Northumberland Table Tennis Association’s Junior Championship was held at The Sporting Club at Cramlington on Friday 16th February, 2018.
The tournament hosts four different events – Junior Singles (under 18), Cadet Singles (under 15), Under 13 Singles and Under 12 Singles. Due to time constraints, with the tournament being held on a Friday evening, every match is played as a best of 3 ends. Any player registered for a club associated with the Northumbria Table Tennis League can enter but local schools are also approached to involve students with an interest in the game.
The biggest event, the Junior Singles, had a turn-out of 21 players with Adam Webster of NECA and Andrew Matfin and Sree Kanakala of Cramlington being the top seeds. The number 2 and 3 seeds met in the semi-finals but it was the number 3 seed Kanakala who triumphed to make his way to the final. In the other half of the draw, top seed Webster beat Alan Roskilly in the quarters then Ethan Brown in the semis. In the end Webster, who was the only player playing above division 3 standard of the Northumbria Winter League, took a comfortable win against Kanakala in the final to become the 2017/18 Junior Champion.
In the Cadet Singles, Kanakala had the opportunity to regain some pride and did so promptly when he beat Freddie McKenna in the quarter-finals, Alan Roskilly in the semi-finals and then Ethan Brown in the final. Brown, who plays for Cramlington Ravens in division 3, has had a good local league season but came unstuck against Kanakala.
Cramlington’s superb young player Oliver Ho did well to win both the Under 13 and Under 12 Singles. In the Under 13 event he beat Jake Borg, Archie McLean and Jessica Yang to get himself into the final against Leo Conn. Conn beat Yang in the group stages, had a bye into the first round then beat Freddie McKenna in their semi-final. The final was a close-fought affair with Ho taking the first end then Conn taking a comfortable 11-6 end. The deciding end was won 11-9 by Ho, giving him his first title of the day.
Only a few players under the age of 12 signed up for the tournament and in a round robin format Oliver Ho beat both Jessica Yang and Leo Conn to take his second title of the day, Conn winning yet another runner-up medal.