Weerasinghe is quadruple champion

Helshan Weerasinghe receives his trophy from ESTTA Chairman John Blackband

Helshan Weerasinghe has achieved a clean sweep of Butterfly Schools’ Individual titles by adding the Under-19 crown to his previous victories at Under-11, 13 and 16 levels.

And the Kent player did so in style at The Dome in Doncaster, claiming victory without dropping a game in either group or knockout stages.

Weerasinghe disposed of Daniel Barna (West Sussex) in the quarter-finals and Jared Patel (Essex) in the semi-finals before a win of 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 in the final over Jack Bennett (East Sussex).

Tom Jarvis (Lincolnshire) made it three titles in a row as, with Under-11 and 13 championships already under his belt, he took the Under-16 Boys’ title.

His polished performance throughout the day was almost dented by Josh Bennett (East Sussex) in the semi-finals, with a narrow 3-2 win for Jarvis (11-1, 8-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8), before he beat Hugo Pang of Dorset 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 in the final.

Emily Bolton (Cumbria) repeated her Under-16 Girls’ victory of 2012 after a fiercely contested event with no fewer than 15 matches decided in the fifth and final game. This included both semi-finals, with Emily beating 2012 Under-13 champion Hiba Feredj (London North) 4-11, 11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6 and Amy Humphries (Nottinghamshire) beating Kate Nixon (West Yorkshire) 6-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7. Bolton won the final in four games.

Under-13s, from left: Sophie Barlow, Bhavika Mistry, Kate Cheer and Denise Payet with ETTA Head of Development Emily St John

The Under-19 Girls’ title was more open than usual, with the absence of many of the top players allowing new faces to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. The final was contested by Yuki Wat (East Sussex) and Vicky Smith (Devon), with the Sussex girl winning her first Butterfly Schools’ title 3-1 (11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8).

The rising stars in the Under-13 competitions seem to have been around for many years taking part in schools’ individual, team and international events which create great opportunities as part of their talent development. Some highly competitive knockout stage matches culminated with Denise Payet (London North) beating Bhavika Mistry (Northamptonshire) and Kate Cheer (West Sussex) narrowly defeating Sophie Barlow (Cleveland) 3-2 (7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9). The final resulted in Payet retaining her 2013 title.

The standard of play by the 43 players in the Under-13 Boys’ competition was as high as ever, with many players dropping games in the group stages en route to the last 16.

Ethan Walsh (Hertfordshire) and James Smith (London South) were the losing semi finalists and Shayan Siraj (West Yorkshire) conceded a 3-2 defeat to Harry Dai (Humber) in the final (7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7).

The real strength of the ESTTA competition lies in its ability to attract new young players from around the country for their first taste of a national final. This was the case for many of the 80 players in the Under-11 events, who had qualified through their county competitions.    The standard of play in both boys’ and girls’ events augurs well for the future of the national game.

Congratulations to all players, who should be proud of their performance, particularly Louis Moyes (Norfolk) who defeated Amirul Hussain (Greater Manchester) 3-2 in the semi-finals (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8) and Freddie Osenton-Brown (West Yorkshire) who defeated Jamie Liu (Berkshire) 3-1 (11-8, 11-6, 11-13, 13-3). Moyes went on to beat Osenton-Brown in the five-game final.

In the girls’ competition, Amelia Chan (London North) beat Katie Holt (Hampshire) and Danielle Kelly (Surrey) beat Mollie Patterson (Norfolk) in the semi-finals. Chan, following a four-game win in the final, was crowned champion.

Presentations were made by Keith Thomas (ETTA Treasurer), Emily St John (ETTA Head of Development), Sally Shutt (ETTA Coach Development Officer – North) and Gail Johns (ESTTA Individual Competition Organiser). They were all assisted by John Blackband (ESTTA Chairman).

Players and officials look forward to the Senior Schools’ International (Under-14, 16 & 18) to be held in Wales, where the hosts will welcome teams from the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Ireland, Scotland and England (ESTTA) on 27th-29th June 2014).

Click here for the top finishers in each age group.

A list of finalists for the Butterfly Schools’ Individual Championships can be found on the ESTTA website www.estta.org.uk.

John Arnold MBE,

President/Development Officer ESTTA

30th April 2014