The Butterfly Schools Individual champions were crowned at a busy day in Wolverhampton as the biggest one-day table tennis tournament returned for the first time since 2019.
With almost 300 players in action in boys’ and girls’ competitions at under-11, under-13, under-16 and under-19 levels, the medallists really had to earn their places on the podium.
Photos by Alan Man – see our Flickr page for action photos from the day.
Scroll to the bottom of the page for full results from the knockout stage.
Catherine Lv took the title home to Leicestershire, defeating top seed Alyssa Nguyen 3-1 (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8) in the final.
The bronze medallists were Hannah Saunders and Aeyva Fayaz. Saunders led the eventual champion 2-0 in the semi-finals before Lv came back to win 3-2 (2-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8). Fayaz was defeated 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-5) by Nguyen.
Lv, aged 11, said: “It’s really overwhelming and I’m overjoyed. I was just hoping to get in the top 10.
“The semi-final was tough because I was 2-0 down but I was telling myself I just needed one more point and I kept on saying that.”
There was a remarkable match in the first knockout round, as Riley Jannese defeated Chloe Kniep 3-2 (9-11, 4-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-8). Jennese was knocked out by Saunders in the quarter-finals.
Hertfordshire’s Pablo Ramirez-Rioja won a brilliant final against Aarif Li 11-9 in the fifth to take the title as second seed beat top seed.
The victory had to come from 2-1 down in a high-quality match, winning 3-2 (11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9).
The two bronze medallists were Theo Kniep, who was defeated 3-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5) by Li, and Callum Pace, who lost 3-1 (13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7) to Ramirez-Rioja.
The champion also had a tight match in the quarter-finals, defeating Lewis Wu 3-2 (11-6, 11-13, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10).
Ramirez-Rioja, aged 10, said: “It feels good. When the other person misses, a feeling of joy spreads over you and you’re glad and relieved.
“At the start, I felt I definitely had the potential to win but I knew it would be difficult because there are many good players, especially Callum in the semis – and the final was really tough.
“It was a long day but worth it.”
Sienna Jetha added to her collection of titles as she prevailed in a tight match against Ella Pashley.
Jetha, from Hertfordshire, came out on top 3-1 (11-9, 15-13, 6-11, 11-9), with the aid of an edge on match point.
The champion said: “It feels really good. I played this competition a few years ago and won it, so it’s nice to win again and this time representing London Academy.
“I’d like to thank everyone in my club and all my family and friends and coaches who have supported me.
“It was a pretty hard day and it got harder towards the end, the semi-final and final were the hardest matches and I lucky at the end with that edge.”
The bronze medallists were Naomi Coker, who was beaten 3-1 (8-11, 15-13, 11-6, 11-4) by Pashley, and King Tung Gene Lam, who lost 3-1 (1-5, 11-13, 11-7, 12-10) by Jetha.
An eye-catching result in the first round saw Mia Chan recover from 2-0 down to defeat Evie Knaapen 3-2 (5-11, 2-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-5).
Second seed Abraham Sellado defeated third seed Max Radiven 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-6) to win the title, with bronze medals going to Vel Rumkumar and Rex Wong.
Sellado, from West Yorkshire, who recently became the youngest men’s champion in the history of the Halifax League, dropped only one set in the competition.
He said: “It’s great, I worked hard all year so it feels good my efforts have paid off.”
“I used the Halifax tournament for experience and it helped me in the pressure moments in this tournament.”
Bronze medallist Wong, from Warwickshire, had caused an upset in the quarter-finals as he beat top seed Kacper Piwowar in four. Piwowar saved a match point in the third, which he won 12-10 to reduce the overall match score, but he had no answer in the fourth as Wong completed a 3-1 (14-12, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5) victory.
Wong was defeated in the semi-finals by North London’s Radiven, who won 3-1 (11-7, 6-11, 11-3, 11-4) and Radiven said: “I felt I used my tactics and was really in control of the game.”
Of his overall silver, he added: “It was better than I expected. I’ve trained really hard and was hoping to go far, but on the day I didn’t know if I could. But I fought through when I was losing and it paid off.”
The other semi-final saw Sellado defeat Rumkumar 3-0 (11-3, 11-2, 11-6).
Tianer Yu saved two match points in the final as she came from 2-0 down to defeat Megan Jones as the top two seeds met in the final.
It was a superb match – arguably the best of the day – as Jones edged the first two games before Yu’s comeback, aided by an edge which saved the first match point.
The final score was 3-2 (7-11, 12-14, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6) to the City of London School for Girls pupil, who said: “I’m glad I won because I was under quite a lot of pressure being the first seed and the opponents are strong.
“It’s my first time at this competition because it was cancelled in 2020.
“At match point down, I didn’t really say anything to myself, I literally just played the point. I didn’t expect the edge to go on, that was so lucky.”
The bronze medallists were Evelyn Pace and Bethany Ellis – Pace was beaten 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-6) by Yu and Ellis 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-6) by Jones.
Pace overcame Jyothi Ghanta in the quarter-finals, her opponent having won the tightest of first-round matches against Isabelle Lacorte 3-2 (8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 12-14, 12-10).
Jakub Piwowar lived up to his top seeding as he defeated sixth seed Jake Haygarth 3-0 (12-10, 11-9, 11-3) in the final.
The champion said: “It feels good. I knew there were a couple of good players who could beat me or take me close, so I was a bit nervous.
“I played the right way the whole day and the result of that was winning. I’m really pleased to win for the school (Torquay Academy) because they give me a lot of support.”
Piwowar did not drop a set in the knockout stage, including a semi-final in which he saw off Krish ChotaI 8, 6, 11. The other bronze medallist was Ralph Pattison, beaten 3-2 (11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8) by Haygarth.
That was just one of a clutch of five-setters in the bottom half of the draw, including Haygarth’s 3-2 (11-4, 10-12, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6) victory over second seed Ollie Maric-Murray in the quarter-finals, the same stage at which third seed Pattison beat Harry Yip 3-2 (11-7, 13-15, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7). Yip and Maric-Murray had both won five-setters in the last 16.
Top seed Mari Baldwin staved off a fightback by third seed Erin Green to take the title 3-1 (11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 15-13).
Bronze medals went to Anaya Patel, who was defeated in a brilliant semi-final by Green – who won 3-2 (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 16-18, 11-8) having seen several match points go by the board in the fourth – and Abbie Hurley, who was beaten 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-4) by Baldwin.
Green had to dig deep in the first round as well to see off Kirsty Maull 3-2 (11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10). At the same stage, Hurley came from behind to triumph over Rebecca Savage 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Champion Baldwin said: “It feels really good because my first title was at under-13 and it’s nice to win the under-19s in my last year.
“I’ve never won an event when I’ve been the top seed, so there was that worry, but I was able to fulfil that place.”
Josh Weatherby claimed gold with victory over Naphong Boonyaprapa as third seed beat top seed in the final.
It was a 3-1 (11-7, 6-11, 11-2, 11-8) margin for the Tyne & Wear athlete, completed by a brilliant, fizzing cross-court backhand.
Weatherby said: “It feels good, it’s my last year so it’s good to win it. It’s up there with my biggest achievements – it’s a really big tournament and I’ve been runner-up a couple of times but never won it before.
“I think I had a good chance at the start of the day. All the seeds had a good chance and it was about who performed on the day. I think I played well and managed to come out on top. The winning shot was a reaction shot that paid off.”
The two semi-finals both went to deciding games. Tom Rayner was beaten by Boonyaprapa, the Notts player winning 3-2 (11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9), while Weatherby overcame Rhys Davies 3-2 (7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5).