Butterfly Schools’ Individual Championships
22nd April 2012
Doncaster Dome was packed with people for the English Schools’ Table Tennis Association Butterfly Individual Championships.
With almost 300 players taking part from all areas of the country, there was a staggering 750 matches played in just one day. With all the players attempting to become a national champion, we were bound to see some fantastic action.
In the Under 11 Girls event Denise Payet of London North improved on her third place last year to take gold. Last years runner up, Kate Cheer (West Sussex), came close once more as she lost 3-1 in the final to Denise. In the semi-final Kate had to see off Bella Payn (Devon) while Denise had to squeeze past Bhavika Mistry (Northamptonshire) in four games. Denise had a tight squeeze in the quarter-finals needing deuce twice to beatTiana Dennison in the quarter-final.
Matthew Daish of Hampshire took his first Butterfly Individual Schools’ Championship title in a hotly contested battle with James Smith (London South) in the Under 11 Boys event. Matthew did things the hard way and had to come back from 2-1 behind after losing the second set 11-0. But come back he did, showing great nerve to see off match points and take the final two sets 15-13 and 12-10.
The final isn’t the only time Matthew was tested. He also came from 2-1 behind in the quarter-final to beat Amir Hussain (Greater Manchester). Progress through the semi-final was easier but still no cruise against Joey Chen (Shropshire). Runner-up James made his progress to the final look relatively easy as he beat quarter-finalist Joseph Saxton (South Yorkshire) 3-0 and Tom McIntosh (Nottinghamshire) also 3-0 in the semi-final.
Hiba Feredj representing London North added her name to the list of Butterfly Schools’ Individual champions in an impressive 3-0 win against top seeded Letitia McMullen (Hampshire). On her way to the title Hiba had to come from behind to beat Imogen Barber (Humberside) 3-2 and reach the semi-final where she beat Amy Hutchings (Merseyside).
In the other half of the draw Letitia McMullen was making serene progress. She came through her both her quarter and semi-final 3-0 beating Robyn Cosgrove and Jayden Budworth respectively.
The lone defending title holder today, Marcus Giles (London South) looked set to be tested all day if he was to hold on to his national Under 13 Boys title. He beat Rob Barker (Merseyside) in the quarter-final, then in a tremendously close 3-1 match beat Tom Jarvis 3-1.
His final opponent was Luke Saville (Kent) after he defeated Daniel McTiernan in another close 3-1 game, Daniel’s second consecutive third place finish. Final saw the boys trade four closely balanced set to be level at 2-2 before Marcus broke the run, won two sets in a row to seal the title for a second time.
The Under 16 Girls event was full of surprises. Top ranked Emma Torkington (Kent) lost out at the quarter-final stage to London East’s Harriet Taylor. Joining Harriet in the semi-final was Emily Bolton from Cumbria. Unfortunatly for Harriet she couldn’t maintain her run and lost out to Emily who took her place in the final.
Isobel Ashley (Derbyshire) had to overcome Nicole Finn (West Yorkshire) in another close three set game. Joining the number two seed in the semi-final was surprise package Yuki Wat (East Sussex) after she beat Lois Peake (West Sussex) 3-0. Yuki continued her run to final as she edged past Isobel to lineup along side Emily in the final.
It was Emily who set the early pace to lead 2-1 until Yuki sent the match to a decider. For a game that had been so close it seemed inevitable that the last set would end up in deuce. After match points falling by the wayside for either player it was Emily who came out on top as she recorded a 14-12 win in the final set.
The Under 16 Boys final was one of the best matches of the day as Liam McTiernan (Berkshire) took on Adam Harrison (Lincolnshire). The boys’ paths to the final couldn’t have looked too much different.
Adam’s draw led him to beat Luke Walsh (Herefordshire), Bradley Wood (South Yorkshire) and Daniel Barna (West Sussex) all 3-0. In contrast Liam needed four sets to win all of his games as he beat Tyrone Wells (London West), Joseph Langham-Ferreira (London Central) and Miles Chan (Northamptonshire).
The final saw some long rallies and great shots in the final match of the day despite having played a number of games. In the end it was Liam McTiernan who took the win, winning of course by his now favourite score 3-1.
Abbie Milwain (Derbyshire) was another player to improve on her finish from last year in the Under 19 Girls. She moved from third to champion after beating Chloe Whyte (Cleveland) in a closely contested 4 set final.
Neither player had dropped a set on their route through the knockout stages. Abbie had a close three game encounter with Amy Huphreys and Chelsea Furnival. While Chloe Whyte was tested by Naomi Jackson going to deuce twice in their three games, before also accounting for Evie Collier’s challenge.
Vinal Patel from West Sussex sprung probably the surprise of the day as he took out top seed Bradley Tuttle (Herefordshire) to make the semi-final of the Under 19 Boys event. Vindal’s run was stopped at the next hurdle however as Michael Ho (London South) beat him 3-0 to book himself a berth in the final.
Matt Outhwaite had a huge fight with Ashley Facey-Thompson in the quarter-final, surviving 14-12 in the fifth set. In the semi-final he faced Danny Lawrence. Danny was faster out the block racing into a 2-0 lead, before taking the match 3-1.
The final was another tight affair, with no player managing to take two sets in a row. But it was Michael Ho who managed to reach three sets while Danny trailed on two. This meant another new Butterfly Schools’ Individual champion was crowned.
Next up in the Schools’ sport calendar in the School Games from the Olympic Table Tennis venue, The ExCeL Area, London on the 7th and 8th of May. For build up, live coverage and all the news from London, check back here soon.