Youngsters serve up feast of thrilling table tennis

Josh Bennet and Dexter Sherin
Josh Bennet and Dexter Sherin

More than 100 young players across East Sussex Schools took part in the annual East Sussex Schools Individuals Table tennis competition over the last two Wednesday afternoons.

The events were hosted at The St Leonards Academy with the turn of the Under 11 boys and girls first. It was encouraging to see new schools entered with a large entry from St Andrews primary school in Hove.

Schools represented in this age group also included Wallands primary, South Malling Primary and Western Road Primary from Lewes as well as entries from West St Leonards Primary Academy. There was some superb battles with the boys event finally won by Frankie Smith of St Andrews, defeating team mate Thomas Pollard in the final.

The girls event was a round robin with 5 girls competing. This under 11 age group was won by Lorelei Von Leyden of Wallands with runner up Rosa Mae Weisskoff also from Wallands in the runners up spot.

It was then the turn of the Under 13, 16 and 18 age groups. With all the top players from across East Sussex present there was some excellent table tennis on show. The Under 13 boys had players from Hastings and Rother schools as well as players from Eastbourne and Brighton.

The final came down to a tight battle between Fraser Kent of Heathfield Community College and Roddy Mcgillivray of Lewes Priory. It was Fraser that finally came out on top winning 3-1. The Under 13 girls was played in 2 groups with the final coming down to Joellle Bennett of Willingdon Community School and Joanne Perkins of The St Leonards Academy.

Joelle was triumphant with a 3-0 win in the final. The Under 16 Boys was a strong event with 5 county players involved in the largest of the events. The semi finals saw Josh Bennett of Willingdon Community school defeating Oli Guile of Patcham high in the top half and Dexter Sherin of Lewes Priory beating William Goodstone of Cavendish School.

Josh won the final 3-0 against Dexter, but Dexter put up a good fight. The Under 16 girls saw the title coming to St Leonards on Sea, with Amelia Long of The St Leonards Academy defeating team mate Etienne Wilson in straight sets. With no other entries in the Under 19 boys apart from Jack Bennett of Sussex Downs College it was only the older girls left to play. The Under 18 girls event was possibly the strongest it has ever been with last years national schools Champion Yuki Wat of Bedes defeated in the East Sussex final against Eva Wang of Roedean.

Eva has made a real impact on the table tennis scene since her arrival in this country and she remains undefeated in Junior British League Premier division. The winners of each event can all now go to the national schools individual finals to be held in Tipton, West Midlands in April.