The final day of the 2021-22 National Junior League at the London Academy saw the home team take first and second places in the top division.
Brighton Table Tennis Club’s A team secured the top slot in Division 2 ahead of London Academy C, while London Academy D came out on top in Division 3.
Day 4 also saw the introduction of London Academy’s first National Cadet League divisions with eight teams from the school competing across two divisions.
London Academy A secured the gold medal place in Division 1 with an almost perfect performance that saw them win 26 games out of 27. Their single loss on the day came when Noah Levens from Bedford Modern School B came from a set down to beat Shahuraj Nimse in the fifth set. Despite this single loss, Shahuraj and his team mates, Janak Shah and Fernando Frandes were in fine form throughout the day. Fernando was in an especially dominant mood, only dropping 2 sets in 9 matches. Their hardest challenge came from Bedford MS B. Apart from Noah Levens getting their single win, Daniel Jeffreyes and Andrei Savenko managed to take half of the matches to 5 sets.
London Academy B took 2 wins from 3 rounds to secure the silver medal position. Despite a bruising loss to London Academy A in the first round, the versatile team of Lianna Shilani Tousi, Nishil Shah, and Parsa Yamin rallied to take the next two rounds with convincing wins over both Bedford MS A and B. They clinched the second slot with a strong performance against Bedford’s top team, going 7-0 up before Ethan Calder and Alex Smith restored some pride for the visitors by winning their final two matches.
Third place went to Bedford MS A when George Whitley won the final match of their tie against their team mates from Bedford MS B, in the fifth set.
Brighton A have had some mixed results over the course of the season, but they ended day 4 on a high with Riyad Awada, Luke Rickett, and Spike Ward completing a clean sweep in Division 2.
Their hardest challenge was expected to be from a strong London Academy C squad. However, the Brighton trio scored early wins against Rishi Rasalingam, Harvey Cheung, and Devan Shah to establish a 3-0 lead that eventually proved decisive with the south coast team winning the tie 6-3.
London Academy C then had to climb a mountain to take the silver medals in their last match against close rivals, Twickenham Brunswick A. Luca Chan, Kushagra Verma, and Sihao Zhou stormed ahead in a brilliant early sequence which saw then go 4-1 up against their North London rivals.
However, the tide turned when Harvey Cheung defeated Sihao Zhou in the sixth match. From there on the London Academy team swept the board with Harvey clinching the medals in the fifth set of the final game.
That’s how competitive this season has been. A medal was won in the last game of the last match of the last round of the last day of the season. It could not have been closer.
Division 3 once again pitted Bedford against London Academy with the home team coming out on top. The result came down to a head-to-head between the teams. The tie was decided when Ilyes Djeraoui and Mauli Shah won the third and fourth games in tough 5-set matches against Vithush Sivaharan and Noah Burgess. Special mention should go to Mauli Shah, who came back from two sets down to win 13-11 in the fifth.
Bedford C in turn, held off a strong challenge from Brighton TTC C, in a hard-fought tie. Ryan Goodier and Genji Rao set the tone with a marathon 5 set first match that saw Genji coming from behind to win. Ryan bounced back to do the same in his next match, coming from 2-1 down to win in 5 sets against Genji’s team-mate, Noah Burgess. Ryan would also take part in the longest match of the day against Anghad Manglik, carving out a win in the final set despite losing 17-15 in the fourth.
A special mention should go to Jayden Matthews and Tadeea Aparaschivei, who lost a team mate early on and had to spend most of the day playing 2 versus 3.
National Cadet League
Day 4 also saw the debut of the NCL for this season. Eight teams from London Academy played across two divisions in the atrium hall.
Division 1 could have gone to any of the competing teams with only a single point separating first from last. However, Yacoub Rahmani, Inayah Zasella and Adam Mushtaq from London Academy D earned their place at the top of the leader board by beating Sean O’Connor, Assil Sarri and Mohammed Radhy from London Academy C, 7-2 in their second round match.
In Division 2 things came to a head in the final match between London Academy G and London Academy F. Both teams went into the final tie unbeaten and after six matches they were still level at 3-3. The title went to London Academy G when Leah Brown and then Serene Rahmani won the next two matches to take an unassailable 5-3 lead. Adam Raidi pulled one back for team F in the final 5-set match against Nicolas Larvic but it wasn’t enough to stop team G from taking first place.
It has been a good year and a successful return after the pandemic decimated the previous season. We would like to thank everyone who took part and hope you all return for the next season.