Ormesby and London Academy were the respective boys’ and girls’ Premier winners as the Junior British League titles were decided at Derby Arena and Nottingham TTC over the weekend.
Girls’ player of the week was Mia Lakhani (Cippenham), while the boys’ accolade went to Christian Hine of Crewe.
Team-wise, the girls’ team of the weekend was Ackworth and the boys’ award was won by Birmingham Table Tennis Academy.
Photos by Chris Rayner
Ormesby went into the weekend with a three-point lead in the boy’s Premier Division but in the end won the title by a solitary point from Grantham Academy, with Draycott another point back.
Ormesby lost their unbeaten record when Draycott beat them 4-2 in the opening round of the weekend – Draycott going on to win all five matches over the two days.
Ormesby won their other two Saturday matches 6-0, but then drew 3-3 against Ackworth on Sunday and ended with a 4-2 defeat to Grantham in the final round – a match which was poised at 2-2 when Grantham’s Adam Dennison defeated Ralph Pattison 13-11 in a decider and Toby Ellis then clinched victory for the Academy team by seeing off Jake Haygarth in four.
With Draycott starting from too far back, and Grantham also dropping a point to Ackworth and losing to Draycott, Ormesby just about had enough in hand to take the title.
Connor Green won all 10 matches for Draycott to spearhead their weekend two efforts. Tom Rayner of Ormesby was the best of the regulars, winning 15/18.
London Academy held off Wensum to win the girls’ Premier Division, but lost their unbeaten record in doing so.
The team from the capital led by two points going into the weekend and were sitting pretty after Saturday’s play after their two nearest rivals, Wensum and Grantham College, drew 3-3.
However, Wensum then defeated London in Round 9, winning 4-2 in a tussle which swung one way and the other. Sophie Barcsai put London in front with a five-game victory over Tianer Yu, but Wensum hit back to lead 3-1, including a five-game win for Mari Baldwin over Nora Dohoczki.
Barcsai gave London a chance of a draw by beating Saskia Key in four, but Baldwin’s victory over Sienna Jetha sealed it for Wensum.
Defending champions Wensum still needed a favour from Grantham to have a chance of hanging on to their title, but London put paid to that notion as they won 5-1 – though it was closer than it sounds with London winning all three matches which went to a decider.
Barcsai was London’s leading light, finishing top of the averages with 19 wins out of 20, while Baldwin was not far behind with 17 out of 18 for Wensum.
Woodford Wells were the runaway winners of Division One, five points clear of Ormesby.
The champions lost their 100% record in the first round, when they were held 3-3 by Wood Green, but they remained unbeaten – although they were also held by Ormesby in Round 8.
The champions unsurprisingly boasted the top two in the divisional averages as Mabel Shute won 18/20, two more than her team-mate Lizett Fazekas.
Ackworth, Cippenham and Greenhouse fought a three-way battle in Division Two, with all three teams losing twice over the course of the season.
The fact that Ackworth won all their other matches, while Cippenham drew once and Greenhouse twice, was what made the difference in the title race.
Greenhouse raised their hopes in Round 8 when they defeated Ackworth 5-1, but the 3-3 draw between Greenhouse and Cippenham in the following round opened the door again for Ackworth, and they pushed through it by beating Cippenham 5-1 in the final round.
Two players won 15/18 to top the averages – Darcey Taylor for Ackworth and Jonabel Taguibao for Greenhouse.
Ormeau II and South Croydon battled all the way in Division Three, Ormeau finally clinching it with a 4-2 win when the teams met in the final round.
Both had dropped points throughout the weekend and South Croydon could have won it by defeating Ormeau, but the Irish team took a 2-0 lead and never looked back.
Third-placed Bishop Auckland lost only once all competition, but no fewer than seven draws out of 10 meant they were not quite close enough to challenge the top two. They did, however, have the top player in the averages – Emily Flynn won 17 out of 19 matches.
Lillington were simply perfect as they won Division Four with a 100% record to head the table by seven points ahead of Drumchapel Glasgow.
They didn’t have things all their own way, with a few 4-2 scorelines, including when they faced Glasgow in the final round, though they did lead 2-0 and 4-1.
Lillington’s Esther Lam won all 14 of her matches while, of the players to play all 20, team-mate Alyssa Nguyen and Fusion’s Jyothi Ghanta both won 18.
Grantham Academy may have missed out in the Premier Division, but their second team took the plaudits in Division One, finishing a comfortable three points ahead of Mid Ulster.
They didn’t get off to a great start, losing their unbeaten record when going down 4-2 to Urban in the first round of matches.
They also drew 3-3 in the final round, against Mid Ulster, but by that stage the title was in the bag.
James Hamblett of Urban won all 10 matches on weekend two to top the averages, while of those who played both weekends, Grantham’s Harri Docherty led the way with 14/16.
There were more celebrations for Grantham in Division Two as their third team won the title. They had gone into the weekend only ahead of Nailsworth Phoenix on sets difference, but Phoenix’s form collapsed and they did not win all weekend, not helped by injury in their ranks.
Britannia became the nearest challengers, and they defeated Grantham 5-1 in the penultimate round, but Grantham sealed the title with a final-round win over Phoenix, while Britannia were held 3-3 by Fusion II, who from 3-1 down to deny their rivals a win which would have seen the title come down to sets difference.
Frederic Wilke of Fusion won 9/10, while Isaac Kingham of Britannia was the pick of the regulars, winning 13/15 across the two weekends.
Grantham Academy IV made it a hat-trick of successes as they won Division Three with two points in hand over Halton. Grantham were unbeaten – winning eight and drawing two, including against London Academy in round nine. They beat Halton 4-2 in the final round to confirm the title, and were never threatened as they opened a 4-0 lead.
In the averages, Joseph Marlor of Grantham had a 100% record from 14 matches. Ibrahim Abdullah won 17 from the full 20 for Halton.
In Division Four, Lillington edged out Birmingham by a single point, winning all five matches over the weekend. Birmingham won their first four, but Lillington took their revenge for the weekend one defeat – and won the title in the process – by beating Birmingham 4-2 in the final round.
It was nicely poised at 2-2, but Nikit Sajiv beat Chun Wai Sheung and Rex Wong saw off Alex Cochrane to send the title Lillington’s way.
It was Sheung’s first and only defeat – he won 19/20 to top the averages alongside Wong, who had an identical record.
It as a tight one in Division Five, where Bribar Cleeve Park won by sets difference over Cippenham.
What was interesting was that Cleeve lost twice, whilst Cippenham were actually unbeaten – but drew six of their 10 matches, including against the champions and then against London Academy II in the final round.
That draw with London opened the door for Cleeve Park, who beat St Marys Spurs 6-0 to take the title.
Ben Dunkley was the averages leader, winning an impressive full house of 16/16 for Milton Keynes.
eBaTT and Loop Dublin were a long way ahead of the rest as they fought their private battle for supremacy in Division Six.
It was the former who came out on top, taking their 100% record to nine matches out of nine but still needing to avoid defeat in their final match against the Dubliners.
In the event, that match was drawn 3-3 as eBaTT came from 3-1 down thanks to victories in the last two matches for Abraham Sellado against Oscar Gao and for Max Radiven over Cillian Kirby. It meant eBaTT won by two points, with Dublin a full nine points ahead of the pack.
In the averages, both Sellado and Radiven won 15 out of their 16 matches.
The eight-team Division Seven was the closest of all, with only one point separating the four teams who made up the top half of the division.
Loop Dublin II, Woodford Wells and Brighton all finished on 14 points, one ahead of South Croydon II, and it was the Dublin team which got the verdict on sets difference.
Dublin lost three of their 10 matches but, perhaps crucially, were the only team not to draw as they edged into top spot.
Chidumebi Egbeama had 19/20 for South Croydon, while Vince Ni won 17 out of 18 for Dublin.
Joola Plymouth romped to victory in Division Eight by winning all 10 matches, dropping only nine individual ties across the two weekends, and finishing eight points ahead of Ormeau II.
Ormeau came closest, taking the lead but losing the next four as they eventually lost 4-2. In the averages, Leo Nguyen won all 20 matches, claiming family bragging rights over twin brother Hugo, who won 18.
Kingfisher II won the five-team Division Nine, winning seven of their eight matches to finish five points clear of Ormeau III.
They won all four matches on weekend two and boasted the top three in the averages, led by Prayrit Ahluwalia (14/16).