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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Furness schools show good table manners

IT was Furness domination once again at the Cumbria Schools Table Tennis Team Championships.

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GREAT COMBINATION: The St Columba’s girls team, who won the county table tennis team title. They are (from left): Olivia Evans, Jenny Williams, Jade Fleming and Tamzin Reid PICTURE SUBMITTED BY MATT O’FLYNN

South Cumbrian sides ruled the roost at Barrow Table Tennis Centre, with Dowdales and St Columba’s leading the way.

Dowdales lined up against teams from St Benedict’s and John Ruskin, in the under-16s boys event and defeated the newcomers from Coniston in the opener.

With Barrow Division One player Jack Walker at one, another league player in Matthew Coverdale at two and Luke Walker, a former county under-11s champion, making up their team, the Dalton school were always going to be favourites.

Will Longmire played some good games against both Jack Walker and Coverdale, while Josh Glennon was close against Luke Walker in a 6-0 result.

They won by the same score against St Benedict’s, though several matches were close.

Tom Page took Jack Walker to deuce in their opening game and also had two deuce games that went against him when he played Luke Walker.

Howard Page also had a deuce game with Coverdale and took a game from Jack Walker.

Scott Stanborough pushed Coverdale to a deuce set, but closest to taking a victory was Whitehaven number four Callum Johnstone, who went a full five sets with Luke Walker, only losing 12-10 in the decider.

The two match wins gave Dowdales the title and put them through to the national competition first round.

The runners-up position was decided when St Benedict’s beat John Ruskin.

The under-13s boys event was a straight final between St Benedict’s and Barrow school St Bernard’s.

Ben O’Flynn and Luke Kay got the Barrow school off to a good start with straight sets wins against Cian Holliday and Callum Dawson.

James Lashmar and Alfie Murphy then held off the respective challenges of Jordan Lightfoot and Jake Sewell.

There were further wins for O’Flynn, Kay and Lashmar to make certain of the title, with Murphy completing the victory by defeating Callum Dawson, coming back from 2-0 down to win a close five-set match.

The under-13s and under-16s girls events were straight finals featuring Dowdales and St Bernard’s.

With England star Emily Bolton at number one, Dowdales under-16s started as clear favourites.

Bolton took her matches comfortably, but three of the other four games went to deciders. Robyn Holden and Emily Cotton both went to fifth games in their matches against Dowdales number two Eleanor Sedgwick, but were both eventually beaten.

Katie Linton took one game to deuce but was beaten by Jasmine Halcrow, while Louise Kenneally won St Bernard’s’ only match, beating Halcrow in a very close fifth game.

In the under-13s girls, Dowdales’ strength in depth brought them another victory.

Robyn Halcrow led the way with two victories, her second against Jess Livesey one of the most exciting of the day. The girls traded 11-8 games before Halcrow went ahead after a 12-10 game, only for Jess to fight back and win the next 11-9. But the league experience of Halcrow showed as she held on to take the decider 11-9.

Livesey was able to gain victory over Dowdales’ number two Katie Sedgwick in four games, while the match between Dowdales’ Tara Tappenden and Tyra Rushton, of St Bernard’s, was even closer, Tappenden just winning 8-11, 11-9, 15-17, 11-9, 11-9.

Lucy Woods also won a five-game battle against Ella McParland.

Three teams battled it out for the under-11s girls title, including last year’s champions and runners-up, Askam and Dane Ghyll, and former winners St Columba’s.

Dane Ghyll started strongly with a comfortable win against Askam.

Caitlin Walker and Meghan Ewing won two matches each, while Jasmin Waller also won twice but was taken to four games by Olivia Pegg and Maya Proctor.

Casey French won the final game of the tie, with Askam’s sole victor Charlie Shippen, who beat French 11-9 in the deciding game.

St Columba’s also defeated Askam, with Jenny Williams, Jade Flemimg and Tamzin Reid winning in three straight. Proctor and Pegg each won a match for Askam, defeating Olivia Evans.

The deciding match between Dane Ghyll and St Columba’s started with number ones Walker and Williams both winning comfortably against Fleming and Ewing respectively.

Then both number three players won against the number fours, Tamzin Reid beating Casey French and Jasmin Waller seeing off Olivia Evans to make it 2-2.

There was much to play for when the top two girls met.

Both Walker and Williams looked to use their strong forehand attacks and Walker took the early advantage with good hitting.

Williams has improved steadily this season and coped well with the pressure to take the next two games. Walker rallied in the fourth and was again on top with her hitting.

The fifth game became tense, with neither player daring to risk too much and again this suited the St Columba’s player, who edged to victory, 11-8.

Reid followed her captain’s example and was successful in a close five-game match against Ewing, with Fleming completing the victory when she beat Waller.

French finished with a win for Dane Ghyll to narrow the gap, but St Columba’s finished 5-3 winners and county champions.

The boys under-11s event also featured three recent winning schools: Askam, Holy Family and St Columba’s, who were joined by Dane Ghyll.

In the opening rounds, St Columba’s gained a comfortable win against a young Askam team, while Holy Family beat Dane Ghyll6-2.

Will McGuire and Matthew Rigg were unbeaten for Holy Family, with Sam Hunt and Wyll Stanway both winning once. Luke Maddox played well to beat both Stanway and Hunt in deciding games.

In the second round of matches, there were comfortable wins for Holy Family against Askam and St Columba’s against Dane Ghyll.

In the third-place play-off, Bradley Fagan made a good start for Askam, defeating Ben McBain.

Luke Maddox continued his good form as he beat Owen Bridle, but Benson Moncrief restored the lead for Askam.

Zak Scott won a close match against Lewis Foxon in a decider to level the match once again at 2-2.

Maddox collected another win to put Dane Ghyll 3-2 ahead, but successive wins from Moncrief and Bridle put Askam 4-3 ahead.

Jack Furness held his nerve in the last match for Dane Ghyll to secure a 4-4 draw.

The final saw St Columba’s in great form and they had almost set up a winning position by taking a 4-0 lead before Holy Family were able to make any impression.

Ryan Cotton, Finlay Edwards, Louis Rourke and Sam Kay all won in straight games.

When the number ones met, Hunt took Cotton to a deciding end, which was followed by a deciding game win for Stanway against Rourke.

The match and county title were secured as both Edwards and Kay won their last matches.

At under-19s boys level, Windermere School were declared county champions as the only team to enter the competition.

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