Triple English Schools’ Table Tennis Association champion Tom Jarvis (Lincolnshire) will be looking to add the Under-19 Boys’ title to his previous haul of Under-11 (2011), Under-13 (2013) and Under-16 (2014) titles at the Butterfly Schools Individual Championships on Saturday.
Looking to stop him achieving a ‘full house’ are last year’s medallists Jack Bennett (East Sussex), James Smith (London South), Shayan Siraj (West Yorkshire) together with Omar Khassal (London North) and Mitchell Jones (London West), who have both represented their school at the International School Sport Federation (ISF) World Schools’ Table Tennis Championships.
The girls’ senior event should prove to be a fascinating competition with top seeds Eva Wang (East Sussex) and Lois Peake (West Sussex) having to fight off two former Butterfly Schools’ Champions Emily Bolton (Lincolnshire) and Denise Payet (London North) to reach the final.
The Under-16 Boys’ is a much more open affair with many players hoping to win medals. Seeded players include Luke Savill (Kent), Alex Ramsden (Northamptonshire) and Alec Ward (Cleveland)
– all old hands at this event but still looking for their first championship victory, together with Hugo Pang (Dorset) and Harry Dai (Humber), both former Under-11 champions. With 48 players in the event, there could be several surprises.
The late withdrawal of Tin-Tin Ho (London East) through injury leaves the door wide open for many of the Under-16 Girls’ competitors. Kate Cheer (West Sussex), 2012 Under-13 champion Hiba Feredj (London North), Sophie Barlow (Cleveland) and Bhavika Mistry (Northamptonshire) – all medallists in 2014 – are looking to take the top spot.
Ethan Walsh (Hertfordshire) is looking to improve on his third-place medal in the 2014 Under-13 Boys’ event. He faces 47 other players, all hoping to become ‘top dog’. William Ibbitson (Humber), Samuel Chesterman (Cambridgeshire) and Tom McIntosh (Nottinghamshire) join Walsh as seeded players.
It is mostly in the Under-13 and Under-11 events that players new to the competition scene make their mark. This may not happen in the Under-13 Girls’ Championships with many familiar faces including all four medallists from last year’s Under 11 final – Amelia Chan (London North), Danielle Kelly (Surrey), Mollie Patterson (Norfolk) and Katie Holt (Dorset). Will this step-up from Under-11 to Under-13 be too big with top seeds Charlotte Bardsley (Worcestershire) and Gauri Duhan (Humber) proving this point and keeping the youngsters at bay?
Amirul Hussain (Greater Manchester), recently crowned individual champion at the Primary Schools’ International Championships, is joined by winning international team members Jamie Liu (Berkshire) and Joshua Weatherby (Tyne & Wear) as top seeds in the Under-11 Boys’ event. Will they beat all-comers, repeating their international performance?
Forty Under-11 Girls will be fighting to be crowned Butterfly Schools’ champion. Ruby Chan (North Yorkshire) and Scarlett O’Neil (Kent) are first and second seeds respectively in an event sure to be well supported by parents and friends, seeing many players taking part in a major event for the first time in their table tennis careers.
A record 336 players will take part in this annual event, to be staged for the first time at the Tipton Sports Academy, West Midlands.
Play in the Under-11/13 events start at 9am with finals early afternoon and Under-16/19 events commencing at approximately 1pm with finals early evening.
Results will be published at www.estta.org.uk. Table Tennis England will also be providing updates and reports from the event.
John Arnold MBE (president/development officer, ESTTA)
April 21, 2015