The Essex Junior Closed was held at BATTS Harlow on Saturday 4 May 2019. By Easter Monday there was a doubt that the event would be held but with over a doubling of entries on the following day Closing Day date and the following two days the event went ahead with 59 entries, an increase on last years 46. The order of play of the events had to be changed from last year with the increased number of boy entrants. The opening events were the Under 11 Open (Boys and Girls), up from four entries to fifteen and the Under 18 Restricted Boys and these two events could be played at the same time and save two hours on the days playing time. Basically Groups of three players with the top two going through to the KO stages.
For the Under 11 Open event there were five Groups. The big difficulty was determining the five seeds, the top two being easy and the other three much more difficult. At the Group stage every match was won 3-0. In the quarter finals No. 3 seed equal Adam Alibhai (Woodford Wells) only dropped three points in his 3-0 win but in the bottom half it was a totally different match when the other three equal seed, Aaryan Vatsa (Sou) played No. 5 seed, Jeremy Davies (BATTS). Jeremy eventually won 11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 3-11, 11-9. The top two seeds, Ralph Pattison (BATTS) and Sudheep Kamma (Che) both won their semi-finals against Adam and Jeremy respectively and Ralph won the final 11-7, 11-3, 11-7.
The Under 18 Boys Restricted event is for players who have never played for the County. There is no seeding so the Groups are luck of the draw as is the KO stage. There were seven Groups but it turned out that four Groups only had two players due to last minute withdrawals. The bottom half of the draw seemed much the stronger, both Harry Buckle (Che) winning 12, -8, 7, -7, 8 against Adnan Riftan (Mossford) and Liam Harris (Cla) against Brightwell Yeboah (West Essex) -7, -9, 9, 5, 9 in their quarter final matches and Liam went on to beat Harry to reach the final. In the top half quarter finals Vineeth Kamma (Che) and Jacob Ling (Woodford Wells) both won their matches 3-1 against Charlie Craig (Che) and Toby Zeffie (Sou) respectively. Jacob went on to beat Vineeth 3-0 in the semi final and Liam 6, 8, 10 in the final. Sadly in winning the final Jacob injured his shoulder and had to withdraw from the later U18 Boys event. We hope the injury is not too serious.
The next event was the Under 13 Boys with more entries than last year and eight Groups. The top four seeds, Sam Taylor (BATTS), Ben Porter (Che), Toby Zeffie and Sudheep Kamma all reached the semi-finals with Toby the only player requiring a fourth game in one of his matches on the way. Top seed Sam then lost to Toby 11, 9, 5 and number 2 seed Ben lost to Sudheep -6, 10, 6, 11. In a rousing final Toby just got home -7, 7, -6, 9, 9. Sam was another player to sustain an injury and he withdrew from the following U 15 Boys event.
The Under 13 Girls event was played whilst the boys were playing their event. The three Girls were all under 11 players and Medha Choudary (Mossford) won the Round Robin with Hela Kolli (Che) the runner up and Aditi Seth (Mossford) third.
The event with the largest number of entrants was the Under 15 Boys. Here again the top four seeds, Daniel Young (Che), Jesse Bath (Mossford), Ralph Pattison and Liam Harris all reached the semi-finals. Liam had the toughest match to get there, a marathon with Mario Ioakim 8, -9, -9, 2, 7 while Jesse needed a fourth game for a win over Joshua Bickles (Che) -9, 9, 5, 6. In the semi’s Daniel beat a tiring Liam 3-0 and Ralph also beat Jesse 3-0. Daniel won the final 7, -9, 7, 6.
The Under 18 Girls Restricted event was also a round robin of three players and three close matches. Nyree Marsh (Che) beat Alice Cole (Sou) 5, 12, 10 and Annabel Sweeney (Che) 7, 8, -11, 6 to win the Group and Alice beat Annabel 11, 10, 6 to take the runners up position.
The last event of the day was the Under 18 Boys with less entrants than last year. Once again the top four seeds, Ray Yan (BATTS), Daniel Young, Jesse Bath and Harry Keys (Sou) reached the semi-finals. Jesse was the only seed needing a fourth game against Adnan Riftan 8, -3, 8, 10 to reach the semi. In the semi he lost to Daniel 3-0 while on the other table the semi went the full distance before Harry could defeat Ray 11, -8, 9, -7, 5. In the final Daniel won 8, 5, -8, 8 for his second event win of the day.
Due to lack of entries there were no events for the Under 15 and Under 18 Girls.
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary and Tournament Organiser.