31 young people ranging from 7 to 17 descended on Glenburn TTC for the first Junior Challenger of the season on Saturday 30 September. This included 12 children taking part in their first tournament.
In the morning session there were 20 children taking part in Div 3 and Div 4. It started off with four groups of five to decide who would be in each division. The top two in each group moved into Div 3 and the remainder went into Div 4. There were some very tight matches and some upsets in the seedings with Erdem from Mourne and Ashvik from Omagh moving into Div 3 after winning a couple of close 3 set matches. The youngest competitor, 7-year-old George from Glenburn performed well in winning a 3 set thriller. Div 3 and 4 then moved to the knockout phase with top seed siblings Lea and Tobias from Ormeau seeing their way through to the final with victories over Luke (Bangor) and Ashvik, and Curtis (Banbridge) and Reece (Mourne) respectively. This set up a ding dong battle in the final with Tobias coming back form a set down to win Div 3 -9, 9, 11. In Div 4, Matthew T (Glenburn) saw off his club teammate, Chloe, before edging a 3 set match 6, -13, 8 against Matthew B (Ormeau) to make the final against Oisin (Mourne), who had seen off Glenburn players Rachel and Jane. The final again was a close affair with Matthew coming out the winner of Div 3 with a 8, 9 victory. All in there were 72 matches in the morning session with everyone getting 7-8 matches.
The afternoon session saw Div 1 and 2 initially in two groups of six and five. The top three in each group then went into Div 1 with the remainder into Div 2 with results carrying forward from the first groups. The first groups went according to seedings apart from Eimear (Belturbet) creating an upset to make it into Div 1. The initial group of six was very tight with a three way tie for third place. Luke (Glenburn) won through to Div 1 on countback. In a three set thriller Christpoher (Ormeau) managed to beat Stanley (Glenburn) to top the group. In the other group again the top two fought out three close sets with Karsten (Ormeau) edging out Dominic (Glenburn) to top the group. In Div 1 Stanley and Dominic again lost in three tight sets in the reverse matches against Karsten and Christopher, leaving the latter to play for first place in the final match of the day. Christopher managed to win yet another three set match to win Div 1. Div 2 was equally competitive with Jack (Ormeau) winning in three sets against Ryan (Banbridge) in the deciding match to win Div 2. James (Bangor), Filip (Banbridge) and Polly (Ormeau) in Div 2 had some very competitive matches losing out very narrowly. All in there were 40 matches with every player again getting 7-8 matches.
Many thanks to all the participants and parents for a very successful tournament. The assistance of parents throughout the day was very much appreciated.
Our next challenger takes place on October 28th in Mourne Table Tennis CLub. More information will follow.