The ninth running of the prestigious Cippenham Junior 4-star Open Championships took place over the weekend and proved to be a very successful tournament for one of the host club’s players in particular.

This flagship event of the Cippenham calendar was played over two days with cadet (under-15) events on Saturday and junior (under-19) events on Sunday, utilising nine tables with more than 150 players participating.

The best performance by a home player came in the junior girls’ event when Mia Lakhani, unseeded, made it all the way to the final.

Lakhani’s exploits began in the preliminary round group stage where she unseated fourth seed, England ranked No 9, Saskia Key 3-1. That win placed Lakhani in one of the spaces in the knockout rounds reserved for seeded players and, after a first-round bye, she had little trouble in getting the better of Alyssa Nguyen 3-0.

Fifth seed Isabelle Lacorte was Lakhani’s opponent in the quarter-final and this was a tougher match, ultimately won by the young Cippenham star 11-6 in the fifth and deciding game.

The semi-final was similar with Lakhani utilising her fast attacking play to recover from two games to one down to beat the second seed, England ranked No 3, Scarlett Anders, 11-7 in the fifth. However, Tianer Yu, the England No 1, was far too consistent in the final and ran out a worthy winner 3-0.

Yu’s run to the final had been sublime, losing only one game throughout, to third seed Maliha Baig, in the semi-final. Before that, the talented girl from London’s Fusion club had beaten Julia Tokova and Hing Tong Gene Lam both three-straight. The other quarter-finalists in the junior girls’ event were both from Wales, Darcey Taylor and Lowri Hurd.

The other two Cippenham players in the event were less fortunate. Anna Piercey, having finished second in her preliminary round group and then winning a close first-round match, came up against second seed Scarlett Anders in round two. Rachael Iles won her preliminary group but then faltered against Darcey Taylor in the second round after a first-round bye.

Junior Girls finalists Mia Lakhani and Tianer Yu

The junior boys’ event was heavily over-subscribed with many players having their entries returned as a consequence. Many of the top England-ranked players were missing but that did not detract from the spectacle of some superb table tennis being played.

The final turned out to be contested by the same two players as in the same event in 2022, but this time with a different result.

Apart from the final, the event ran largely according to the seedings with the top four seeds all reaching the semi-finals. At that stage, top seed Joseph Hunter defeated third seed Krish Chotai 3-1 while second seed Isaac Kingham had an easier passage against fourth seed Gabriel Schogger.

Kingham won the first two games of the final only for Hunter to pull back to 2-2. Kingham was not to be denied, however, and won the fifth game 11-7 to reverse his defeat at the same stage last year and secure the title.

At the quarter-final stage, Hunter had beaten the previous day’s winner of the cadet event. Max Radiven, Chotai ended the hopes of Fred Jones, Schogger defeated Francesco Bonato while Kingham’s passage into the semi-final was at the expense of Kingfisher’s Harry Randall.

Of the local players, only William Saint and Jamie Woodford progressed into the main event from the preliminary group. Saint then won a very close encounter against Michael Tilsley but was then no match for the seeded Gabriel Schogger, while Woodford’s downfall came in the first knock-out round against Shing Him Yuen.

Junior Boys finalists Isaac Kingham and Joseph Hunter

Unlike in the junior boys’ event the following day, only three of the four top seed players made it through to the semi-finals of the cadet boys’ event. The exception was fourth seed Prayrit Ahluwalia who succumbed to 12th seed Parsa Yamin one round earlier.

Yamin then gave top seed Max Radiven a scare in the semi-final going 2-1 up before ultimately losing, while the other semi-final was fought out between second seed Aaraf Li and third seed Leo Nguyen. Li progressed to the final courtesy of a narrow 13-11 fifth-game win over Nguyen but the final was more one-sided as Radiven deservedly triumphed 3-0.

The other quarter-finalists were Hugo Nguyen, who lost to Radiven over five games, Angad Saggu, beaten easily by Leo Nguyen, and Parsia Ahsani who lost to Li 3-1.

Cippenham’s only representatives were the Prasanna Kumar brothers, Bharath and nine-year-old Sai. Both progressed from their groups but fell at the first knockout round.

Cadet Boys finalists Aarif Li and Max Radiven

In the cadet girls’ event, all eight seeds made it out of their preliminary round groups but for two of them, fourth seed Alyssa Nguyen and sixth seed Mauli Shah, it was a case of second best as both suffered one defeat at this stage.

Shah was forced into second place by Chuanyu Cheng while Nguyen beat group winner Nour Alamine but, having lost to Kei Yin Ng, found herself placed second on countback after all three girls had won one and lost one. Ng later went on to win the consolation event.

Cheng’s run did not last much longer as, after a first round bye, she was beaten by Chi Yin Pang in round two and Alamine suffered a similar fate at the same stage against Sum Monica Chang. Chang then beat Pang in the quarter-finals.

At that stage, top seed Sienna Jetha beat Isabella Turner-Samuels, displaced sixth seed Mauli Shah, who had eliminated second seed Ching Sum Pang the round before, lost out to seventh seed Bly Twomey, and third seed Eva Eccles beat Alyssa Nguyen.

England No 4 Eccles won the best of the semi-finals, needing five games to get the better of Twomey, while Jetha had it easier with a 3-0 win over Chang. Top seed and England No 1 Sienna Jetha then disposed of Eccles 3-0 in the final although the third game went to a few deuces after two easier games.

Cadet Girls finalists Sienna Jetha and Kei Yin Ng

In the plate competitions, the medals went to:

Junior Boys – winner Kelvin Adeleke; runner-up Etman D’Abreu
Junior Girls – winner Chui-Que Wong; runner-up Isabella Turner-Samuels
Cadet Boys – winner James Darbyshire; runner-up Ryan Sehdev
Cadet Girls – winner Kei Yin Ng; runner-up Mia Chan

To view nearly 1,000 photos from the event, please visit the Cippenham Table Tennis Club Flickr site.