Sunday 30th January 2022 saw this season’s County Junior Championships held at Stowupland Sports Centre. A total of 27 entrants competed for Under 11, 13, 15, 18 honours as well as participating in a couple of all inclusive events; Handicap Singles and Pot Luck Doubles.
The latter 2 events offer the less experienced players the opportunity of beating their higher rated opponents in the Handicap, and to play with the more experienced players in the doubles.
In the Handicap Singles all players are given a rating according to ability and play 1 single game up to 31. Many tight matches prevailed but ‘unfortunately’ most of the more experienced players still won through to the latter stages. (The organiser has noted that the handicaps given to those players will have to be much harsher next year!) The final went to Isaac Kingham (-5) who defeated Henry Shaw (-3) in a single point decider 31-30.
Luke Davies Stokes was well supported by his younger partner Ashkan Talebpour to get to the final of the pot-luck doubles but they lost out to Jamie Bennett and Shannon Heffer in a well fought match.
The age-categorised events, allow players to compete against their peers, to crown the top players in Suffolk.
The girls’ events all went the way of the higher seeded player with Samantha Rupapa (U13’s), Shannon Heffer (U15’s) and Isobel McGerty (U18’s) all winning in straight sets.
The U11 was a mixed event and produced some of the most entertaining matches of the day. Great credit to all the players for their swashbuckling styles and attacking intent. Ruby Melero won the group following an epic 14-12 victory in the deciding leg against Nathaniel Mashonganyika, who became the runner up.
The U13 boys event went the way of the seedings with Alexander Graham winning all his matches and Zygis Kaminskas securing the runners up spot.
Fourteen entrants in the U15 boys event, starting in groups to see who progressed, was eventually whittled down to the top seeds who produced an excellent final with Isaac Kingham defeating Alexander Graham.
The U18’s also started in groups, which saw Alex Attew defeat the 4th seed Joe Fortnum Adams. Alex progressed through to the semi-final where he then took the scalp of 2nd seed Isaac Kingham in a fantastic semi-final coming back from 2-1 down to win 11-8 in the decider. Not to be outdone in the performance stakes, another amazing semi-final was taking place on the adjacent table where Henry Shaw also came back from 2-1 down to eventually defeat top seed Luke Davies Stokes 13-11 in the deciding leg. These 2 matches were amazing demonstrations of the progress made in Suffolk table tennis in recent years. The final saw Henry restrict the attacking opportunities of Alex to run out the winner in 3 straight legs.
Congratulations must go to all the players for their sportsmanship throughout the day and their assistance in ensuring the smooth running of the tournament. Also a huge thank you to all the players and parents who stayed on to watch and admire the skills on display during the final matches. The support given to the players was very much appreciated.
Summary of finals results
U11 Mixed – Ruby Melero victorius, Nathaniel Mashonganyika runner up
U13 Girls – Samantha Rupapa defeated Ruby Melero
11-5, 11-3, 11-4
U13 Boys – Alexander Graham victorius, Zygis Kaminskas runner up
U15 Girls – Shannon Heffer defeated Samantha Rupapa
11-3, 11-9, 11-4
U15 Boys – Isaac Kingham defeated Alexander Graham
11-5, 11-5, 11-8
U18 Girls – Isobel McGerty defeated Shannon Heffer
11-8, 11-9, 11-3
U18 Boys – Henry Shaw defeated Alex Attew
11-6, 12-10, 11-9
Handicap singles – Isaac Kingham (-5) defeated Henry Shaw (-3)
Pot Luck Doubles – Jamie Bennett & Shannon Heffer defeated Luke Davies Stokes & Ashkan Talebpour
8-11, 11-6, 11-8