TABLE-TENNIS: Weymouth schools smash as 70 take part

Dorset Echo: TABLE STARS: Weymouth League chairman Neil Hardisty with under-16 winner Ben Graham and runner-up James Green TABLE STARS: Weymouth League chairman Neil Hardisty with under-16 winner Ben Graham and runner-up James Green

SEVENTY table-tennis players from across the area took part in this year’s Weymouth and District Schools Individual Tournament, held at All Saints, Wey Valley and Holy Trinity.

As well as the three host schools, St John’s, Chickerell, Sunninghill, Radipole, Budmouth, Thomas Hardye and Sir John Colfox were all represented at the event – and particularly encouraging was the high number of entries in the under-11 age group.

This is partly down to clubs being set up at Radipole and Holy Trinity and also the Weymouth & District League’s popular training sessions where players as young as eight can join in.

The standard shown in these younger age groups is very encouraging for the future of table-tennis in the district.

Girls’ under-11 – Rosa Mckechnie (Holy Trinity)

THE biggest entry of the tournament was in the girls’ under-11 event – 23 competitors from Holy Trinity took part.

The final four came down to Isobel Stainer, Rosa Mckechnie, Edith Dedman and Willow Mather.

It was a closely contested round-robin competition, with Mckechnie winning her three matches, including the all-important last one against Dedman (11-8).

Boys’ under-11 – Tom Lydford (Holy Trinity)

HOLY Trinity boys continue to lead the way in this age group but other primary schools are starting to challenge, in particular Jed Brackenridge (St John’s), Noah Drummond (Chickerell) and Harry Layzell (Sunninghill).

Ethan Clark, Sam Burton, Tom Lydford, Billy Baker, Archie Woolford, Devin Fry, Louis Gear and Toby Diment-Aylott all qualified from their initial round-robin groups to the quarter-finals.

In the semi-finals, the Holy Trinity pupils were evenly matched, with Clark edging out Baker 3-2 and Lydford beating Burton 3-1.

The final did not disappoint either as Clark came from two legs down to force a decider, only for Lydford to save his best until last.

Girls’ under-13 – April Heasman (Wey Valley)

THIS event saw four Wey Valley students – Laura Hayward, Amelia Luff, Mya Williams and April Heasman – play Erin Stow (Budmouth) in a round-robin tournament.

The Wey Valley girls were fresh from winning the Dorset Schools Team Championship, while Stow was part of the under-16 team from Budmouth that won the girls’ title.

Dorset cadet county player Heasman beat Stow 11-5, 11-4 to claim top spot, but the Budmouth player bounced back to claim second with a close victory over Williams.

Boys’ under-13 – Ben Hannigan (All Saints)

THE Budmouth boys were strong in this event and Jamie Blair, Ethan Gear, Alex Rogan and Will Jolliffe all qualified from their groups.

All Saints duo Ben Hannigan and Hector Knight also went through.

It was Blair, Jolliffe and Han-nigan that qualified for the three-way final which was to produce the closest finish of the tournament.

All three won one game, Han-nigan beating Blair, Blair overcoming Jolliffe and Jolliffe winning over Hannigan, so the result went down to countback of the number of sets won.

Hannigan won one extra set to take the title and Blair finished second due to him scoring one point more in the matches.

Girls’ under-16 – Lily Cherry (Budmouth)

CHERRY won the final in this age group for the third year in a row with a 3-0 triumph over fellow Budmouth player Harriet Pullen.

Boys’ under-16 – Ben Graham (Budmouth)

BUDMOUTH continue to dominate the boys’ under-16s and it was Weymouth League players Tom Cherry, Ben Graham, Moses Lewis, Brad Burroughs and James Green who battled it out for the top places.

It was also great to welcome Thomas Hardye players Alfred Dal Din and Alistair Bates, and they can be encouraged by their first competition. Dal Din edged out Bates in a marathon five-set match to win the Dorchester contest.

The event was finally won by Weymouth Junior League champion Ben Graham, who did not drop a leg on his way to victory in all six of his matches. Green beat Cherry to finish second.

A league spokesman said: “Thanks go to trophy sponsors Dorothy and Heather Dowell, and also to All Saints for the use of their playing facilities.”

* The Weymouth & District League will be running a series of matchplay sessions, suitable for all abilities, on Mondays and Saturdays for five weeks from June 21.

For further details of how to join in, contact Andy Millar via a.millar212@gmail.com or call 772743.

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