A ray of sporting sunshine on a sad weekend

Following the passing of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, it wasn’t certain that any of the weekend’s sporting events would go ahead.

However, following guidance from both the government and Table Tennis England, the decision was taken to continue with our 2 Star event on the 10th September.

The event was preceded by a respectful minute’s silence to mark the death of the nation’s sovereign.

The tournament was a success from both the sporting and organisational points of view.

Brett Holt has matured into the Tournament Organiser’s role, and Referee Ken Phillips’ calm presence and vast experience has been invaluable in our tournaments

We even had a flying visit from our old friend and mentor, the legendary Jon Kaufman.

The event involved one hundred and thirty five competitors, boys and girls, in four age groups.

Under 11 Girls

The Under 11 Girls division saw a dominant performance from Archway’s Hannah Saunders, who justified her top seeding by winning Group 1 and then cruising through the final stages without the loss of a single set. She capped this display with a strong victory in the final over Luton’s Violet-Lily Marquis.

London Academy was represented in the final stages by Assil Sarri, who came second in Group 1 only to lose a hard fought semi-final to Marquis.

Under 11 Boys

In the Under 11 Boys division, Li Hao Chen and Prithvi Menon upset the seedings to make their way to final.

The match was a nip-and-tuck affair which swung back and forth before Li Hao sealed victory in a tight 4th set, making it a clean sweep for Archway in the Under 11 section.

Both players had to beat the top seeds just to reach the final, with Chen beating Zaid Adilimi, and Menon beating Sinan Surensoy in the Semi-finals.

Under 13 Girls

A slightly reduced field in the U13 girls meant that a single group decided the winner.

Oxford’s Diane Chan, a newcomer to Spur Road, was the standout player on the day. She powered through the group only losing a single set throughout.

That one set was lost to eventual runner-up, Tadeea Aparaschivei. Tadeea secured second place with a strong win over third placed Chloe Kniep. London Academy’s Soraya Rahman-Walentynski put in a solid performance to come fourth.

Under 13 Boys

The Under 13 Boys competition proved popular with five groups contesting the initial stages. Colebridge’s Aarif Li had a relatively bad day at the office the last time he played at Spur Road. This time he was in a more unforgiving mood.

The final saw him pitted against the mercurial talents of Ryan Goodier, who won the first set. In the second, Aarif raised his game, and this proved to be decisive, coming from behind to win 11-9. Although the remaining sets were hard fought, Li’s slight extra power on both wings eventually told.

London Academy’s best showing on the day came from Nishil Shah, who won his group, followed by an excellent win in the Quarter Final against a determined Parsia Ashani, before losing in 3 sets to Aarif in the Semi Finals.

Under 15 Girls

The Under 15 Girls competition came down to a final between Greenhouse and Moberly, with Luna Archard and Lianna Tousi fighting for the honours.

After a slow start in the first set Luna fought back hard in the second and third. However, Lianna showed true grit and tactical nous, alongside her obvious skill to win in three sets.

Lianna secured her place in the final with a 4-set win over Luna’s Greenhouse team mate and top seed, Isabella Turner-Samuels. Luna won her Semi Final by beating the winner of Group 1, London Academy’s Alisha Dutta, in 3 sets .

Under 15 Boys

The Under 15 Boys contest provided the biggest field of the day. The final was a local affair, pitting London Academy team mates, Janak Shah and Fernando Frandes against each other.

Despite Janak’s top seeding, Fernando proved stronger on the day, winning in 4 sets. However, his best performance of the day was probably in the Semi Finals, where he overcame second seed, Urban TTC’s Samuel Gabriel in a tough and nervous 4 set match.

Janak had an even harder time in the Semi Finals, being taken all the way, before winning 12-10 in the fifth against Greenhouse’s Philip Snell.

Under 17 Girls

In the Girls Under 17 competition, a single group fought it out for the top spot. In the end top seed Rachel Iles took the gold from second placed Parmis Ashani.

The medals were decided in their excellent head to head to head match, when Rachel sealed first place with a narrow 5 set win.

Under 17 Boys

Our final competition of the day saw Ellenborough’s Max Gonpot beat his team mate Lucas Keys in a ferocious 5 setter. Max raced into an early 2 set lead before Lucas dug deep to even the tie. However, the top seed regrouped well to take the final set 11-4.

Max sealed his place in the Semi Finals with a solid win over Crawley’s Morgan Turner while Lucas won his Semi Final against Byng Hall’s Matthew Davies in straight sets.

London Academy’s best players on the day were Devin Shah and Ishay Haim, who both made it to the Quarter Finals. Ishay gave Max his biggest scare on the day, winning the first 2 sets against the eventual champion before going down in the 5th.