News Release - BSMTTC News 159
Dateline: 15 July 2023
Juniors show their talents
On Saturday, 15 July, the club held its first junior tournament, and what a great day it proved to be. Forty-four sets of table tennis were played in approximately 61/2 hours over the clubs 3 tables, involving 13 of the club's junior players. A pretty good turn out for summer, and the start of the school holidays for many. And, there were gold, silver and bronze medals for all who took part!
Under 11 Singles
The first event of the day was the Under 11 Singles. Just 4 entrants on this occasion, with the expected fifth being poorly on the day, so unable to take part. This enabled a round robin event, first with a round of singles matches, followed by a round of doubles matches - with each player partnering with each other player in turn to give 3 matches, the points from which were added to the points won in the singles to determine the overall winner. Most of these youngsters had not played doubles before and most had not played in a tournament before either! But it has to be said that all played very well, and everyone won some games. The outstanding player in the group was 91/2-year-old Oliver Glowacki. Oliver took a clean sweep in all 3 of his singles matches, and with each different partner also won all 3 of his doubles matches. A really top-class performance. Certainly, a name to watch out for in the future. At 101/2 Jack Murray was the oldest in the group and he came in second overall. Bronze places went to Sophie Oliver, 91/2, and Harry Murray, just 8. All 4 players showed an excellent attitude and great competitive spirit. Closely watched by parents or grandparents from the spectator’s gallery.
Above: On the left, the Under 11's group with their coaches. The juniors are: Harry Murray, Sophie Oliver, Oliver Glowacki and Jack Murray. And on the right the juniors with their medals, Gold for Oliver, Silver for Jack, and bronze for Sophie and Harry. Every one of them played their very best, and were a credit to their coaches and families.
Under 15 Singles
The next event was aimed at those in School Years 7,8 & 9. Broadly cadet or under 15 age range. There were 8 entrants for this event giving an initial format of 2 groups of 4 players. With the winner and runner-up of each group going through to a knockout semi-final, followed by the final. The 3rd and 4th placed players in the two groups going into a round robin plate contest. This ensured that every entrant played at least 6 sets of singles. And it was quite noticeable how some of the least experienced players improved as the day went on the more games they played. Group 1 featured brothers Jakub & Oliver Glowacki, Bobby Jackson and Erin Riley. Being the only girl in this event, Erin gave an excellent account of herself, going on to win the consolation event. In the group the 2 outstanding players were brothers Jakub (nearly 13) and Oliver (91/2). Both took their first two singles fairly comfortably although Jakub did allow a game to slip away when playing Erin. So the group would be decided by the head-to-head between the two. And what a match this proved to be. At first it looked like age would have it, as Jakub raced away with the first game. But Oliver has a determined spirit and fought his way back making some small changes to his game which showed great maturity. With the set even at 1:1, Oliver didn't look back to take a 3:1 win and top spot in the group.
Group 2 was a much closer affair with 4 of the 6 sets needing more than 3 games to decide their outcome. The group featured Kai Morgan, Myles Ambrose, Ellis Haskell and Dylan Griffin. As the top seed in this group, Kai was going to be the man to beat. But he held his nerve to take all 3 of his singles, even though he dropped a game to both Dylan & Ellis. Myles at 13 was one of the younger members of this group, but put in some really good performances to secure runner-up spot. With Dylan and Ellis separated by just 1 point taking up places in the consolation plate.
The first semi-final brought Oliver back to the court to face Myles, as the runner-up in group 2. Myles worked hard trying some defensive and chop play to try and slow down Oliver's attack, but the younger player showed he had just too much fire power taking the match with relative ease 3:0 to secure a place in the final.
The second semi-final was a much different match. Kai as winner of group 2 faced Jakub the runner-up in group 1. The two players were extremely evenly matched. Jakub took a very close first game, with Kai immediately striking back in the second, only to go behind again in the third. The see-saw continued with Kai fighting back in the fourth to even things up. The final game saw both players really going for the win with both producing some high quality table tennis. In the end a couple of unforced errors from Kai just made the difference with Jakub taking the win and the final spot 11:8 in the fifth. A tremendous set.
The final therefore featured brothers Oliver and Jakub - and Oliver had not even expected to be playing in this event! The boys had already met in the group stage, where Oliver won out 3:1. So, how would he do against his older brother in the final? It was soon clear, he would pay no heed to the fact that Jakub is his older brother. With real character, fight and determination he set about his work right from the start, and carried it through to take the final 3 straight! A tremendous achievement by the younger player, in what was an excellent contest.
Meanwhile the Cadet Singles Consolation Plate was running its course on the adjacent tables. With 4 very evenly matched players there were some extremely competitive matches with 5 out of the six sets needing more than 3 games to decide them. In fact this group came down to boys versus girls, or perhaps it should be girl! Erin was faced with tough opposition from Bobby, Ellis and Dylan. But with commendable spirit she fought off every one of them! Erin has her own style when it comes to table tennis, but it proved extremely effective giving her 3:1 wins over Bobby & Dylan, and a very close 3:2 win over Ellis in a match in which she had to come back from 2:0 down! A tremendous effort and well worthy of the gold medal for the Plate event. Just 1 point separated the 3 boys behind her! Some very good table tennis from all.
Above: On the left, the two finalists in the cadet group, brother's Jakub & Oliver Glowacki. And on the right the 8 players in the cadet group, from the left, Jakub Glowacki, Bobby Jackson, Dylan Griffin and behind him Ellis Haskell, Erin Riley, Oliver Glowacki, Myles Ambrose and Kai Morgan. There is real potential in this group all of whom are 14 or under at the moment.
So, to the final event of the day, the Open Singles. 10 juniors contested this event, 8 boys and 2 girls. This included the 8 who had already played in the cadet event. To ring the changes this event was structured slightly differently with a first round straight knockout, aimed at effectively dividing the players into 2 groups. Six would go through to contest the title. They would play in 2 groups of 3 with the winner of each group playing off in the final. The remaining 4 players from the first round of matches would play a consolation round robin. As it turned out the 4 players in the consolation event were exactly the same as in the cadet event! Not surprisingly they once again had some very competitive matches, but once again Erin had the measure of all the boys, but this time she was in no mood to give any chances! Winning all 3 of her sets by a decisive 3:0! The only difference was that this time round, Ellis took the silver medal. It was well deserved as he had worked hard all day and shown gradual and real improvement as the day went on, learning from his experience. Indeed, it is fair to say that all of the juniors put in excellent effort and learnt from their play.
The first group contesting for a place in the final contained the No.1 seed, Scott French, Jakub Glowacki and Myles Ambrose. The key game in this group was probably the first in which Myles faced Jakub. Four very close games, the first two each 12:10, leaving the players tied. But some really good play from Myles saw him edge ahead to achieve a very good 3:1 win. Myles couldn't repeat this performance though in his encounter with Scott who, as expected won the group.
Group 2 contained Kai Morgan, Eva Abernethy, and Oliver Glowacki. Eva had earlier won the battle of the girls to take her place in this final stage. Eva however proved no match for the boys, although she did take the opening game from Oliver. Oliver then went on to take the key set against Kai to prove just what a quality young player he is becoming. So for the third time in the day, Oliver, at just 91/2, found himself in the final and with a real chance of a third gold medal.
The final itself was an absolutely fabulous match, with some really high quality play from both players. Somehow, Oliver steamed into a 2 game lead and looked to be on target for a third gold medal. But perhaps the fact that by this stage he had already played 15 sets of table tennis over 6 hours was beginning to tell on him - after all he is only 91/2! In the third, Scott made subtle changes to the way he played and the differences started to tell forcing a few errors from his young opponent. With great effort he pulled the two games back to leave the score all square, so to the final game of the final set of the final event - and fitting that the final should go all the way to 5. By now, Scott was in the ascendency and made his greater experience and power tell to see him home with a 3:2 win. An excellent match, and great credit to his young opponent who had come so close to finishing the day with gold in all 3 events!
A great day of junior table tennis.