Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October was a busy weekend for our juniors with 14 players representing the club in different national competitions.
Junior British League
The Kingfisher Club were represented by a girls and a boys team at this season’s first round of the Junior British League, Britain’s largest table tennis team competition held at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire.
The girls, missing Tin Tin Ho who had been called into the England Senior team for the European Championships in Austria, faced the toughest task competing in the Premier Division; this included teams from Ireland and Wales.
Maria Tsaptsinos led the campaign and was joint top of the averages for the number one players at the end of the weekend. She and two other girls only lost once in their ten visits to the table over this two day team event.
Called in as cover for Tin Tin, twelve year old Shristi Ghosh from High Wycombe as expected found the task too great, even playing from number three position in the team against the opposition numbers two and three. But she never gave up and should learn much from the experience. Emily Bolton from Barrow, England’s number five junior will be disappointed with her weekend for Kingfisher. It was hoped that between her and Maria the team would still do well until Tin Tin’s return for the second round of matches next February but Emily could not find the form she showed at the end of last season.
Kingfisher started with a 3-3 draw against Irish Girls, Maria taking two and Emily one. A win over Draycott was followed by another draw against Wales. Two losses, to St Andrews and Burton ended a disappointing weekend finishing in fourth place. It is hoped that Tin Tin’s return will put the team back in contention for honours.
The young boys team, playing in this Under 18 competition, started their league programme in Division Four with a 5-1 win over Ulster. The boys who had won a play-off competition to gain a place in this league were the same group of players who took part over this first weekend’s event. The team’s number one was Josh Gallen followed in order by Leo Long, Sam Liu and Jamie Liu. Promising nine year old Jamie sat out this first match but came into the team for the second which was against the Middlesbrough team Ormesby. A 4-2 win included two from Jamie but all the boys had performed well over the first two encounters. All four players in this team have at least three seasons left in the junior age group and this inexperience began to tell as they then drew 3-3 with Guernsey, lost 2-4 to Crusaders and finished with another draw, this time to Greenhouse from London. This left the team in third place but just two points away from top spot.
The second Junior British League weekend is in February.
National Cadet League
The first of four rounds of matches in the National Cadet League (Under-15) took place at Cippenham on October 13th. Kingfisher entered two teams in the competition.
Isaac Farnworth, Kieran Warre and Katie Shepherd all participated for Kingfisher ‘A’ in League 2 (of 4) of the NCL. Against some tough opposition in a league of 6 Teams, Kingfisher did themselves proud by winning 2 of the 3 matches played. They beat Ashford 6-3 in the first match, with all 3 players contributing to the score and all recording a 3-0 win each. They next met a tough and tactically astute Hillingdon ‘A’ side (who had beaten their previous opponents 9-0 earlier in the day) and Kingfisher suffered a harsh 8-1 defeat that flattered the opposition. All the games in this match, bar one, went to either 4 or 5 games with both Kieran and Katie taking 1 or 2 games off the opposition, with 3 of the games going to 5 sets. Katie particularly unlucky with a 14-12 loss in the deciding set of the 3rd match. The sole point for Kingfisher in this match won by Isaac, which he won 3-0.
The final match was against Chiltern ‘A’, where Kingfisher ran out comfortable 6-3 winners, with Kieran and Isaac chalking up comfortable 3-0 wins and Katie again taking 1 or 2 games off every player. Match of the day though was in the first match against Ashford, where Kieran showed his mental strength, by coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with a mammoth 18-16 win in the final set to record his 1st win of the day.
Win percentages for the team were:
Isaac 78% - showed his consistency by winning 7 out of his 9 matches
Kieran 56% - showed his competitive nature by taking 4 of his 9 matches to 5 sets
Katie 11% - Showed her ability with a comprehensive 3 - 0 win and by taking sets off every opponent.
With matches against a 'Reading' team and Hillingdon 'B' (who are currently bottom of the table), still to come, there is now every possibility of finishing 2nd when the initial league is completed.
Next round: Sunday 1st December.
The ‘B’ team had a similarly successful day at the National Cadet League on Sunday 13th October. Jamie Lomax, Zak Squire, Johnny Coombes and Chris Franks all did themselves and the club proud in what was for all of them their first competitive match representing Kingfisher.
In the first match, Kingfisher met Ashford B and narrowly lost 5-4 but with all 3 boys playing (Jamie, Zak and Chris) winning a match each against a team that competed in this competition last year, it was a good solid start.
Kingfisher took the confidence that result gave them into their subsequent matches against Chiltern E and Warren Hill B respectively, winning those matches 7-2 and 8-1.
The win percentages for the 4 boys were:
Chris Franks - 89%, winning 8 out of 9 matches
Jamie Lomax - 67% winning 4 out of his 6 matches
Johnny Coombes - also 67% winning 4 out of 6
Zak Squire - 50%, winning 3 of his 6 matches.
With a 19-8 sets aggregate, the team is currently top of the Division 4. Well done boys, a great start!