As with the Junior Masters two weeks ago, the top seed in the boys and the girls triumphed in the sternest test that there is in the English domestic calendar. Two days of ‘round robin’ competition against the other thirteen of the country’s best age group players, is tough on body and mind.

Emily Bates and Sam Walker remained unbeaten over two days under the pressure of the expectation that on every one of the thirteen visits to the table, their ranking position tells them that they should win. They both showed the confidence expected of favourites but also the concentration and determination needed to come through unscathed.

The atmosphere at the event, held at Cippenham Table Tennis Club, was at times electric. The enthusiasm and passion shown by these young top English players was encouraging, even if at times it did border on the raucous. The fight was carried on right to the end and such was the spirit, passion and talent on show, that the future of English table tennis is looking brighter.

Whilst Emily and Sam were the stars of the weekend there were some very promising performances from other players, some even younger.

Helshan Weersinghe and Igor Morais, with two and one year respectively left in the Cadet age group, were second and third behind Sam.

Tressa Armitage followed up her fifth place in the Junior (U18) Masters with second place in the cadets. Tin-Tin Ho, with three years left in the cadet age band, finished in third place.

Both ‘Masters’ events, Juniors and Cadets were run impeccably yet again by referee ‘Mr Masters’, Mick Strode.

Final finishing positions were:-

(Wins/Losses in brackets)

1.     Emily Bates (13-0)
2.     Tressa Armitage (11-2)
3.     Tin-Tin Ho (10-3)
4.     Vicky Smith (9-4)
5.     Jessica Dawson (9-4)
6.     Charleigh Kirby (9-4)
7.     Emma Torkington (8-5)
8.     Isobel Ashley (6-7)
9.     Lucy Lou (5-8)
10.  Megan Knowles (5-8)
11.  Janay Gibson (3-10)
12.  Harriet Taylor (3-10)
13.  Nicole Finn ( 0-13)

Chrissie Slot withdrew through injury on the second day after nine matches.

1.     Sam Walker (13-0)
2.     Helshan Weersinghe (11-2)
3.     Igor Morais (10-3)
4.     Michael Ho (8-5)
5.     Eric Wan (8-5)
6.     Ross Wilson (7-6)
7.     Sam Mabey (6-7)
8.     Jared Patel (6-7)
9.     Liam McTiernan (5-8)
10.  Jarred Knowles (5-8)
11.  Matthew Outhwaite (4-9)
12.  Reece Placid (4-9)
13.  Connor Neenan (3-10)
14.  Adam Harrison (1-12)

Both Nicole Finn and Connor Neenan were late replacements and had little time to prepare for this tough weekend of competition.

Two members of the English Junior Selection Panel, Des Douglas and Alex Perry presented the awards to the top three players.

Peter Charters