See appeal for financial and elite player support below in red and contact Henry Arthur (County Coaching Officer) if you feel you can help by putting something back into the game.
Northants Junior 2 match report:
Division 2a, Day 1, 12th October 2019
Day 1 of the Junior County Championships was played at Westfield Table Tennis Club. For Day 1, the division has been split into ‘North’ and ‘South’ sections. Both Northants teams had to play Leicestershire and then each other. The Northants first team were Alex Cochrane, Jacob Tattersall, Felix Bradbury, Anna Wilson and Olivia Ross. The second team consisted of Danny Verrall, Ted Eastman, Vincent Pham, Swati Jethwa and Mia Solomon. Ted and Vincent were making their County debuts.
Match 1: Northants (2) –vs- Leicestershire
A tough start against a reasonably strong Leicestershire team, who had the highly ranked Jack Rogers at number one. Danny, Ted and Vincent all played well, but they were not able to sustain their level of play long enough to convert points into ends. There was promise in their performances, and further training/competition will help them to continue their improvement. Swati also played well but suffered the same fate as the boys. The standout performer was Mia Solomon who gained Northants solitary point, beating Freya Wynne 3-0. Mia also took an end off Roma Morjaria. Mia’s improvement from last season has been considerable and it is just reward for the effort that she has put in. Long may it continue.
Final Score: Northants (2) 1, Leicestershire 9.
Match 2: Leicestershire –vs- Northants (1)
Having watched Leicestershire in Match 1, I was hopeful of a strong Northants first team showing. Jacob levelled the score at 1-1, when beating Max Cherry 3-0, but just like the second team, wins were hard to come by. Felix also beat Max Cherry but that was the only other point for Northants. Anna lost 11-9 in the fifth end to Freya Wynne and Olivia lost 11-7 to Freya at the same stage. Alex was the only player to extend Jack Rogers but was then unable to convert a 2-1 lead Oscar Bentley. On another day, the result could have easily been a 5-5 draw. A result that I had hoped for before play commenced.
Final Score: Leicestershire 8, Northants (1) 2.
Match 3: Northants (1) –vs- Northants (2)
The final match of the day had the two Northants teams playing each other. As is customary, the Coaches observe the matches but do not offer advice. The second team got off to the perfect start when Danny Verrall beat Jacob Tattersall in five ends. Vincent doubled the lead by beating Felix 3-1. Anna restored some order by beating Mia 3-0 and Alex levelled the match score at 2-2, by beating Ted 3-1. The next three matches were all won by the second team. Swati beating Olivia 3-2, after being 2-0 down. Vincent beat Jacob 3-1 and Mia chipped in beating Olivia 3-1. At 5-2 up, the second team must have felt an upset was on the cards and it very nearly was! In game 8, Alex scraped through against Danny 16-14 in the fifth end to keep the hopes of a draw alive. Anna then beat Swati 3-0 and Felix made short work of Ted to earn a 5-5 draw for the first team and keep honours even.
Final Score: Northants (1) 5, Northants (2) 5.
Day 2 will be played at Westfield on Saturday 9th November. Matches start at 10am.
Kevin Bird (21.10.2019)
Northants Junior match reports:
Northants 1st team match report November 9 2019
Westfield TTC played host to the final day of Division 2A of the Junior County Championships and coaches Kevin Bird and I were hoping for an improved showing from the two teams after a slightly below par display on Day 1 back in October. However, we knew we would be up against it with both Jacob Tattersall and Felix Machin-Bradbury unavailable for the first team. This meant that Danny Verrall and Ted Eastman were promoted from the second team, with Virgil Birch-Annan and Ben Aldridge called up for the second team. Kevin took charge of the second team this time round and I led the first team. The first team consisted of Anna Wilson, Olivia Berardi-Ross, Alex Cochrane, Danny Verrall, and Ted Eastman.
Northants 1st 2 Lincs 1st 8
The first match of the day saw us face off against Lincolnshire 1st team with three of their players (Stefania Popa, Gregory Fray, Joe Cox) very well known to myself, Alex and Danny as they train at, and represent Corby Smash TTC in the Junior British League and were team-mates at that competition just a week earlier.
Danny started slowly and fell 0-2 down to Luke Nimmo but gradually his defensive game, combined with good forehand attacks started to come together and he fought back to claim an excellent 6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11 victory in his debut game for the firsts. An excellent start to the day! Lincs 1sts quickly pulled level with Fray overcoming Ted 3-0. With Anna losing 3-0 to Katie Christoforou and Olivia losing 3-1 to Popa, we soon found ourselves 3-1 behind. Next up was the match between Joe Cox and Alex and a close encounter was expected between these good friends who have been team-mates for a couple of years. After two games the score was tied at 1-1, but Cox then stepped up a level and blew away the Northants number 1 in games 3 and 4 to claim an 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-1 victory and put Lincs 1sts 4-1 ahead. This then became 5-1 when Nimmo defeated Ted 3-0, before Chrsitoforou confirmed the win for the Lincs team with a 3-0 win over Olivia. Popa claimed a 3-1 win over Anna to put Lincs further ahead before Alex stopped the rot with a 3-1 defeat of Fray. In the final match, Cox beat Danny 11-2, 13-11, 11-9 to secure an 8-2 win for the Lincs side.
Despite the defeat, both Olivia and Anna should take encouragement from the fact that they both managed to take a game from the highly ranked Popa, with Olivia particularly impressive in hitting many forehand winners.
Northants 1st 2 Staffordshire 8
Match 2 saw the Northants 1st team up against the very strong Staffordshire team who would go on to win division but that didn’t stop Danny giving us another great start with a fantastic 3-0 win over Reece Chand (ranked 51 in England under 18s). Staffs took control of the match after that and moved into a 6-1 lead with Ryan Cox, Amilia Baker, Harry Fletcher, Kirsty Maul, all recording comfortable wins, with Fletcher’s match with Alex the only match that didn’t end in a 3-0 scoreline. Alex, after losing to Chand at Junior British League the weekend before, got a measure of revenge with a 3-1 victory this time round, before Maul and Fletcher recorded 3-0 wins over Anna and Ted respectively to condemn the Northants 1st team to another 8-2 loss. With both of the Staffs girls ranked in the top 20 in England and the three Staffs boys all inside the top 80 on the boy’s list, it was not surprising to see them record a comprehensive win.
Northants 1st 7 Lincs 2nd 3
Lincolnshire 2nds were up next and this match provided us with a great opportunity to pick up a first win but it didn’t start too well with Joel Smith taking out Ted 3-0. Danny managed to level the tie with a 3-2 win over Callum Smith but only after seeing his opponent come back from 0-2 to force a decider. A close game between Olivia and Charlotte Ashford saw the Lincs girl take a 3-2 win to put us 2-1 behind but Anna swiftly levelled with a 3-0 win over Phoenix Mason. Alex put us 3-2 ahead with a 3-0 win versus Joe Marlor but the match became tied again at 3-3 when Callum Smith saw off Ted 3-0. At this stage it was anyone’s guess how the match would pan out and we really needed someone to step up and be counted and it was Olivia who duly did this, recording her first win of the day with a 3-1 success against Mason. 4-3 to Northants!
Anna gained a quickfire 3-0 win over Ashford to move us 5-3 up and on the brink of victory which was confirmed when Danny defeated Marlor 3-1. Alex returned to the table to despatch Joel Smith 3-0 as the team secured their first victory with a 7-3 scoreline.
Northants 1st 7 Cheshire 3
And onto the final match of the 2019-20 Junior County Championships and I’m very pleased to say that we finished it off in style with another win. Ted, who up to this point had lost all his matches 3-0, gave us a great start with a battling 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 9-11, 14-12 win over Joe Davies, saving several match points in the process. Danny made it 2-0 with a much more routine win versus James Bowman. Milly Hanrahan was too strong for Olivia, and with Jessica Morris seeing off Anna 3-0, the match was delicately poised at 2-2.
Alex scored a 3-0 win against Lucas Clarke to put us back into the lead and then Ted displayed some more of his fighting spirit to secure another 3-2 win, this time coming back from 2-1 down to win 11-9, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3. Morris defeated a tiring Olivia 3-0 before Anna moved us 5-3 ahead with a 3-1 defeat of Hanrahan. Danny confirmed the victory when he saw off Clarke 3-0 with Alex making it 7-3 with a 3-0 win over Davies.
Two wins and two losses on day two, combined with a draw and a loss on day one meant that the Northants 1st team finished in 4th place behind Staffordshire, Lincs 1st and Leicestershire which was probably a par showing given the players on display across the two days, although I do feel that third place was up for grabs. Unfortunately, a slightly below par showing on day 1 had put paid to these hopes. Both Alex and Danny displayed why they are currently the top two junior players in Northants and you could see their extra tournament experience in comparison to the other Northants players. Ted gained some valuable match experience at this level as did Olivia, whilst Anna was her usual steady self and is still clearly the standout junior girl in Northants. As always, for Northants to progress as a County, we need our players to be willing to put that extra effort in (some of the players we were up against are practising up to 20 hours a week), but we also realise that they and their parents require more education from the coaching team of the player pathways and the opportunities that are out there, both in training and competition, for them to develop. My question is how can the County Committee, coaches, experienced senior players, junior players and parents come together to support and enable our youngsters to progress and be ready to make the step up from the County cadet and junior teams, through to the County senior team as strengthening our senior team should be one of our aims in my opinion?
Finally (and I make no apologies for this) an appeal to anyone who reads this who is interested in supporting the development of table tennis in Northants. For our players to develop and reach their potential, it does cost money unfortunately. Therefore, I am on the lookout for any potential sponsors/business partners who can assist in the development of the young players in Northants and help them to be the best that they can be. Perhaps you run your own business or have a high level job at your company and you might be able to help? It might be that you have a contact name that you can provide me with? Maybe you are retired and are sitting on large retirement nest egg (lucky you) and would like to put something back into the sport that you love. If you can’t support us financially, then maybe you could lend us your professional skills as a member of the committee? Finally, it would be beneficial to our Junior Squad members to have some additional high-level sparring partners at our coaching sessions to increase the quality of the sessions and ensure that those in attendance get the most from these sessions by hitting more balls. If you feel that you could give up between 1 and 4 Sunday mornings over the course of the season to support in this way then please get in contact.
County Coaching Officer
Division 2a, Day 2, 9th November 2019
Day 2 of the Junior County Championships was played at Westfield Table Tennis Club. All the teams in the division came together to play the ‘cross-over’ fixtures. With Felix Bradbury out with a hand injury and Jacob Tattersall unavailable, Virgil Birch-Abban and Ben Aldridge were given the opportunity to impress. The revised team formations were. Northants 1: Alex Cochrane, Danny Verrall, Ted Eastman, Anna Wilson and Olivia Ross. The second team consisted of Vincent Pham, Virgil Birch-Abban, Ben Aldridge, Swati Jethwa and Mia Solomon.
Kevin Bird coached Northants 2 and Henry Arthur coached Northants 1.
Match 1: Northants 2 –vs- Lincs 2
Virgil was up first for Northants and was playing well against Callum Smith. He won match four to level at 2-2 but a slow start in the fifth ended his chances of a win. Swati went 2-0 down to Pheonix Mason, and again, played well to level at 2-2. But just like Virgil, she started slowly in the fifth and lost 11-5. Ben played some good points but was not able to convert into winning ends. Vincent took legs in both his games but was unable to force deciders in either. Once again, it was down to Mia to claim Northants solitary point. Having lost her first match comfortably to Charlotte Ashford, she regrouped and played well to beat Pheonix Ashford 3-1. Overall, I was slightly disappointed to lose 9-1 to another county second team. With only first teams left to play, it was going to be a tough task.
Final Score: Northants 2: 1, Lincs 2: 9
Match 2: Staffordshire –vs- Northants 2
Next up were the division leaders and favourites for the title, Staffordshire. They wasted no time in romping to a 10-0 victory, with Northants only able to pick up one game, courtesy of Ben Aldridge. Let’s quickly move onto match 3!
Final Score: Staffordshire 10, Northants 2: 0.
Match 3: Northants 2 –vs- Cheshire
Our third match was against Cheshire. This was a much more evenly contested match and there were some stand out performances. Virgil got Northants off to a wining start with a comfortable 3-0 win against James Bowman. Ben Aldridge went 1-0 down to Joe Davis, but then stepped up a gear and took the next three games for an impressive 3-1 win. Northants now 2-0 up! Swati went down 3-0 to Jessica Morris but Mia beat Milly Hanrahan by the same margin. Northants now 3-1 up! Cheshire then won the next four matches, although Vincent was unlucky to go down 3-2 to Lucas Clarke. Vincent did redeem himself in his second match, coming back from 2-0 down to beat Joe Davis 3-2. With the score at 4-5, Virgil was last up to try and earn a well-deserved draw. As with Vincent, Virgil went 2-0 down, only to come back to 2-2 with some very good attacking play. The match was evenly poised but unfortunately for Virgil, Lucas Clarke had two pieces of good fortune which turned the game in his favour and enabled him to ease through 11-8. A much better performance from the team.
Final Score: Northants 2: 4, Cheshire 6.
Match 4: Northants 2 –vs- Lincs 1
Our last match was against Lincolnshire’s first team. Virgil carried on his good form from the previous match to beat Luke Nimmo 3-2. Swati and Mia were up against two strong Lincolnshire girls and were unable to trouble the scorer. Ben also found the going tough against older, more experienced players. Vincent played well to go 2-0 up against Gregory Fray and was unlucky not to win 3-0, losing 13-11 in the third. That close end knocked the wind out of Vincent’s sails and Gregory won games four and five to take the match and conclude a 9-1 win for Lincolnshire.
Final Score: Northants 2: 1, Lincs 1: 9.
Currently, our results don’t reflect our performances. We are, for the most part, competitive in many of the matches we play (Staffs being the exception). Our players need to get more tournament experience. It was evident that our opponents had this experience, especially on the big points and close games and this made a big difference to the overall result. Something for the players to work on.
I look forward to doing it all again next season!
Kevin Bird (17.11.2019)
For day 2 match scores sheets see below
The two Northants Junior teams will play in Div 2A this year and will play their first round of county matches on Saturday 3 November at Westfield.The other counties in this division will be Leicestershire, Lincolnshire 2, S Yorkshire, Cheshire 2, Durham 2 and Staffordshire.
Northants Junior 1 Report
Division 2a, Day 1, 3rd November 2018
Westfield Table Tennis Club hosted the ‘Southern’ section of the Junior County Championships (Div 2a). The Northants first team consisted of Virat Patel, Alex Cochrane, Jacob Tattersall, Anna Wilson and Lana Orbell. Alex, Jacob and Lana were all making their debuts for the County Junior first team.
All matches were played on two tables, which kept team captains Kevin Bird and Henry Arthur busy!
Match 1: Lincolnshire II –vs- Northants I
Lincolnshire were only able to field one Junior girl, so Northants were 2-0 up before the match had started. Jacob and Alex played first, both winning their matches comfortably (Jacob 3-1, Alex 3-0). After a tentative start, Lana got into her stride, beating the Lincolnshire girl 3-1. Virat overcame Lincs best player 3-1 and after less than 45 minutes, Northants were 5-0 ahead! Jacob came from 1-0 down to beat Tom Chesworth and Anna also came from 1-0 down to comfortable see off Emily Winfield. Alex won three close games against Aalhad Kulkarni and Virat made it a clean sweep with a 3-0 win over Fraser Winfield. A great start to the day.
Final Score: Lincolnshire 0, Northants 10.
Match 2: Northants I –vs- Leicestershire
Next up Leicestershire, who looked a much tougher proposition, having beaten the Northants second team 10-0 in their first-round encounter. Alex continued his excellent form by beating Vishaal Sharda 3-1. Jacob played well against the Leics Number 2 (Daniel Andrews), and at 1-1 the match was evenly poised, but despite Jacob’s best efforts, Daniel pulled clear and ran out a 3-1 winner. Anna put Northants 2-1 ahead with a 3-0 win over Roma Morjaria. Meanwhile, Lana was in a five-end marathon with Sufyhana Dhanji, coming from 2-0 down to level at 2-2, with Lana pinching the fourth end 18-16! Unfortunately, a slow start in the fifth end meant that Leics won 3-2 and made the match score 2-2. Virat was next up but found Jack Rogers too hot to handle, with the talented Leics player winning 3-0. Jacob was unlucky not to register on the scoresheet, coming from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 (Jacob’s play in games three and four was the best I have seen him play) but he was unable to sustain such a high standard in the final end and bowed out 11-7. Lana found Roma a little too consistent, losing 3-0 but Anna played her best match to beat Sufyhana 3-2 and give Northants their third point. Daniel Andrews made it a brace against Northants by seeing off Virat 3-0 and looked very comfortable playing against pimples. Jack Rogers concluded Leics 7-3 score line with a 3-0 win over Alex. A hard fought three points for Northants against a good Leicestershire side.
Final Score: Northants 3, Leicestershire 7.
Match 3: Northants II –vs- Northants I
See Henry Arthur's Northants Junior 2nd team report below.
Final Score: Northants II: 2, Northants I: 8.
A good start to the division. It will be interesting to see the standard of the other counties when we come to play them on Day 2.
Kevin Bird (5.11.2018)
The Northamptonshire first and second teams who competed in Division 2A of the County Championships on Saturday 3 November 2018.
From left to right Lana Orbell, Swati Jethwa, Olivia Ross, Anna Wilson, Virat Patel, Henry Arthur (Northants 2 Team Captain), Felix Bradbury, Jacob Tattersall, Virgil Birch-Abban, Alex Cochrane and Daniel Mann.
Northants Junior 2nd team report 3/11/18
The Northants Junior 2nd team kicked off their 2018-19 season on Saturday 3 November with matches against Lincolnshire 2nds, Leicestershire and the Northants 1st team. This young team were made up of Swati Jethwa, Olivia Ross, Daniel Mann, Felix Bradbury and Virgil Birch-Annan.
Lincolnshire 2 vs Northants 2
Unfortunately, Lincs were a player short so we started 2-0 up in this match before a ball had been hit and the first two clashes in this match would prove to be vital to the end result. On one table, Virgil was up against Frazer Winfield and on the adjoining table, Felix was facing Tom Chesworth. In both matches our players found themselves 2-0 down and it looked like our 2-0 head start was already lost. Fortunately, neither Virgil or Felix thought that as both turned the matches round to win 3-2 and put us in a healthy 4-0 lead. Lincs got themselves on the scoreboard when Emily Winfield defeated Olivia 3-0 and when Aalhad Kulkarni dispatched Daniel 3-0, it was very much a case of “game on”.
The next match looked like being crucial to the overall outcome as Virgil took on Tom and in a close encounter, it was Virgil who took the honours 3-1 to take Northants on to the verge of victory at 5-1. Emily saw off the challenge of the much improved Swati to keep Lincs in the tie and with Felix going down 3-0 to Aalhad, the match stood finely balanced at 5-4. Cometh the hour, cometh the Mann though, with Daniel providing a masterclass in sports psychology to defeat Frazer 11-13, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 to grab a 6-4 victory for Northants!
Leicestershire vs Northants 2
Leicestershire looked like being a much tougher challenge than Lincolnshire and this proved to be the case as they despatched our young team 10-0. Felix came closest to getting on the scoresheet, going down 11-9 in the fifth game to Vishaal Sharda. The result was not as one sided as the overall score suggested though as Swati, Olivia, Daniel and Virgil all managed to take games off their opposition, but the extra experience and game management of the older Leicestershire players told in the end.
And so onto the final match of the day and this was the important one as the Northants 1st and 2nd teams faced off in direct competition. The two coaches were watching spectators only for this one as we left the players to get on with it themselves.
The first two matches on were Felix versus Jacob, and Virgil against Alex. Two wins for the 1st team were expected but the 2nd team players were up for the challenge which resulted in two fantastic matches of high-quality table tennis. Alex edged out the talented Virgil 13-11, 11-13, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 to put the 1st team ahead but within 30 seconds it was 1-1 as Felix overcame the higher ranked Jacob 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10 in a brilliant match.
The girls then faced off as Anna took on Olivia, with Lana playing Swati. Anna scored a clear cut win but Swati again showed how much she has improved in the last 12 months as she took Lana right to the wire before eventually succumbing 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 9-11 as the 1st team moved 3-1 up.
Back to the boys and two more close games. Jacob put the 1st team 4-1 up when he defeated Virgil in four games, but on the other table another momentous battle was going on between Daniel and Virat which saw Daniel come from 0-2 down to force yet another decider. It was anyone’s guess as to who would win the decider but Virat showed some great character to hold off Daniel’s spirited fightback to take the game 11-9. Somehow, despite all the close matches, the 1st team now led 5-1.
Back came the girls but Anna and Lana were both playing with confidence now and swept to 3-0 wins over Swati and Olivia respectively, though Olivia will feel that the result could have been different had she won either of the two games that went to deuce in her 3-0 loss to Lana.
The final two matches saw Virat defeat Felix 3-0 to put the 1st team either further ahead but there was still some fight left in the 2nd team as Daniel and Alex played out another marathon match. Alex led 2-1 (9-11, 13-11, 11-6) but Daniel edged the fourth to take it to a decider where he then played probably his most impressive attacking table tennis of the day to overcome his higher ranked opponent 11-7 and finally give the 2nd team their second point of the match.
So bragging rights to the 1st team as they recorded an 8-2 win over their County rivals but the closeness of many of the encounters (no fewer than five of them went to a decider), shows there is very little to choose between the teams and players. Will be interesting to see how this group of players develop over the next 2-3 years. Hopefully they stay in the sport and will soon start taking on and beating the top senior and veteran players in the County who have dominated the local scene for far too long!
No date or venue has been agreed yet for the remaining matches which will feature teams from South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Durham. One thing is for certain though, all four counties will offer stiff opposition to our improving junior players.
Northants Junior I match report:
Division 2a, Day 2, 24th March 2018
COUNTY JUNIOR TEAMS
Draycott Table Tennis Club also hosted Day 2 of the Junior County Championships (Div 2a). The Northants first team consisted of Sam Wilson, Shay Graham, Abin Islam, Anna Wilson and fourteen year-old debutant Lucy Sturgess.
Match 1: Northants I vs Lincolnshire II
Northants were always ahead in this match with the boys wining all their matches, only Abin being extended to a fourth end. Anna went 2-1 up to Steffi Poppa but Steffi improved her game and eased home in the fifth. Lucy settled quickly and looked competitive when rallying, but she did find Steffi’s service challenging.
Final Score: Northants 6, Lincolnshire 4.
Match 2: Northants I vs Durham
Sam Wilson showed his class with a comfortable double. The rest of the team struggled against a strong Durham side. Northants only winning one leg (Anna) to Durham’s twenty-four.
Final Score: Northants 2, Durham 8.
Match 3: Lancashire II vs Northants I
Sam was again our leading light, picking up two wins and justifying his high England ranking. The rest of the team understandably struggled against the eventual league winners, with only Abin able to win a leg
Final Score: Lancashire 8, Northants 2.
Match 3: Northants I vs South Yorkshire
Overall, a very competitive match. Sam won his customary two games and Abin was unlucky to lose 11-9 in the fifth to Adam Szabo. Shay also had a good game against Adam. Anna played her best table tennis, beating Lucie Smith but bowing out in four to Amy Marriott. Lucy nearly sneaked a deuce end against Lucie Smith. Northants fourth point was a concession due to injury. A much better performance and one which could have ended in a draw.
Final Score: Northants 4, South Yorkshire 6.
Another tough season for the Northants Junior team but one that showed promise for the future. We have a young team which can only get stronger with the experience they have gained. A special thank you to Lucy Sturgess, who stepped in at short notice, showed no nerves and played some great table tennis.
|Junior division 2A||P||W||D||L||F||A||Pts|
Kevin Bird (25.3.2018)
Northants Junior I match report:
From left to right Anna Wilson, Shay Graham, Sam Wilson, Abin Islam and Evie Elliott.
Division 2a, Day 1, 21st October 2017
Draycott Table Tennis Club hosted Day 1 of the Junior County Championships (Div 2a). The Northants first team consisted of Sam Wilson, Shay Graham, Abin Islam, Evie Elliott and Anna Wilson.
Match 1: Chesire II –vs- Northants I
The match started well for Northants, with Sam comfortably defeating Nathan Bradshaw 3-0. Abin soon made the score line 2-0, with a 3-1 win over the Cheshire number 3. Niamh Scarborough got Cheshire on the board, beating Anna 3-0. Shay restored the two-point lead when he beat the Chesire number 1, 3-1. Evie lost a close five-ender against the Chesire number 2, Ruby Bennett. Sam, Shay and Abin all won again, and Anna also got on the scoresheet, beating Ruby Bennett 3-1. Evie found the Cheshire number 1 in good form, losing 3-0. On balance, a reasonable opening match.
Final Score: Cheshire 3, Northants 7.
Match 2: Northants I –vs- Derbyshire
Next up Derbyshire, whose boys were well ranked. Shay continued his good form with a hard fought 3-1 win over Jack Finney but found Daniel Allen a tough nut to crack, losing 3-1. Abin found the going tough and was only able to pick up one leg in his two matches. Anna and Evie were also finding it hard, with neither able to gain a leg against Helena Dicken or Lauren Thirlwell. Sam’s two 3-0 wins, highlighted the gap in the ranking between himself and his opponents. A much tougher match, ending in a 7-3 defeat. Looking around the room, the strength of the remaining counties look equivalent to Derbyshire.
Final Score: Northants 3, Derbyshire 7.
Match 3: Leicestershire I –vs- Northants I
Our third (and final) round of the day was against Leicestershire. Sam made it five out of five, with a comfortable 3-0 win over Rayan Kotecha. Abin played well against Dan Andrews but the Leicestershire man was just too consistent, and he eased to a 3-0 win. Anna lost to Frankie Hallam 3-1 and the vastly improved Jack Rogers made short work of Shay in a 3-0 win. Evie and Anna both beat the Leics Number 2 girl and Rayan beat Abin 3-0 to put Leics 4-3 ahead. Next up was Sam against Jack. After a slow start, Sam squeezed through 11-9 in the first end. The next three ends were all very close and hard fought, but it was Jack who came out on top in all three and secured a 3-1 win. Shay finished off a disappointing match for Northants by losing his match 3-2 to Dan Andrews (having led comfortably, then switching off).
Final Score: Leicestershire 7, Northants 3.
A bit of a mixed bag. Some performances of note, mixed in with some ordinary play as well. Looking back, I think the Girls will be disappointed with their performances (I have seen both play better). More practice will be required before the second round of matches in March.
Kevin Bird (23.10.2017)
NORTHANTS JUNIOR 2 REPORT
This the County Junior 2 Team that played in the County Championships in Essex on Saturday 21 October 2017. They are from left to right Daniel Mann, Travis Holly (Captain), Jacob Tattersall, Ashleigh Maynard and Swati Jethwa. They played against Sussex 2, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire 2, and Essex and although they lost each of these matches this was not perhaps surprising as they were one of the youngest Junior teams we have put out. Three of the team are in fact still Cadets and earned the right to be selected as a result of their performances in the recent County Under 18s tournaments. They fought hard and will have gained valuable experience from playing at this level for the most part against much older players.
Many thanks to Hitesh Jethwa who took over the management of the team at short notice.
Northants Cadets Report Matchday 2 (December 16th)
Draycott Table Tennis Centre played host to the final day of matches in this season’s Cadet County Championships. Our cadet team had lost all three of their matches on the first day of matches back in November and knew that they were in for another challenging day with matches against two of the favourites in Durham 2 and Cheshire as well as a match versus the home County of Derbyshire. Our team was again made up of Bipasha Ganatra and Swati Jethwa (WHDTTA), Daniel Mann (Chesterwell), Jacob Tattersall (Burton Latimer Baptists) and Shay Graham (formerly of Malcolm Arnold).
Northants 3 vs Durham 2nds 7
Jacob (ranked at 193 on the National Cadet list) kicked proceedings off against Jamie Peacock (ranked at 44). Jacob put in a battling performance but could not withstand his opponents constant heavy attacking play and lost out 3-1. On the other table Daniel (290) was involved in a fluctuating match with Adam Hanby (149) but the victory was just out of his reach with Hanby winning it 12-10 in the decider.
Up next were our two girls with Bipasha (unranked) taking on Sophie Richardson (74) and Swati (unranked) playing Amy Mold (55). Bipasha put in a good showing losing 14-12, 6-11, 7-11, 9-11 but Amy was too good for Swati and scored a 3-0 win meaning that we found ourselves 4-0 down.
Next up was Shay, our number one cadet who is ranked at 119 and he played a very solid game to clinically defeat Hayden Gilmour (130) 3-0 to get his team on the scoreboard. At the same time, Jacob was up against Hanby and he produced a great result courtesy of some excellent tactical play to defeat his higher ranked opponent 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 to reduce the over match deficit to 2-4.
Bipasha and Swati then played their reverse singles against Mold and Richardson and neither could make any inroads into their opponents which meant Durham 2nds moved into an unassailable 6-2 lead.
Shay produced perhaps his best ever win whilst playing for the Northants Cadet team with a stunning 11-5, 10-12, 16-14, 11-7 win over Peacock to lessen the defeat. Daniel put in another good display before losing out 14-12 in the fourth to Gilmour to leave the final score reading as a 3-7 loss. Durham would go on to win this division.
Cheshire 9 vs Northants 1
Next up was a Cheshire team that featured Liam Bibby (50), James Courtney (72) and Liam Murphy (151) for their boys with Niamh Scarborough (21) and Ruby Bennett (61) being their two girls. This proved to be the toughest match of the day for our youngsters. Daniel, Bipasha and Swati lost all their matches 3-0. Shay did marginally better taking a game in both his matches with the closest he came to picking up a win being an 11-9, 9-11, 10-12, 9-11 defeat against Courtney. Jacob easily lost 3-0 to Bibby but with the scorecard showing us 9-0 down, he produced another solid performance to defeat Murphy 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7. Cheshire ultimately finished second in the division when Durham defeated them in the last match of the day to take the title.
Northants 5 vs Derbyshire 1sts 5
And so onto our final match of the 2017-18 County Cadet Championships which would also be the final match for four of the five players on show with only Swati still eligible to play in the cadet age group next season.
Jacob kicked the match off against Sam Cooper (108) but found his opponent to consistent and lost out 3-0. But Daniel quickly levelled matters with an 11-0, 11-7, 12-14, 11-3 win over Bradley Tomlinson (378).
Bipasha and Swati again found the going tough, with both players losing 3-0 to Lucy Vernon (29) and Helena Dicken (19) respectively as Derbyshire edged ahead 3-1.
Shay then beat Joseph Cooper (159) 3-1 in an entertaining match before Jacob levelled the score at 3-3 with a 3-1 win over Tomlinson, Derbyshire quickly moved 5-3 ahead after defeats for Swati and Bipasha.
Shay produced another excellent performance to defeat Sam Cooper 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10 to keep us in the hunt for a draw. However, this would depend on whether Daniel could upset the odds and defeat Joseph Cooper, a player ranked 131 places above him. To everyone’s surprise, Daniel took the first end 11-3 with his unorthodox style causing Cooper several problems. Cooper edged the second game 11-9 but Daniel kept plugging away and moved 2-1 ahead with an 11-8 win in the third game. Cooper held his nerve in the fourth end to take it 14-12 to leave the match result fully dependent on the final game of the day. Could Daniel sign off his County Cadet matches with a famous win and secure an unexpected draw for his team? Of course he could! Playing some of his most inspired table tennis of the day, and following another long deuce game, Daniel eventually emerged victorious 15-13 which saw some big smiles from his team-mates, a fist-pump from his team captain and absolutely no emotion from Daniel himself!
Five defeats and one draw shows how much work we still have to do to catch up with other Counties. Shay, Jacob, Daniel and Bipasha have served the cadets well in the couple of years that they have represented the County but all three are aware of how hard the next challenge will be as they make the step into the next age group. Some great wins by the boys today gives us some hope and optimism for the future. There are some decent male cadet players at the various clubs to come into the team for next season but we are really struggling for girls for next season. As always, table time (both matches and training) is key for our young players to help them develop and try to narrow the gap between ourselves and the other Counties, as is the need for them to get out and gain more experience of tournament play against other young players. With most of our juniors only playing in the lower divisions of the senior leagues, and against older players who mainly play unorthodox table tennis, our young players often find themselves exposed against the faster, more attacking play of their contemporaries from other Counties.