Igor Morais, Helshan Weerasinghe & Paul Smith

Last weekend (21st & 22nd May) saw the National Cadet Masters being hosted by the Draycott & Long Eaton Table Tennis Club at the Draycott Table Tennis Centre. The Centre’s compact nature provided a unique atmosphere which contributed to a thrilling weekend of highly competitive table tennis as England’s top ranked Under 15 boys and girls fought each other in a round-robin format widely regarded as the toughest event to win on the calendar requiring two days of both mental and physical strength against their closest adversaries.

The event saw countless thrilling encounters as players battled for the “Masters” title and with selections still to be made for the forthcoming European Youth Championships in Russia they were under the watchful gaze of the England Selection Panel comprising Peter Charters, and legends of English Table Tennis – Nicky Jarvis, Carole Moore, Jill Parker and Desmond Douglas.

As the Boys competition reached its climax the 13th and final round saw No.1 seed Helshan Weerasinghe (Sussex) faced No.2 seed Igor Morais (Midddlesex) who had both fought off a number of tough challenges and reached this stage undefeated. They had fought out a titanic 5 game final in the National Cadet Championships with Igor coming out on top so – were we in for another close encounter? You bet as the two youngsters did not let us down.

Igor stole the first end 11-9 after trailing 8-5 but Helshan struck back 11-8 to level the match. Igor then took the 3rd end 11-5 producing some stunning forehands and looked to have gained the upper hand and then led the 4th game 7-5 before a crucial time out saw Helshan renew his efforts to again level the match.

The destination of the title hinged on the outcome of the very final game of the final match of the final round as both boys summoned up there last dregs of strength and produced a series of outstanding rallies and saw the match eventually won by the narrowest of margins as Helshan Weerasinghe was crowned Cadets Masters Champion 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9.

3rd place and winner of the bronze medal went to 5th seed – Cleveland’s Paul Smith who turned in a very consistent level of performance losing only to the top two seeds and 5th place Sam Mabey. Paul’s highlight of the day was a 3-1 win over 3rd seed Jared Patel who took 4th place overall.

However, the surprise package in the boy’s event was 12th seed Marcus Giles who took 6th place after a series of unexpected wins including two deuce in the 5th wins over Danny Lawrence and Eddie Freeman and could have finished even higher but for two 5th game loses to both Jared and Sam.

Des Douglas & Helshan Weerasinghe

Cadet Boys – Final Placings

1st Helshan Weerasinghe (Sx)
2nd Igor Morais (Mi)
3rd Paul Smith (Cv)
4th Jared Patel (E)
5th Sam Mabey (Np)
6th Marcus Giles (Sy)
7th Tyrone Wells (Mi)
8th Adam Harrison (Li)
9th Danny Lawrence (K)
10th Daryl Gee (Y)
11th Jack Bennett (Sx)
12th Eddie Freeman (St)
13th Alex Holland (E)
14th Luke Walsh (He)

Click here for a PDF of the complete group scores

Click here for the Girls Cadet Masters

By Phil Vickers – Coaching & Development Officer – Draycott & Long Eaton TT Club