The Essex Junior Closed was held at BATTS Harlow on Saturday 6 May 2017. At the Essex Committee Meeting on the evening before the Closing Date for Entries they agreed that the event would not proceed unless an agreed minimum number of Entries were received by the midnight Closing Date. Martyn Green came to the rescue when he delivered six entries to me at teatime next day. By midnight with 32 entries the event would proceed and with three last minute entries we finally had 45 entries on the day but three of these had withdrawn due to imminent exams.
The opening events were the Under 13 Boys and Under 15 Girls events. With a last minute addition there were two Groups of four and two of three. Top seeds Daniel Young (Clacton) and Akash Shah (Mossford) made their way to the final, beating Oliver Rampton (Colchester) 8, 7, 5 and Rio Teplizki (Chelmsford) -9, 9, 8, 9 respectively in the semi-finals. Earlier Jai Choudhari had beaten number 3 seed Toby Zeffie (Southend) in the Group but lost the quarter final to Rio 11, -12, 7, -5, 6. Daniel won the final -8, 7, 3, 6.
The Under 15 Girls event should have been a round robin of six but Sophie Deng withdrew the previous day. Olivia Jones (Southend) was the winner but there was a three way tie for second place. Countback determined that Ellena Hart (Southend) was second, Mia Charles (NETTS) was third and Zara Darcy Willis (NETTS) was fourth.
There were 7 Groups in the U15 Boys event. Second seed Jared Chelski (Colchester) was not feeling well and although he tried to play he had to withdraw part way through the first match in his Group. Top seed Jaden Aulakh (Mossford) did not drop a game on his way to the final and Diesel Harvey (BATTS) took advantage of Jared’s absence in the bottom half to reach the final having scraped through his quarter final with Daniel Young, 6, -6, 7, -9, 9. A shock in the final looked on the cards when Diesel won the first two games but Jaden came back to win -7, -5, 9, 4, 8. The other two semi Finalists were Andy Huang and Oliver Rampton (both Colchester).
The Under 13 Girls event was almost a repeat of the U15 event, Maliha Baig (Mossford) playing instead of Mia Charles, thus still five girls in the round robin. However Ella Doddington (Colchester) sustained an injury in her second match and had to withdraw. Nine year old Maliha was the winner with Olivia Jones the runner up and Ellena Hart third.
There were five Groups in the Under 18 Boys event and with Jared still unable to play late entrant Jack Stockdale took his place in the Group and as expected strolled through to the final. For Diesel Harvey it was a much tougher route to the final. In his Group he took five games to beat the seeded Harry Keys (Southend) and in the semi final another five to overcome Daniel Young 5, 9, -10, -5, 10. In the quarter final Daniel took five games to get past Oliver Rampton -9, 9, 6, -8, 8. With Jaz Harvey (BATTS) the only girl entering the U18 Girls event she played in this event and reached the KO stage with a five game win over Toby Deng (Colchester) but then lost in five, -7, 12, 9, -8, 7, to Connor Payne (Chelmsford). Jack won the final 8, -9, 4,6.
For the Under 11 Open event there were six entrants but overnight this increased to seven and increased to eight just before the start. I therefore changed the event from a round robin to two Groups of four, each group played on two tables. Both Group winners Maliha Baig and Toby Zeffie won their semi finals against Sam Taylor (BATTS) 7, 5, 9 and George Davis (Southend) 2, 3, 7, -10, 5 respectively and Maliha went on to win the final 5, 5, -11, -6, 8.
The last event of the day was the U18 Boys Restricted Singles, an event for those players who have never played for any of the Essex teams and no seeding. Five groups and in the top half of the draw Daniel Young reached another final, defeating Daniel Zeffie 5, 11, 9 in the semi. The bottom half of the draw turned out to be much tougher. Matthew Elliott (Brentwood) beat club mate Toby Kelly 11, -9, 6, 5 in the quarter final but then surrendered a 5-3 lead in his deciding game semi final with James Goddard to lose -10, 10, -8, 6, 6. In the quarters James had just managed to scrape past Harry Keys 7, 8, -9, 14 and went on to win the final -9, 6, 8, 5. I think a good day was enjoyed by all.
My thanks to Umpire John Jennings for his stalwart duties again and Alan Wood for obtaining such nice trophies and John Andrews, Ken Field, John Jennings and Sharon for presenting the trophies. Unlike last year when the actual trophies did not arrive in time to be presented on the day, at least the trophies had arrived (only just) and could be presented but not the inscribed plates. These will now be sent through the post so the winners and runners up so they can stick the plates to the trophies.
Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary and Tournament Organiser.