The Essex Women and Girls’ 1* Tournament was a big success, with almost 50 entries across three competitions.
Maliha Baig, Wanda Litynska-Sydorenko and Ewelina Sychta were the category winners, and a full report can be seen below.
Meanwhile, places at the Sussex Winter 1* event for women and girls next month are filling up quickly.
The tournament is at The Triangle Leisure Centre on November 5 and features under-21, over-21 and open competitions. Entries have already passed the 30 mark and there are spaces for up to 60. The closing date for entries is October 28.
The event is supported by the Level The Table campaign and is being delivered by Women & Girls Ambassador Sally Hughes, who will also be presenting a webinar on October 25 to highlight the success of women and girls-only events and how other tournament organisers can deliver them.
Click here for more information or to book a place on the webinar.
Both the Sussex and Chelmsford events built on the success of the first Sussex 1* for women and girls, held in July.
Chelmsford report, by David Gatheral (tournament organiser)
Twelve players entered the Under-21 tournament in the morning. The top seeds were Maliha Baig from Woodford Wells and Isabelle Lacourt from Hertfordshire.
The players played in two groups of six to decide the constitution of three band finals. Only Eva Eccles from Norfolk managed to take a game from Isabelle in group B and no-one could take a game from Maliha in group A, though Maisha Patel pushed hard and managed to take 10 points in one of their games.
Maisha had a frustrating morning: she took a game from second-placed Alesha, two games from third-placed Caitlin and pushed Berkshire’s Aairah Hussein to 11-13 twice, yet won no matches and was last in her group. However, 10-year-old Maisha has been added to the Essex Selection Committee’s watch-list.
The other 10-year-old in the competition vying for the U11 trophy was Adhuna Das from Rowhedge of Colchester, who had recently proven herself at the Essex Assessment Trials by coming third in the Cadet competition. She did well again, beating Chelmsford’s Emilie Guilloux, Hullbridge’s Lotte Mills and Tollgate’s Elise Ando.
In the top band of the competition, Eva looked like she might cause an upset when she inflicted Maliha’s first game loss of the day, but Maliha seemed to change up a gear to rescue the next game and then dominate in the final two ends (-8, 9, 3, 2).
Isabelle beat Chelmsford’s hard-hitting Alesha to reach the final, in which Maliha showed why she is England No 11 Junior Girl by overcoming Isabelle (England No 21 Junior Girl) in three straight sets.
We had 14 players in the Over-21 tournament with some pretty tasty seeds in former international player, Wanda Litynska-Sydorenko, top-40 English player, Sally Hughes, Maldon’s finest – Dawn Baldry, and Chelmsford’s highly skilled Nika Bozek, who was carrying an unfortunate wrist injury.
Added to these three stars it seemed almost every Essex senior woman had turned out to support the tournament – and we were delighted to have them.
We split the women into four groups which would channel into two bands of eight. Predictably, the four seeds made it through but Andrea Alleyne, Amanda Hogger, Chloe Andrews and Jackie Treacy all from Essex, joined them in the top band.
Wanda was on brilliant form all day and with the two coaches she had brought in tow dispensing timely advice, she defeated Andrea and Dawn in straight sets. Both her opponents had to take their hats off to her.
In the other half of the draw, all watched the semi-final between local girl Nika and Sussex’s Sally with bated breath. It was a fine match and Sally defeated Nika in four well fought sets (6, 9, -5, 9). Sally did great in the final and the match drew a crowd as Wanda took the £50 prize by winning 11-4, 12-10, 11-7.
The Open had 22 players in six groups of three or four players. The last player in each group would play in a round-robin group of six while the last 16 players battled it out in a knockout stage with consolation rounds. It’s fair to say we tired a lot of players out over the course of the day!
We had an additional entrant in the afternoon as Ewelina Sychta from Worcestershire joined us. Between her, Eva and Caitlin form Norfolk, and Sally and Aairah, we were grateful for the miles players had travelled to play.
Ewelina gave us an indication of her strength by overcoming Dawn, Caitlin and Alesha, only dropping a game to Alesha. This was the only game that any of the seeds dropped en-route to the winners’ positions in the knockout table.
The last 16 was decided briskly with Wanda, Dawn, Isabelle, Sally, Nika, Maliha, Caitlin and Ewelina all breezing to the quarter-finals. We lost Dawn to Wanda and Caitlin to Ewelina in the QFs, and Isabelle and Sally had a good match which Isabelle did great to win (-9, 4, 9, 6). Nika vs Maliha drew a crowd and Nika surprised onlookers with a display of calm domination her way to a semi-final spot.
That meant we had three of our four semi-finalists with strong Polish connections. Several of our keener women and girls were seen researching Polish TT training camps on their phones. Wanda eliminated Isabelle, the remaining Brit, in three games. Nika v Ewelina was a great match with two 12-10 matches and lashings of prowess – Ewelina proving only slightly the more competent.
So we were down to our final match between Wanda and Ewelina and we were not disappointed. Wanda was like a tiger battling for every point with pumping fists and cries of success. Ewelina remained cool and focussed throughout the games, clinically finishing points on both wings. The match went to five – Wanda seized the first with trademark deceptive serving paired with aggressive third ball attacks, Ewelina came right back in games two and three to frustrate Wanda.
Wanda powered herself to a second win and in the fifth and final game the women traded point for point until they changed ends and Ewelina pulled away with precise service returns, solid defence and pinpoint winners. Ewelina was our winner and took home the giant trophy and £100.
It was a great day. Thank you to everyone for coming.
We will aim to run another tournament in Essex in spring 2023.