It was six of the best for English Schools as they won every team trophy available at the Home Countries Schools’ International Championships in Perth, Scotland.
The two-player England A teams proved unstoppable, taking five golds with their pride dented only in the Under-18 Boys’ competition, when they were beaten by the England B team.
Both sides having proved too strong for the opposition from Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales and the host country, the B line-up of Jack Bennett (East Sussex) and Mitchell Jones (London West) won 4-1 over Gabrielle Achampong (London North) and Billy Forster (Cleveland).
Lois Peake (West Sussex) and Eva Wang (East Sussex) were undefeated in the Under-18 Girls’ event, as were Kate Cheer (West Sussex) and Letitia McMullan (Hampshire) in the Under-16s, although the latter had a close encounter with Ireland, which they won 3-2.
The Under-16 Boys’ line-up of Alex Ramsden (Northamptonshire) and Alec Ward (Cleveland) fought hard to record a 3-2 victory over Scotland A with comfortable wins in their other age-group matches.
Charlotte Bardsley (Worcestershire) and Gauri Duhan (Humber) played confidently to win all seven of their matches in the Under-14 Girls’ competition, while James Smith (London South) and Ethan Walsh (Hertfordshire) won their Under-14 Boys’ group, progressing through the semi-final to the final, where they beat Ireland 3-0 in the only event to play under that format.
As is often the case, dominance in the team championships is not always reflected in the individual competitions. However, it was in the Under-18 Girls’ championship, all four England players progressing through their groups and knockout to the semi-finals, with Eva Wang beating Lois Peake 3-1 (11-4, 11-13, 11-5, 11-4 in the final). Denise Payet (London North) and Emily Bolton (Cumbria) were the beaten semi-finalists.
In the Under-18 Boys’ semi-finals, Jack Bennett beat Billy Forster and Alan Walsh (Ireland), having beaten top seed Gabrielle Achampong in the quarters, was unable to overcome Mitchell Jones. Bennett went on to win a pulsating final over Jones 3-2 (12-14, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8) to win the title.
Katie McGlone (Ireland) beat Rebecca Plaistow (Scotland) 3-1 (14-12, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8) in the Under-16 Girls’ final. Letitia McMullan and Kate Cheer, who triumphed in the team competition, had to settle for bronze medals.
It was a similar picture in the boys’ event as Chris Wheeler (Scotland) beat Calum Morrison (Scotland) 3-0 (11-6, 13-11, 11-7) in the final. England’s Matthew Leete (Lincolnshire) and Alex Ramsden also had to settle for bronze.
Charlotte Bardsley and Gauri Duhan were Under-14 Girls’ finalists, with Bardsley edging the final 3-2 (4-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7). Mollie Patterson (Norfolk) finished third. Ireland’s Owen Cathcart was crowned boys’ champion with Ethan Walsh the silver medallist and James Smith finishing with a bronze.
A generous grant from Heritage Oil Limited supported participation of the ESTTA delegation.
The 2016 event will be hosted by Ireland.