London Academy Girls are a Triple Threat at the JBL

Three teams and three titles. It could not have gone better for the ladies of London Academy on the final weekend of the Junior British League at the Derby Arena.

The Junior British League is one of the highlights of the UK’s table tennis calendar. The very best Under-19 teams from England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland gathered in the midlands to fight for the title of the best junior teams & clubs in Britain.

London Academy took 5 teams to the final weekend of the season on the 17 & 18th of February. All three of the girls teams and our top boys team were in contention for medals. That said, London Academy are never satisfied with second best so bringing back Gold was the focus.

In the Girls Premier division London Academy, led by Sienna Jetha, had spent every round neck and neck with local powerhouse Grantham College. Going into the final weekend, both clubs had managed 4 wins and a draw. The draw coming when they went head to head. Set to face each in other in the last of the season’s 10 rounds, both teams exerted relentless pressure on each other by continuing to win against every other team. In the end it was Grantham who blinked first. They dropped a crucial point by drawing with Middlesborough’s Ormesby, a team that London Academy had routed 6-0.

This mean that London Academy found themselves facing Grantham for the title, needing only a draw to win.

And that is exactly what they managed after just 4 games, going 3-1 up to seal the title and confirming London Academy as the best junior girls team in the United Kingdom.

But our Edgware ladies are all about strength in depth. In Division 1 the London Academy second team were also in a two way struggle against Grantham’s second team.

In a mirror image of the Premier division, London Academy once again faced Grantham in the last match of the day. Once again they only need a point to take the title. But this time they took the tie 4-2 to win in style.

In Division 4 it was our youngest players who took up the challenge, often competing against much older and more experienced competitors. Yet it was the trio of Soraya Rahmani-Walentynska, Assil Sarri, and Chi Yin Pang who took on the lion’s share of responsibility and matches, while coached and mentored by their more experienced team mates, Mauli Shah and Alisha Dutta.

Over the weekend the five girls they won all of their ties to finish a massive 6 points ahead of Brighton TTC in second place.

Not to be outdone, our boys first team took the 3rd division title to make it it 4 wins on the weekend for London Academy.

Like the top two girls teams, Fernando Frandes, Shauraj Nimse and Parsa Yamin went into their final match needing a draw against Mid Ulster to secure the title. This fixture went down to the very last match, with the their Northern Irish opponents leading by 3 games to 2. Fernando and Shahu had already won one game each. If Parsa could match that then the London Boys would take the title.

If Parsa was feeling nervous he didn’t show it, demolishing Aedan McGivern in straight sets to ensure that the title would be going south to the capital.

The level of success that London Academy has achieved in this year’s Junior British league has been phenomenal. 1 in every 3 gold medals this year were won by the girls and boys from North London. No other club’s juniors have come close to this level of success in 2024.