Strong Finish From Determined Cadets

The Warwickshire Cadets were in action on Saturday for the first round of the County Table Tennis Championships. A much changed side from last year would face a rude awakening in Division 1B, the first two fixtures of the day would see them face both Middlesex 1 and 2.

The standard set by the opponents was very high with Middlesex 1 fielding the #15, 22 and 37 ranked boys and #6 and 15 girls in the country. However, Warks were competitive in most matches and managed to pick up two excellent wins with debutant Ciara Hancox (Lillington, ranked 59) impressively beating #15 Patricia Ianau 3-0 and Jack Green (Lillington) taking a hard-fought 13-11, 5-set victory against Kai Ghazi Timms (#37).  Final result 2-8 loss.

Middlesex 2 weren’t much less of an opposition and also proved to be very strong with three boys ranked in the 50s and the two girls in the 30s. Again though, the Bears were competitive and battled to make life difficult for the opposition. Jack and Ciara were unlucky to lose matches in deciding sets before Robbie Fitchford (Lillington) held his nerve to open his account with an excellent fifth set victory over Ryan Bennett (ranked #55). With the team 6-1 down they continued to fight and got their just rewards with Warks no. 1 Sam Cafearo (Rugby) winning comfortably in four sets vs Brakislav Zivrovic (#52). Ciara Hancox then followed-up with another very good straight-sets victory over Talia Banin-Reid currently ranked some 30 places higher. Although the final result was a 7-3 loss the Warwickshire Cadets were in good spirits and ready to give it their all in the afternoon.

Suffolk were next and the confidence was beginning to build in the side with three straight sets victories in the first four matches from Robbie, Ciara and Sam putting the Bears 3-1 ahead. Suffolk fought back to 3-3 before Sophie Rinnhofer (Colebridge) beat Anna Ridsill-Smith to notch her first win and Sam recovered from 6-10 down in the 4th to beat Kian Burgess (ranked 21) in deuce to secure at least a draw for Warwickshire. At 5-4 the deciding match was between Ciara and Riya Kumar and although dropping the first set -9, Ciara changed gear to finish 9, 4, 4 and ensure the two points with Warwickshires first win of the campaign.

Cambridgeshire 2 would be the final fixture of the day and far from being tired from a long day, the team were energised from their victory and determined to finish on a high. Cambs were only able to field one girl which gifted the Bears 2 wins. A great start from a confident Sam Cafearo and Robbie Fitchford put Warks 2-0 up with wins over Matthew Pryke and Kamran Bastani respectively. Results then swung the other way with Cambs 2 picking up victories when Sophie unluckily lost out to Chloe Pryke 15-13 in the 5th set and Harry Boston beating Jack Green. Warks weren’t to be beaten though and Robbie, Sam, Ciara and Jack won the remaining matches to secure a well-earned 8-2 victory.

All the Warwickshire Cadets showed great determination and willingness to succeed but it was a particularly impressive display by Ciara Hancox with 5 wins from 7 on debut. The next round is in March.

Chris Mulligan

Warwickshire County Cadets

Author: via Warwickshire Table Tennis Association
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