Nail-biting finish to National Cadet League

On Sunday 17th April Hereford cadets travelled to Wood Green with a slender lead over the second and third placed teams from Colebridge and Draycott.  We started the day on 22 points, 4 ahead of Colebridge and 5 ahead of Draycott.

Unfortunately due to other commitments we could only field a team with 2 players.  The team should include 3 players, so sadly we conceded 10 possible points to our opponents from the start.

Our team consisted of Jake Price and Kyle Day.  First match we played was against Burton Girls.  Jake and Kyle won both of their games.  Jake looked a little nervous, but won a tricky 5 setter against the Burton number 1 giving us a 4-2 victory.  In the next round we played Burton Boys.  Kyle won both his games and Jake won 1 which gave us a 3-3 draw.  Our closest rivals Colebridge won their first 2 matches 4-2 and 5-1, closing the gap to 2 points.

Next was a crunch game v Colebridge.  Jake won 2 games and Kyle won 1, losing to the Colebridge number 1.  Jake won a crucial game against the Colebridge number 1 with an excellent display of strong top spin shots from both wings.  This was a vital game for us as it gave us a 3-3 draw and kept us 2 points ahead with 2 matches to go.

In the first round of the afternoon session we faced Wood Green A and Colebridge had a tricky match against Draycott.  We had a comfortable 4-2 win with 2 games each for Jake and Kyle.  Colebridge had a good 4-2 win against Draycott.

Going into the last round we had a 2 point lead over Colebridge, but had to face the tricky Draycott team, whilst Colebridge had Burton Girls to play.  We needed 4 points to win regardless of what Colebridge achieved as we had a better set difference. 

In the first round of games Jake lost to the Draycott number 2.  Kyle had a great win against the Draycott number 1.  He won the first 2 sets 12-10 and 11-8, but lost the next 2, 11-5 and 11-3.  He then played with great composure and controlled positive play to win the deciding set 11-2.

On the other table Colebridge also were at 1-1.  We needed 2 more wins.  Kyle won his game comfortably in 3 sets.  This just left Jake to play the Draycott number 1.  Jake dropped a close first set 12-10.  He then played wonderfully again with strong excellent consistent top spin to win the game 3-1.  We drew the match 3-3.  Colebridge actually won their match 4-2, so we won the overall tournament clearly by 1 point.

Thanks must go to Sam Williams and Archie Beresford who played their part in earlier rounds.  Thanks also to Matt Knight who came up to several of the sessions and helped with coaching and general team camaraderie.  Matt’s input was vital in the last session and he really helped to keep Kyle and Jake focused.

Jake and Kyle deserve enormous praise, particularly for their performance on the final day. 

Kyle was calm and controlled and played with great composure, but he was also determined and competitive and won several very tense games.

Jake was also controlled, but very positive in his play and his shot selection was excellent.  Jake also won a couple of really high pressure games at vital points during the day.  His win against the Colebridge number 1 was particularly crucial.

Congratulations go to Kyle for finishing with the most wins, with an excellent 38 out of 40,  4 wins ahead of the next best player.

Author: via Hereford Table Tennis League
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