Report from the National Schools Championships

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National School Championships

St Paul’s School, Barnes, March 26/29th

Peter King writes: This year’s tournament was back to its normal format of four days and three age groups; twenty schools were represented, with over 130 competitors in all, the Colts being especially keen with 50, and although Winchester were the dominant force across the three competitions there were winners from a further seven establishments. There was a very high standard of play, and customary camaraderie and sportsmanship were very much in evidence. Most notable were the semi-finals and final of the Colts’ Doubles, which featured some of the hardest hitting and most determined retrieving ever seen at this level.

The Open singles tournament went largely with the seeding and produced a final which was a repeat of the West of England tournament and also of the Colts’ 2013 event. So it was the decider in a series of three, and it went to three games, with Tom Watkinson of Winchester just prevailing in a match which featured intelligent play by both him and Rob Whitehorn (Derby Moor). Only a couple of other games in the singles went to three games, although mention should be made of the epic quarter-final between Edinburgh newcomer Andrew Boyd and the more familiar Zack Jopling (SPS) – over two hours of attritional fives, and next day the two met again in a three-game doubles semi-final, with Edinburgh again just edging it.

The plate final was won by Harveer Mahajan of St Paul’s, Colts’ champion in 2014 and unfortunate to meet Whitehorn in his group, against Ben Jourdan (Edinburgh Academy) while the second plate went to Bally Singh of Derby Moor. In the doubles an unlikely Winchester pairing of U18 singles champion with the 2014 U14 singles winner Tom Kidner upset SPS II in a lengthy three-gamer to reach the semi-final but neither they nor Edinburgh Academy could match the fire-power of Derby Moor as Whitehorn and John Halligan won every match in straight games, the final going their way 11-9, 11-8.

The Colts’ singles contained few surprises, with both Winchester and St Paul’s fielding strong top fours: only Taberham (Merchant Taylors’ – plate doubles winner) and Nwuba (the Olavian U14 singles winner from 2013) from elsewhere made it to the quarter-finals; and in the semi-finals Winchester prevailed in both matches, Albert Song defeating Dan Whitham and Pete Kullavanijaya accounting for Monty Evans, both 11-4,11-2. In an excellent final Song’s consistent stroke-play and severity of shot gave him the edge in two games. But perhaps it all took too much out of the pair, as a magnificent doubles final in the afternoon unravelled in a long and energy-sapping encounter, and the Malvern pair of Andrew Tudor and Lucas Nelson (conquerors of SPS I) soaked up all the pressure from the Wykehamist pair and gave as good as they got to win in three. SPS II (Dominic Shaw and Nico Hughes) had come close to a similar remarkable result against the Winchester pair in the semi, but were just eased out in three very tight games

It was good to have the U14 tournament back where it belongs, busily filling every spare spot on the third day and continuing to buzz with enthusiasm on the final day. It is undoubtedly important that these younger players have the chance to see the older boys playing at the same venue and know what they can aspire to. Some quite experienced players were on show, together with a number of extremely talented beginners-in-their-first-year-at-senior-school. The eventual winner was Taylor McGuire (Sedbergh) who was top seed on the strength of his success as runner-up in the previous year’s U13, but he was pushed all the way by Alex Poyntz of Winchester, who took the middle game after losing the first 12-10. In his case, though, he was not to be deprived in the afternoon, as he and Ben Kullavanijaya won the doubles with a strong performance both in the semi-final against SPS I and against an experienced Alleyn’s pair in the final.

Many thanks to all involved in organisation and support, especially Ian Jackson, Giles Munn and Jamie McManus who shouldered the burden of managing the U14 events, to parents, fanclubs, and some extremely devoted staff without whom the school players would not be developing such an obvious love of the game and skilful enjoyment.

RESULTS
OPEN SINGLES
Pool A:
1st T.Watkinson (Winchester); 2nd J.K.Hunt (St Paul’s); 3rd G.Wainwright (Sedbergh)
Pool B: 1st M.Nunes (St Paul’s); 2nd T.Aziz (Whitgift); 3rd H.Andrews (Rossall)
Pool C: 1st J.Halligan (Derby Moor); 2nd J.Sellar (Edinburgh Academy); 3rd M.McKay (Rugby)
Pool D: 1st C.Mabbutt (Whitgift), 2nd C.Baxter (Derby Moor); 3rd C.Kengeter (St Paul’s)
Pool E: 1st G.Muscat (Tonbridge); 2nd B.Jourdan (Edinburgh Academy); 3rd S.Reed (Sherborne)
Pool F: 1st H.Fry (Marlborough); 2nd L.Heidrich (St Paul’s); 3rd S.Johnson (Derby Moor)
Pool G: 1st S.Bhushan (St Paul’s); 2nd H.Rehman (Derby Moor); 3rd T-J.Roberts (Christ’s Hospital)
Pool H: 1st A.Boyd (Edinburgh Academy); 2nd A.Taylor (St Paul’s); 3rd B.Gosling (Rossall)
Pool I: 1st D.Hutt (Tonbridge); 2nd M.Blunden (Derby Moor); 3rd D.Buyanovsky (St Paul’s)
Pool J: J.Singh (Derby Moor); 2nd G.Tims (Sherborne); 3rd M.Baldwin (Rossall)
Pool K: 1st Z.Jopling (St Paul’s); 2nd J.Grut (Whitgift); 3rd L.Keates (Derby Moor)
Pool L: 1st T.McFarlane (St Paul’s); 2nd S.Drennan (Edinburgh Academy); 3rd B.Singh (Derby Moor)
Pool M: 1st E.Tebboth (Merchant Taylors’); 2nd M.Segun (Tonbridge); 3rd J.Lee (Rossall)
Pool N: 1st S.R.Whitehorn (Derby Moor); 2nd H.Mahajan (St Paul’s); 3rd C.Rogers (Oundle)

Round 1: Halligan beat Nunes 11-7, 11-2; Mabbutt beat Muscat 11-6, 11-5; Bhushan beat Fry 11-1, 11-1; Boyd beat Hutt 11-1, 11-4; Jopling beat Singh 11-4, 11-5; Tebboth beat McFarlane 11-3, 5-11, 11-6
Quarter-finals: Watkinson beat Halligan 11-1, 11-6; Bhushan beat Mabbutt 11-7, 11-5; Boyd beat Jopling 11-9, 7-11, 11-6; Whitehorn beat Tebboth 11-3, 11-6
Semi-finals: Watkinson beat Bhushan 11-3, 11-4; Whitehorn beat Boyd 11-8, 11-5
Final: Watkinson beat Whitehorn 11-2, 5-11, 11-3
First plate: Mahajan (St Paul’s)
Second plate: B Singh (Derby Moor)

OPEN DOUBLES
Preliminary round:
Edinburgh Academy II beat Rossall II 11-0, 11-0; Derby Moor IV beat Sherborne 11-9, 11-1; St Paul’s IV beat Rossall I 11-2, 11-1
1st round: Derby Moor I beat Edinburgh Academy II 11-0, 11-2; St Paul’s III beat Tonbridge 11-2, 11-7; Winchester beat Derby Moor III 11-3, 11-6; St Paul’s II beat Derby Moor V 11-1, 11-0; St Paul’s I beat Derby Moor IV 11-1, 11-9; Whitgift I beat Sedbergh 4-11, 11-8, 11-5; Derby Moor II beat St Paul’s V 11-0, 11-3; Edinburgh Academy I beat St Paul’s IV 11-0, 11-7
Quarter-finals: Derby Moor I beat St Paul’s III 11-5, 11-2; Winchester beat St Paul’s II 6-11, 11-9, 11-5; St Paul’s I beat Whitgift I 11-5, 11-5; Edinburgh Academy I beat Derby Moor II 11-8, 11-3
Semi-finals: Derby Moor I beat Winchester 11-2, 11-5; Edinburgh Academy I beat St Paul’s I 5-11, 11-2, 11-4
Final: Derby Moor I (Whitehorn/Halligan) beat Edinburgh Academy I (Boyd/Jourdan) 11-9, 11-8
Plate: Derby Moor III (J Singh/ B Singh)

COLTS SINGLES
Pool A:
1st A.Song (Winchester); 2nd T.Gallagher (St Olave’s); 3rd D.Burton (Whitgift); 4th S.Garella (Merchant Taylors’)
Pool B: 1st J.Hanton (Alleyn’s); 2nd H.Rehman (Derby Moor); 3rd Q.Gueroult (St Paul’s)
Pool C: 1st E.Taberham (Merchant Taylors’); 2nd C.Maclaurin (Blundell’s); 3rd M.Fasoli (Winchester)
Pool D: 1st D.Shaw (St Paul’s); 2nd G.Barnard (Alleyn’s); 3rd F.Norris (Christ’s Hospital)
Pool E: 1st A.Tudor (Malvern); 2nd A.Ahuja (St Paul’s); 3rd B.Rentoul (Alleyn’s)
Pool F: 1st T.Kidner (Winchester); 2nd A.McCreath (Fettes); 3rd H.Russell (Whitgift)
Pool G: 1st T.Francis (Blundell’s); 2nd S.Patel (Tonbridge); 3rd A.Naumenko (Alleyn’s)
Pool H: 1st D.Whitham (St Paul’s); 2nd Stevens (Bradfield); 3rd T.Davies (Merchant Taylors’)
Pool I: 1st P.Kullavanijaya (Winchester); 2nd Holden (Bradfield); 3rd P.Fernandes (St Paul’s)
Pool J: 1st L.Nelson (Malvern); 2nd B.Kirwan (Alleyn’s); 3rd Z.Pernebayev (Tonbridge)
Pool K: 1st M.Suddaby (Rugby); 2nd S.Prakash (Whitgift); 3rd M.Pugh (St Olave’s)
Pool L: 1st N.Hughes (St Paul’s); 2nd B.Clarke (Blundell’s); 3rd A.Burgess (Christ’s Hospital)
Pool M: 1st K.Nwuba (St Olave’s); 2nd B.Yass (St Paul’s); 3rd W.Hanley (Tonbridge)
Pool N: 1st S.Yang (Alleyn’s); 2nd C.Low (Whitgift); 3rd T.Beal (Rugby)
Pool O: 1st G.Hollings (Sedbergh); 2nd F.Saeger (Winchester); 3rd Lemon (Bradfield)
Pool P: 1st M.Evans (St Paul’s); 2nd M.Mishra (Merchant Taylors’); 3rd C.Hughes (Tonbridge); 4th B.Gosling (Rossall)

Round 1: Song beat Hanton 11-1, 11-7; Taberham beat Shaw 11-7, 11-5; Kidner beat Tudor 11-8, 11-1; Whitham beat Francis 11-3, 11-6; Kullavanijaya beat Nelson 11-0, 11-6; Hughes beat Suddaby 11-2, 11-1, Nwuba beat Yang 11-6, 11-7; Evans beat Hollings 11-0, 11-2.
Quarter-finals: Song beat Taberham 11-4, 11-0; Whitham beat Kidner 11-9, 12-11; Kullavanijaya beat Hughes 10-12, 11-7, 11-4; Evans beat Nwuba 11-1, 11-4
Semi-finals: Song beat Whitham 11-4, 11-2; Kullavanijaya beat Evans 11-4, 11-2
Final: Song beat Kullavanijaya 11-1, 11-7
First plate: Kirwan (Alleyn’s)
Second plate: Fernandes (St Paul’s)

COLTS DOUBLES
1st round:
St Paul’s IV beat Tonbridge II 6-11, 11-1, 11-6; Whitgift II beat Christ’s Hospital 11-8, 11-1; Alleyn’s II beat Merchant Taylors’ II 12-10, 11-5; Malvern beat St Paul’s III 11-5, 11-2; Bradfield beat Alleyn’s III 11-4, 11-6.
2nd Round: Winchester I beat : St Paul’s IV 11-2, 11-0; St Olave’s beat Merchant Taylors’ I 11-6, 11-4; Alleyn’s I beat Whitgift II 11-2, 11-1; St Paul’s II beat Alleyn’s II 11-2, 11-3; Malvern beat Winchester II 11-2, 11-3; Blundell’s beat Tonbridge I 11-2, 11-2; Rugby beat Whitgift I 6-11, 11-8, 11-8; St Paul’s I beat Bradfield 11-5, 11-9.
Quarter-finals: Winchester I beat St Olave’s 11-2, 11-9; St Paul’s II beat Alleyn’s I 11-6, 8-11, 11-7; Malvern beat Blundell’s I 11-4, 11-4; St Paul’s I beat Rugby 11-1, 11-7.
Semi-finals: Winchester I beat St Paul’s II 11-8, 9-11, 11-8; Malvern beat St Paul’s I 11-6, 2-11, 11-5
Final: Malvern (Nelson/Tudor) beat Winchester I (Kullavanijaya/Song) 9-11,11-5, 11-5
Plate: Merchant Taylors’ I (Taberham/Davies)

UNDER 14 SINGLES
Pool A:
1st T.McGuire (Sedbergh); 2nd H.Powell (Marlborough); 3rd K.Hudson (Winchester); 4th E.Driesen (Tonbridge)
Pool B: 1st N.Jerome (Whitgift); 2nd J.Zealley (St Paul’s); 3rd L.Quinn (Alleyn’s)
Pool C: 1st F.Kernot (Winchester); 2nd W.Awdry (Christ’s Hospital); 3rd A.Chaudhry (Merchant Taylors’)
Pool D: 1st W.Hirth (Alleyn’s); 2nd M.Henry (Winchester); 3rd K.Maclean (St Paul’s)
Pool E: 1st T.Carlton (St Paul’s); 2nd Toalster (Tonbridge); 3rd D.Ahmed (Whitgift)
Pool F: 1st B.Kullavanijaya (Winchester); 2nd O.Waters (Marlborough); 3rd P.Lam (Whitgift); 4th K.Parsapour (St Paul’s)
Pool G: 1st A.Cochrane (Alleyn’s); 2nd W.Kim (St Paul’s); 3rd W.Kernot (Winchester)
Pool H: B.Howman (Winchester); 2nd B.Patchett (Sedbergh); 3rd S.Kendrick (Whitgift)
Pool I: 1st J.Abbott (St Paul’s); 2nd Choo-Choy (Tonbridge); 3rd A.McQueen (Christ’s Hospital)
Pool J: 1st Burrows (Tonbridge); 2nd S.McCrea (Whitgift); 3rd M.Gill (Alleyn’s)
Pool K: 1st A.Yu (St Paul’s); 2nd O.Watson (Winchester); 3rd E.Townshend (Merchant Taylors’)
Pool L: 1st A.Poyntz (Winchester); 2nd J,Magee (Sedbergh); 3rd F.Khan (St Paul’s); 4th O.Timpson (Whitgift)

1st round: Jerome beat F.Kernot 11-7; Hirth beat Carlton 11-5; Abbott beat Howman 11-5; Yu beat Burrows 11-6.
Quarter-finals: McGuire beat Jerome 15-8; Hirth beat Kullavanijaya 15-1; Cochrane beat Abbott 15-7; Poyntz beat Yu 15-3
Semi-finals: McGuire beat Hirth 15-9; Poyntz beat Cochrane 15-5
Final: McGuire beat Poyntz 12-10, 6-11, 11-3
First plate: Henry (Winchester)
Second plate: Khan (St. Paul’s)

UNDER 14 DOUBLES
1st round:
Winchester IV beat St Paul’s III 15-6; St Paul’s II beat Marlborough 15-13
2nd round: Winchester I beat Tonbridge II 15-0; Christ’s Hospital beat Merchant Taylors’ 15-5; St Paul’s I beat Whitgift II 15-8; Winchester II beat Alleyn’s II 15-7; Alleyn’s I beat Winchester IV 15-4; Tonbridge I beat Whitgift III 15-3; Winchester III beat Whitgift I 15-6; Sedbergh I beat St Paul’s II 15-5.
Quarter-finals: Winchester I beat Christ’s Hospital 15-0; St Paul’s I beat Winchester II 15-13; Alleyn’s I beat Tonbridge I 15-5; Sedbergh I beat Winchester III 15-8.
Semi-finals: Winchester I beat St Paul’s I 15-10; Alleyn’s I beat Sedbergh I 15-8.
Final: Winchester I (Kullavanijaya/Poyntz) beat Alleyn’s I (Cochrane/Hirth) 11-8, 11-5
Plate: Marlborough (Powell/Waters)