Mark’s Club, Leon Kashdan-Brown and Nirmal Falzoni. On this occasion Leon’s consistent all-round play won in three straight sets. In the final, Leon held off a sustained effort from Olly to edge the second game, tipping the match in Leon's favour: 11-8, 16-14, 11-7.
The U18 event included two U14 Juniors, Leon and Cal (St Mark’s), who played exceptionally well against more experienced opposition. Leon was an unexpected semi-finalist, coming from two games down against the seeded Sam Cope (Bathampton) at the group stage to win a close five set match. In the semi-final against Ben Jukes, also from Bathampton, Leon started brightly with some long attacking rallies in the first game. But the consistency of Ben's backhand drive and smash eventually saw Leon fade 11-6, 11-6, 11-3.
Bathford teammates in the Bath League, Ethan Littlejohns and Oscar Teasdale, fought out the other U18 semi-final match with high quality attacking play from both. Oscar took the initiative, but Ethan got into his stride and controlled the match after losing the first 2 ends: 11-13, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4. In arguably the best match of the evening, Ben Jukes (who also plays in the Bath League) defeated Ethan in five entertaining games. Both players hit out and defended, back from the table, with extravagant topspin shots. After coming from two games behind, Ethan finally succumbed to Ben 11-8 in the fifth.
Parents and senior players who watched the juniors were “amazed” at the standard of table tennis on view from both age groups. This augurs well for the future of junior table tennis in Bath. Junior coaching is provided at St Mark’s School, Larkhall, on Thursday nights 7.15pm to 9.15pm (contact Mike Clare 01225 317111) and Bathampton Scout HQ, Warminster Road on Saturday nights 6pm to 8pm (contact Ray Bennett 01225 866880 or firstname.lastname@example.org).