In spite of the withdrawal a team – Glamorgan – from the Senior Premier Division, there was some very competitive table tennis of a very high standard.

It was also a credit to the counties involved that, where possible, their top players were selected.

Defending champions Sussex played only two matches, but were convincing winners of them both. It gives them a joint lead, with Berkshire, who also played just the two matches.

Two other county teams managed to gain a couple of wins, these being Middlesex and newly promoted Kent.

From the teams that had a full weekend of competition, only two players came away with a 100 per cent record, these being Sule Olaleye of Kent and Viktorija Stirbyte of Middlesex. Olaleye did not have an easy time of it though, as the dogged defensive play of David Barr (Berkshire) almost got the better of his controlled attack. Stirbyte was just too good for her opponents, though Sophie Neil (Nottinghamshire) almost grabbed a consolation game from her.

A win that Neil will be pleased about, was to take the scalp of Maria Tsaptsinos (Berkshire), who just a week earlier retained the National Junior Girls title in a thrilling match in Preston.

It all leaves four teams on four points after this first weekend, so the event looks to be heading to a thrilling climax at Wood Green Academy in Wednesbury.

That will take place, along with the Junior Premier Division, on March 7 and 8, 2015.

Can Sussex retain their title – and that of the Junior Premier division? Don’t rule it out, but it won’t be without some serious competition in those final matches, as there are some close contests yet to come.

Click here to view provisional results and averages (NB these are subject to validation).

Ken Elliot
December 4, 2014