A smaller than usual entry came together for Cippenham Table Tennis Club flagship open tournament, the Young Players’ Summer Festival. Four age groups over two days, five main events and four consolation events uniquely produced nine different winners.
Play got underway on the Saturday morning with the youngest age group, the under-12s. Play began in groups of six players with the top three going into the championship events and the others all into a consolation event, a format replicated, with minor differences, throughout the other age categories. The eight quarter-finalists included five from Buckinghamshire with Cippenham’s Megan Ashfield and Reeshabh Hamal departing at that point. Top seed Sam Wilson then beat Ben Naylor-Smith 3-0 in the first semi-final to set up a meeting in the final with Ben Proud who beat Anthony Close in his semi. Wilson, son of former Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships medallist Colin Wilson, and another of the host club’s representatives, took the first and third games at deuce but in the end had to give second best to the number two seed Ben Proud.
It was the turn of the under-14s on Saturday afternoon, and for this age group competition was divided between boys and girls. The girls’ event was played as a round robin with two girls from Wales occupying the medal positions with Soffi Jenkins in first place and Lydia John second. The under-14 boys’ event had the largest entry of the weekend. Best local performance came from Harrison Simmons who won his preliminary round group and then beat another winner, George Allison, in the quarter-final. However, that was the extent of his run as, after taking the first game, he lost 3-1 to Finn Morgan-Bayliss in the semi. Morgan-Bayliss thus reached the final where he lost a very close and exciting encounter that included three deuce games, 14-12 in the fifth to Ryan Williams. The other semi-finalist was Reading’s Leo Long.
A new day dawned and with it the under-16 age group on Sunday with some topsy-turvy results going against the rankings. Top seed Jamie Trevillion won his group but was then toppled by Leon Thomson in the quarter-final. If results had gone according to ranking they would not have met at that stage as second seed Thomson only got through his group in second place, losing out in a three-way tie to Leo Long, who he beat, while Oliver Hack, to whom he lost, was pushed down into third place. Luckily for Hack this was still good enough to qualify for the main competition and he proceeded to take full advantage, surviving a close encounter of the Jack Mills kind in the quarters before getting the better of Tommy Gritton, who had eliminated Long, 3-1 in the semi-final. Meanwhile Liam Winder had also been taking the alternative route, losing to Mills in his group but then overcoming Sasha Somers and Thomson to reach the final in which he surrendered the title when beaten 3-2 by Hack.
The weekend was completed with the under-18 event. Many of the same players competed as had in the morning but the results were entirely different. Under-16 runner-up Liam Winder could only finish fourth in his preliminary round group while Oliver Hack went only one better. The opposite was true for Leon Thomson. He lost in the preliminary group to Michael Bree, a player he faced for a second time in the event when they both reach the final. Thomson then beat Oliver Hack in the quarter-final before facing top seed Micah Salmon in the semi. Salmon took the first two games but then came under the scrutiny of referee Steve Smith in respect of his service action. This seemed to unsettle Salmon who lost the next three games to grant Thomson progress into the final. In the other half of the draw, second seed Jamie Trevillion lost out to Michael Bree in the semi and that set up a second meeting between Bree and Thomson. The result was a reversal of earlier with Hertfordshire’s Thomson beating Staffordshire’s Bree 3-0.
The tournament was organised by Catherine Hayes and refereed by Steve Smith.
|U18 Singles||Leon Thomson (Herts)||Michael Bree (Staffs)|
|U16 Singles||Oliver Hack (Hants)||Liam Winder (Wales)|
|U14 Boys’ Singles||Ryan Williams (Essex)||Finn Morgan-Baylis (Dorset)|
|U14 Girls’ Singles||Soffi Jenkins (Wales)||Lydia John (Wales)|
|U12 Singles||Ben Proud (Bucks)||Sam Wilson (Bucks)|
|U18 Consolation||Keiran Thompson (Hants)||Ivan Monderin (Surrey)|
|U16 Consolation||Lucas Papantoniou (Middx)||Ivan Monderin (Surrey)|
|U14 Boys’ Consolation||James Knudsen (Essex)||Anthony Close (Herts)|
|U12 Consolation||Pavle Svrdin (Middx)||Katie Shepherd (Berks)|