London Academy strike Gold at the Jack Petchey Finals

It seems that London Academy never get tired of demonstrating their strength in depth, and Sunday’s Jack Petchey Schools Individuals finals.

London Academy were the only school to provide multiple winners, with Octavian Aparaschivei and Sienna Jetha taking gold in the Girls Under 13 and Boys Under 19 competitions.

But that wasn’t all. The North London powerhouse eventually provided 4 winners and three finalists over all competitions on the day. No other school came close to this level of sustained excellence.

Sienna Jetha might have been forgiven for feeling a bit drained, given her recent gruelling schedule. But if she was, it still proved too much for the rest of the field as she sliced through the competition to take first place. Even the highly talented Evie Knaapen could do little to stem the tide as Sienna powered to victory in the final in straight sets (11-9, 11-8, 11-2).

Sienna attributed her confidence to her recent international victory in Linz.

The U13 Girls Plate final was won by Tadeea Aparaschivei, whose greater spin and control defeated proved too much for Jazmen Belay, winning 3-1 (11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6).

In a marked contrast, Ocatavian Aparschievei seems to like doing things the hard way. The eventual U19 boys champion had to come from behind in his last two matches. The London Academy player seemed to have trouble finding his range in for a set and a half against Henry Maric-Murray in the semi-final, before moving up a gear to win (7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9).

The final saw Harry Buckle take a 2-1 lead with Octavian seeming out of sorts. However, the match changed completely at the beginning of the 4th, with Octavian taking the final two sets for a loss of only 4 points, winning the title with a 3-2 victory (6-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 11-3). “I started off quite badly but slowly got myself into it, I was more comfortable towards the end and happy to get the win.”

Soraya Walentynska had an excellent run in the U11 Girls competition where she only lost out on the top spot to Maahi Malde. Just to underline the wealth of talent at the Academy, Soraya had to overcome her team-mate and friend, Inayah Zasella, in the semi-final.

The Plate saw Ruby Bamidele make her way to final where she lost in 4 sets to Astrid Styrvoldt-Chaigneau (3-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8).

Hopes were high in the U13 boys where Parsa Yamin and Shahuraj Nimse both reached the semi-finals of the main competition. However Parsa lost a tight 4-set match to eventual champion Adam Alibhai (11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9).

Shahuraj came out on the wrong side of a highly competitive 5 setter against runner-up, Max Radiven (11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5).

In the U16 Girls competition London Academy notched another trophy when Alisha Dutta claimed the Plate victory, easily beating Jacqui Lesh 3-0 (11-4, 11-3, 11-2) in the final.

The under 16 boys saw Fernando Frandes make his way to the final of the Plate, where his excellent run finally came to an end against Joe Buscombe (11-6, 11-7, 11-6).