Falmouth School, Under-13s winners, are presented their trophy by Kelly Sibley

In spite of the wintery weather conditions, teams from 20 counties fought their way through the snow to take part in the Butterfly National School Team Championship Finals organised by English Schools’ Table Tennis Association on 23rd March 2013.

A packed Hinckley Leisure Centre witnessed quality table tennis from teams representing 29 schools competing in the eight age categories who had played their way through County, Zone and Regional rounds to reach this stage of the Championships now in its 47th year.

Reigning Under 19 Girls’ champions, Kesteven & Grantham Girls’ School, Lincolnshire (Hannah Noutch, Sidrah Abrar, Emma Turley, Helen Turley, Divya Prabhu) retained their title for the fifth consecutive year with comfortable 7-1 and 5-3 victories.  Unfortunately, the Horsforth School Team from Leeds, who were in with a chance of success, were victims of the arctic weather.  The 2012 Under 13 Girls’ victors from Haygrove School, Bridgwater, Somerset fought hard to retain their crown with three 4-4 draws but had to relinquish their title to Falmouth School, Cornwall (Dominique Williams, Chloe Parsons, Chloe Crilly, Lily Owen, Megan Bolitho) who recorded match scores of 6-2, 5-3 and 4-4.

All other titles were up for grabs.  Four events were claimed by schools who were unbeaten on the day recording wins over the other three teams in their respective age group.  Victoria Dock Primary School, Kingston upon Hull, Humber (William Ibbitson, Liam Williamson, Kai Young, Jack Haslope) deservedly won the Under 11 Boys’ championship with three wins of 7-1, 6-2 and 5-3 over their opponents.  In the Under 16 Girls’ event, Northfield School and Sports College, Billingham, Cleveland (Eleanor Davidson, Hannah Clark, Katie Barlow, Sophie Barlow, Amy Webster) recorded the same match scores to take the title up North.  The Bushey Academy, Hertfordshire (Joe Farry, Adam Allaway, Nick Mileham, James Murray, James Boulton) fought hard with clear wins of 6-2, 6-2 and 5-3 to become Under 13 Boys’ winners.  However, the most clear cut victory of the day went to London Academy, Edgware, London North (Gabriel Achampong, Omar Khassal, Karim Khassal, Charlie Austen, Arbi Tola, Shayan Naserbakt) in the Under 16 Boys’ competition with emphatic wins, displaying talent in depth, of 7-1, 7-1 and 8-0.

For most of the time the Referee’s calculator remained in standby mode.  It came out of its case early in the day to determine second and third places in the Under 19 Girls’ event following a four all draw, which on countback showed a 14-14 games equality but giving a 229-227 points advantage to the City of Westminster College, London Central over Morpeth School, London East.  A mass of 4-4 draws in the remaining two events suggested arithmetical skills would be required to determine the winners.  This was almost the case in the Under 11 Girls’ competition where three matches were decided 6-2, one 5-3 and two 4-4, but Great Wood Primary School, Morecambe, Lancashire (Alice Dillon, Rosie Logue, Naomi Collins, Amy Edwards, Natasha Norman) edged to victory.  In the Under 19 Boys’ event, two teams tied with five match points each (two victories and a draw) and two teams with one match point each (one draw and two losses), resulting in both 3rd/4th place and 1st/2nd place being determined on countback.  Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby, Merseyside (Tom Hill, Josha Matthewman, Matt Clewett, Joe Pilkington, Adam Seymour) claimed the title, going one better than last year when they had taken second place.

Guest presenter Kelly Sibley, England Women’s Singles Champion and former ESTTA and inaugural UK School Games Individual Champion, was joined by John Blackband, ESTTA Chairman; Richard Hudson, ESTTA Team Championship Organiser and Les Smith, Referee to present all participants with trophies and the winners with the Championship Cups.

For full group results see www.estta.org.uk