Arthur Clark reports:-
The Essex Junior Closed was held at BATTS Harlow on Saturday 7 May 2016. At the Closing Date there were 34 entries and with the acceptance of late entries (I knew four were coming) the final entry figure was 40 as against last year’s 57. Last year’s event was held in early January so the start of exams may have been significant this year. Groups of three players in most events and even with this we overran by just over half an hour although most of this occurred in the last event.
The opening event was the Under 13 Boys but with only one Girl entering her event she was transferred to the Boys event. There were four groups (eight last year) and all entrants turned up to play. One seed failed to win his Group, Toby Deng (Col) losing to Diesel Harvey (Har) 3-0. Toughest Group was Group 1 and William Bettley (NETTS) needed five games to beat James Goddard (Sou) and come back from 5-9 down in the decider with Alana Mansfield (Har) to win the last six points. Hot favourite Jaden Aulakh (Mossford) only dropped one game on his route to the final, this to Alana in the quarter final. For William it was tougher, youngest brother James took a game of him and he needed three deuce games (10, 12, 10) to get in the final at expense of Diesel. In the final Jaden won 4, 8, 9.
There were 8 Groups in the U15 Boys event, just one less than last year, with every entrant arriving. Only Reece Harris-Griffiths (Sou) failing to win his Group, losing to the improving Diesel Harvey. Top seed Joe Walker wasted no time in progressing to the final winning all his matches 3-0. In his half number 4 seed William Bettley reached the semi the hard way, coming back from 2-0 down to beat Reece and saving a match point in the fourth game of his quarter final with Connor Payne (Che). In the semi he lost 5, 10, 9 to Joe. In the bottom half number 3 seed Syed Hussain (Eastbury) struggled to cope with Diesel, eventually winning 11, 10, -11, -8, 5 and beat number 2 seed Casey Mansfield 9, -8, 11, 6 in the semi. In the final he lost to Joe 6, 9, 10.
For the U18 Boys event there were six Groups, one up on last season, top seed Sam Hume having to withdraw overnight due to illness. Thus with the new top two seeds in the bottom half amendments were made to put these two players in opposite halves. After his exhausting matches in the previous events William Bettley withdrew just before the start of the Groups. The remaining seeds all won their Groups with Jared Chelski beating Max Plumridge in Sam’s Group. All the KO matches went with the seedings, Joe Walker defeating Justin Jeffery 3-0 in the top half semi while Jack Stockdale (Rom) beat Casey Mansfield 3-0 in the bottom half semi. In the quarter Casey had gained revenge for his U15 defeat by Syed by winning 5, -9, 9, 5. In the final a close match was won by Joe 8, 9, 10.
At the same time the U11 event was played as a round robin with three entrants, Alexander Bettley winning both his matches 3-0 against Cody Prentice (Har) and James Bettley (NETTS) with Cody taking the runners up position with a 3-1 win over James.
The last event of the day, and the most competitive, was the U18 Boys Restricted Singles, an event for those players who have never played for any of the Essex teams and no seeding. Six groups of three, against seven last year, but with a withdrawal and a player non appearance Jaz Harvey (Har) found herself the winner of Group 6 without having to play. Matthew Stringer (Sou), George Campbell (Har), Max Plumridge (Bra), Jared Chelski (Col) and Matthew Laws (Bra) the other Group winners. In the top half of the draw Jared progressed to the semi-final with a 3-0 win over Jaz where he met Dan Wills, the runner up to Matthew Stringer in their group and who had defeated Matthew Laws 3-1 in the quarter final, and defeated him 10, -8, 4, 7. In the bottom half Matthew Stringer progressed to the semi-final with a Q/F win over Max and was then engaged in a marathon semi with George Campbell which he eventually won 9, -20, 10, -7, 7. The final was another marathon going the full distance, and finally won by Matthew 6, 9, -9, -3, 5.
I think a good day was enjoyed by all
My thanks to Umpire John Jennings for his stalwart duties and Alan Wood for obtaining such nice trophies and John Andrews for presenting the trophies. Unfortunately the actual trophies did not arrive in time to be presented on the day so a raid on Neil Brierley’s cabinet drawer provided a couple of unpresented trophies with Essex badges that were used for the presentations. I had hoped to post the trophies to the winners and runners up but they are so nice that I am wary that they could get damaged in the post so I will have to seek other ways to get the trophies to the winners.
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary and Tournament Organiser.