The Cadet County Championships took place at Draycott Table Tennis Centre on Saturday 11th of November and Saturday 16th of December. Representing Derbyshire were youngsters Bradley Tomlinson, Helena Dicken, Lucy Vernon and brothers Sam and Joseph Cooper. They were in for a difficult start playing last years joint winners Cheshire. Sam Cooper, Derbyshire’s number one, was up first against James Courtney. Despite overcoming a 2-0 deficit, Sam narrowly lost the deciding game 11-8, an impressive performance nevertheless. The girls managed to turn it round in the next set of matches, both Helena and Lucy winning their matches 3-1. However, the Cheshire boys were too strong on the day with both Liam Murphy and Liam Bibby winning all their games 3-0. The match ended in a 6-4 defeat Helena and Lucy winning their last two matches.
Next, they faced a very talented Durham 2nd team, this time it was 10-year-old Joseph Cooper on first. Joseph showed the team how it was done with a comfortable 3-0 victory against the Durham number 3. The girls continued their good form making easy work of their 4 matches. The match to watch was Sam Cooper against Durham’s Jamie Peacock, some incredible rallies taking place but unfortunately the Durham number one finished off the match 3-2. It was a well contested match, against the eventual winners of the division, finishing 5-5.
It looked like what had been a tricky morning was going to continue into the afternoon with Sam and Bradley both losing in close 5 setters in the first round of matches against Worcestershire. It was now Lucy Vernon who took centre stage coming back from 2-1 down to win against an on-form Evie Elliott. The unlucky results for the boys continued as both Sam and Joseph Took a 2-0 lead on Worcestershire’s number one Ben Rycroft-Stanley, neither could finish it off leaving the score at 4-4. Joseph managed to put this behind him and finish the match off winning his last game 3-1, with the backup of Helena and an impressive performance from Bradley Tomlinson both winning 3-0, they finished the match 6-4 and got their first well deserved win of the season.
Finally, they faced Norfolk, Joseph continued to impress starting the match with a 3-0 victory, followed by a 3-1 win for Bradley. Lucy came back from 2-0 down to win her first match and continue this form to win her second match 3-0. The Norfolk boys were very strong and managed to pull match back to 6-4 another win leaving the cadets in a very respectable 3rd position after the first weekend.
The very young Derbyshire side were ready for another set of tough games on the second weekends fixtures after a disappointing first weekend. First, they faced Lancashire 2nd team, Sam started off the morning with a convincing 3-0 win, followed by 3-0 wins from Helena and Lucy. It was Josephs turn to take centre stage as he was up against their top player Matthew Westworth. Despite the difference in rankings, it was England under 11 that came out on top taking the match 3-1, playing some incredible table tennis. Lucy and Helena finished the match off with 3-0 wins to make the score 6-4 to Derbyshire.
The last game for the cadets was against Northamptonshire. Joseph kept up his good form giving very talented Shay Graham a very close game just losing out on a tight 4th set 15-13. No mistakes from Helena and Lucy both winning all there matches 3-0. Sam continued his successful weekend by beating Northamptonshire’s second-best cadet 3-1. Last to play was joseph who lost a very close 5 set match 14-12, resulting in another 5-5 draw.
Overall it was a very mixed season for the young cadet side finishing 3rd in the division. But with an average age of 12 the future looks good for our Cadets.
Derbyshire U15- Played 6, Won 3, Drew 2, Lost 1
Helena Dicken 12/12
Lucy Vernon 12/12
Sam Cooper 2/12
Joseph Cooper 4/12
Bradley Tomlinson 2/12