The English Leagues Cup Competitions Finals took place at Westfield Table Tennis Club, Wellingborough over two very full days with some first-class matches played in sweltering conditions on the hottest weekend of the year.

Saturday, June 17, saw the start of the competition with the senior events, the Wilmott Cup (Men) and J M Rose Bowl (Women). The Wilmott Cup was without the holders, Chester & Ellesmere Port, who were eliminated in the zonal rounds by arch rivals from Sheffield.

The J M Rose Bowl was being defended by Leicester but with other players and teams who had previously won the coveted trophy it was going to be a tight competition – and so it proved.

Wilmott Cup

Willmott Cup winners Nottingham

Group A

Wembley & Harrow were the top seeded team and started well with a 4-1 win over Scunthorpe with Mitchell Jones getting a maximum and Jeremy Banks winning one of his singles. Liam Rowson won Scunthorpe’s match. Norwich A also started well beating Sheffield 3-2 with Neil Charles winning both his singles and Tony Zeqiri one.

The second set of matches saw Sheffield’s pair of Stephen Horsfield and Jack Grant gain an unexpected 5-0 win against Wembley & Harrow whilst Norwich had their second win of the day, 4-1, against Scunthorpe.

Round three and Wembley & Harrow overcame Norwich 3-2 and Sheffield got the better of Scunthorpe 4-1, with Jan Baltazarovic getting the consolation singles for Scunthorpe. The countback saw Sheffield in first position, Norwich second, Wembley & Harrow third and Scunthorpe fourth.

Group B

Nottingham, Adam Jepson and David Arrowsmith, lived up to their number two seeding by winning all their matches in this group. The day started well for them with a 5-0 win over Watford. A much closer first match between the other two teams in this group resulted in Reading getting the 3-2 win over Bournemouth with Daniel Moses winning both his singles and Martin Gunn winning the deciding match. Bournemouth’s Nathan Bingham won a singles and with Finn Morgan-Bayliss the doubles.

Round two and Bournemouth again had a close encounter and just lost out to Nottingham in the fifth match with Morgan-Bayliss going down 11-8 in the fifth end against Arrowsmith. Bingham got the singles win for Bournemouth and another good performance in the doubles gave Bournemouth their second win in the match. Reading beat Watford for their second win with Vasile Spinul getting the one win for Watford.

The third round saw the two undefeated teams, Nottingham and Sheffield, meet and once again it was a close call which went all the way.  Jepson was on top form and won both his singles plus a win in the doubles meant Nottingham topped the group with Reading in second position. Bournemouth’s Morgan-Bayliss and Bingham gained their first win of the day against Watford’s Spinul and Carl Breindel, 5-0.

Positional Matches

The battle for the title and the trophy was on when Sheffield, many times finalists and champions, met Nottingham who last won the Wilmott Cup in 2007/08. Stephen Horsfield started well for Sheffield with a win over David Arrowsmith; however, that was their first and last result.

Adam Jepson won both his singles and Nottingham won the doubles. A well deserved win the team and Jepson remained undefeated throughout the day.

Norwich met Reading for the bronze medal match which Reading won 3-1. In fifth place were Wembley & Harrow with Mitchell Jones and Jeremy Banks  overcoming Bournemouth 4-1. Seventh place went to Scunthorpe’s Liam Rowson and Jan Baltazarovic courtesy of a 3-1 win over Watford.

Wilmott Cup runners-up Sheffield


Bronze medallists Reading

Final placings: 1 Nottingham, 2 Sheffield, 3 Reading, 4 Norwich, 5 Wembley & Harrow, 6 Bournemouth, 7 Scunthorpe, 8 Watford

J M Rose Bowl

J M Rose Bowl winners Warrington

Group A

Warrington set off well to justify their number one seeding position by beating Liverpool 4-1, Rachel Baker getting a maximum and with Annie Hudson secured the doubles. Clare Peers got the consolation match for Liverpool. It was a more closely run contest in the other match in Group A with Leicester defeating Guildford 3-2, Karen Smith winning both her singles matches.

Leicester faced Liverpool for their second match and came out on top 4-1 with Smith again winning her singles matches and Shirley Pickering picking up her first singles win in a close match against Liverpool’s Susie Hughes. Guildford got the better of Warrington, 3-2, in this round, Sarah Horsnell winning both her singles and with Danielle Kelly won the crucial doubles match. Zoe Cheesman and Rachel Baker won one apiece for Warrington.

There was all to play for in the last set of group matches. Liverpool took on Guildford and went down in a close 3-2 contest, Peers got Liverpool’s two singles. Kelly and Horsnell won one each and also won the doubles. Warrington faced Leicester and again a very close match saw them just edge the Leicester ladies 3-2. Smith for Leicester kept up her impeccable record in the singles and Baker with Hudson won Warrington’s two singles. The crucial doubles match went Warrington’s way thanks to Baker and Cheesman.

A three-way countback between Warrington, Leicester and Guildford with the scores all showing 5-5 meant going back one step further to decide placings. This showed Warrington heading the group by virtue of winning 20 games and losing 17, Leicester were second, 18-17, and Guildford were the unlucky third placed team, 18-22. Liverpool finished in fourth position despite some close matches.

Group B

This group consisted of three teams with Central London being the top seed. Hastings and Cambridge were the other participants. First off were Hastings versus Cambridge and the south coast team of Rose Rainton and Sheila King were the 4-1 victors. Carrie Cope won the consolation match for Cambridge although Cambridge’s Helen Arnold took both Rose and Sheila to four.

Cambridge now faced Central London but Silvia Trenti and Gosia Muda proved too strong to win 4-1. Anna Bridge of Cambridge won their singles match.

The final match between Central London and Hastings was the decider to see who would play for the championship in the crossover matches. Central London started well with a win apiece from Trenti and Muda. In a very tight doubles match which went to five, King and Rainton, saw the start of their claw back and reduced the overall match deficit. Sheila and then Rose won their second singles to put Hastings top of Group B.

Positional Matches

The Gold Medal and Championship match was between Warrington and Hastings. Hastings started well with Rose Rainton’s powerful play proving too strong for Zoe Cheesman. The second match saw Warrington level with Rachel Baker defeating Sheila King. Rachel with Annie Hudson then won the doubles to put them in the lead. The fourth match was won by Zoe Cheesman to give Warrington the title.

Warrington ladies were delighted to receive the trophy, the first time that Warrington League has won any title in this competition but a third win for Cheesman who has been a winner twice previously with Leeds.

Leicester and Central London contested the bronze medal. Karen Smith of Leicester proving the deciding factor by once again winning her two singles matches make it a full complement for the day. With Shirley Pickering the Leicester ladies won the doubles making the score 3-1 in Leicester’s favour. Silvia Trenti got the win for Central London. Guildford finished in fifth place with a 3-1 win against Cambridge, Danielle Kelly getting her two singles and Sarah Horsnell one. Cambridge’s duo of Anna Bridge and Carrie Cope won the doubles. Liverpool finished in seventh place.

Silver medallists Hastings
Bronze medallists Leicester & District

Final placings: 1 Warrington, 2 Hastings, 3 Leicester, 4 Central London, 5 Guildford, 6 Cambridge, 7 Liverpool

Carter Cup

Group A

The top seeds and title holders in Group A, Crawley & Horsham, had a comfortable 5-0 first round match against Leamington Spa. Liverpool overcame Watford 4-1 in the other match in this group with Rhys Davies getting a maximum.

Round Two saw Crawley & Horsham’s Josh Bennett and George Hazell have their second 5-0 win, this time against Watford whilst Liverpool had a similar scoreline against Leamington Spa although Jack Green for Leamington Spa had two very close matches but lost both of them in five. Harry Watson and Davies were Liverpool’s team.

In the final set of group matches the two unbeaten teams faced each other. Crawley & Horsham got a 4-1 win with Davies beating Hazell in five in the last game. The two teams without a win also faced each other which resulted in Watford getting their first win, 4-1, courtesy of Sammy Kaye and Carl Breindel with Sammy winning his two singles. Sam Cafearo won Leamington Spa’s match.

Group B

Wembley & Harrow B, the second seeds, set off with a good 5-0 win against Keighley. Leicester were the winners in the other match in this group with a 3-2 win against Wembley & Harrow A.

Leicester continued their winning ways in Round two with a 5-0 win against Keighley, Jack Rogers and Adam Pettitt winning both their singles and their doubles matches. An interesting situation occurred from the zonal rounds which meant that Wembley & Harrow A and B were in the same group for the finals and this was the next match on court. The B team came out on top with a 4-1 win with Eren Gozcu overcoming Israel Awolaja 13-11 in the fifth end of an excellent match.

The two unbeaten teams met in the final group round, Wembley & Harrow B v Leicester. The London team had a good 5-0 win from Awolaja and Gaurav Aravind to put them in pole position in the group with Leicester second. Wembley & Harrow A faced Keighley and Keighley’s pair, Nathan Ward and James Gresswell, put up a spirited fight with both of them winning a match but Wembley & Harrow’s duo of Gozcu and Luke Shelbourn-Frost won the doubles to make it 3-2 for their team.

Positional Matches

The two undefeated teams from both groups were now playing for the title. Crawley & Horsham, the title holders, started well with Josh Bennett winning against Gaurav Aravind. Israel Awolaja levelled the score against George Hazell. Crawley & Horsham went in the lead with their doubles win and then Bennett finished it off in style to make it 3-1 for the Sussex team to retain the trophy.

Liverpool met Leicester in the bronze medal match which Liverpool won 3-0 to the delight of Harry Watson and Rhys Davies. The battle for fifth and sixth places started well for Wembley & Harrow A with a win each for Eren Gozcu and Murhad Hussain. This was followed by Watford’s pair, Sammy Kaye and Carl Breindel winning the doubles. Gozcu went on to take his second singles. Sammy Kaye pulled one back for Watford to finish with a 3-2 win for Wembley & Harrow A. Leamington Spa’s juniors, Sam Cafearo and Jack Green, finished in seventh place with a 3-0 victory and Keighley were eighth.

Silver Medallists Wembley & Harrow B
Bronze medallists Liverpool

Final placings: 1 Crawley & Horsham, 2 Wembley & Harrow B, 3 Liverpool, 4 Leicester, 5 Wembley & Harrow A, 6 Watford, 7 Leamington Spa, 8 Keighley

Bromfield Trophy

There were two groups of three teams in this event with the title holders, Crawley & Horsham, the number one seeds and Hull, last year’s silver medallists at number two.

Group A

The day started with North Herts versus Guildford, a match where the result was not decided until the last match. Danielle Kelly for Guildford got her team off to a good start with a close contest against North Herts Charlotte Marsden. North Herts evened it with Ilyssa Lacorte beating Estelle Kelly. The North Herts team drew ahead winning the doubles only for Guildford to bounce back with Danielle’s second singles win. Charlotte Marsden’s win in the fifth match gave North Herts the victory.

Round two and Guildford now faced Crawley & Horsham’s Kate Cheer and Alice Hazell. The latter team won 4-1 with Kate winning both her singles and Danielle Kelly got the win for Guildford.

The two undefeated teams now met and the matches were all close with two of them going to five and the other three to four. However, Cheer got another maximum and with Hazell won the doubles. Marsden and Lacorte each won a singles. Final score 3-2 to Crawley & Horsham.

Group B

Number two seeds, Hull, started their campaign well by beating Leamington Spa 4-1 with Jasmin Wong winning her two singles for Hull. Olivia Fletcher pulled one back for Leamington Spa.

The second round and Cambridge got the better of Leamington Spa with the same 4-1 scoreline. Charlotte Boston got two for Cambridge and Georgina Lister a third singles. Leamington Spa’s Fletcher again won one of her singles matches.

4-1 seemed to be a popular score in this group as Hull beat Cambridge by this margin in the next match. Zoe Hewitt and Wong won both their singles whilst Cambridge’s Boston and Lister won a tense doubles.

Positional Matches

Title holders, Crawley & Horsham, met Hull for the second year running for the trophy. Kate Cheer started well with a win for Crawley & Horsham. Jasmin Wong then levelled the score. The Crawley & Horsham team went ahead after winning the doubles. Wong once again levelled the score this time against Cheer. The final match and Alice Hazell held her nerve to ensure her team once again held the Bromfield Trophy aloft.

A close match which meant Crawley & Horsham had achieved the double double in the two junior events. However, Hull must be proud of the way they played to make it such a close match.

North Herts met Cambridge for the bronze medal match. Once again the matches were close. North Hert’s Charlotte Marsden got her team off to a good start and then Georgina Lister of Cambridge put the teams on an even footing. The doubles proved critical as North Herts pair, Ilyssa Lacorte and Marsden, won this match in four ends. Ilyssa then went on to win the next match to claim the bronze medal with Cambridge in fourth position.

The fifth and sixth placed teams were Leamington Spa and Guildford respectively. Jenny Singleton for Leamington Spa won one for Leamington Spa and Olivia Fletcher the other singles for her team. The crunch match was the doubles which Leamington’s duo won 15-13 in the fourth end and this win placed them in fifth position.

Runners-up Hull
Bronze medallists North Herts

Final placings: 1 Crawley & Horsham, 2 Hull, 3 North Herts, 4 Cambridge, 5 Leamington Spa, 6 Guildford

My thanks, as always, goes to all who make the finals of the ELCC run so smoothly. Richard Hudson, my Deputy Referee, assisted by his wife, Brenda, to all our umpires who dealt with the extreme weather conditions in their usual cool style.

We were fortunate this year to have Mike Rhodes act as our photographer, some excellent pictures which you can see on Flickr by clicking here.

A big thank to Westfield Table Tennis Club who have made us so welcome over the last seven years.  The venue is perfect for this competition and Kevin Bird and all at Westfield have been so friendly and helpful. It has been a pleasure always to come to Wellingborough.

Diane Webb is presented with a memento of her 10 years’ service as ELCC Chairman by Mike Smith, Table Tennis England Board member

It is my 10th and final year of being involved in the English Leagues Cup Competitions. Mike Smith and the late Keith Ponting were instrumental in ensuring the competition continued when 11 years ago there was some doubt. Mick Strode was my original mentor who had run the competition for many years before me, I learnt so much from him.

Finally, thank you to all Local Leagues who have supported the competition since its inception in 1935 when the first Wilmott Cup was played for. This is your competition and one which I sincerely hope will continue for many years into the future.