THE Budmouth Under-16 and Under-19 boys’ teams have competed in the last 16 in the National Schools Team competition.

Having qualified to represent the South West Region of England, they found themselves up against other qualifying schools south of Birmingham.

The under-16 team of Jamie Blair, Will Jolliffe, Ethan Gear and Tom Lydford were drawn against schools from London, Kent and Herefordshire.

Despite putting up really brave performances against both Morpeth School (Tower Hamlets) and The Howard School (Kent) they lost both matches 6-2 although many of the games were close.

The Budmouth boys finished the day on a high beating The Bishop of Hereford School 7-1 to ensure they finished third in the group.

The following day the under-19 boys’ team of Tom Cherry, Sam Millar, Ben Graham and Brad Burroughs took on Harefield Academy (Hillingdon), Wood Green Academy (Wednesbury) and The Bushey Academy (Hertfordshire).

The first encounter resulted in a nail-biting 5-3 defeat to Bushey in a match that was on a knife edge and could have been won by Budmouth if a couple of edges and nets had gone their way.

Undaunted, they then took on one of the best sides in London and drew 4-4 with Harefield. Yet again a couple of crucial legs were lost, which would have resulted in a famous victory.

Showing resilience and determination, the boys then produced an exhilarating display to beat Wood Green 5-3 playing some of the best table tennis produced by the team.

When all the results were collated Budmouth finished with three points, one behind Harefield and two behind Bushey.

This was a wonderful performance and the quartet were so close to reaching the last four.