DAY 1 CADETS (U15)
Jasmine Williams created a bit of a surprise in her group at the Cadet Girls National Championships on day 1 by defeating the seeded player in her group, Charlotte Weatherby (11-7, 14-16, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3).
Having won her qualifying group Jasmine then swept aside Alice Dillon in the first knock-out round which set up a clash with number one seed Charlotte Bardsley in the quarter final.
Jasmine gave an excellent account of herself in the quarter-final, fighting hard. Charlotte was a bit stronger though and took the win as she progressed to the semi-final from where she went on to take the title. A good performance which bodes well for nest year.
DAY 2 JUNIORS (U18)
Artur Caltabiano faced Israel Awolaja the seeded player in his qualifying group and rose to the occasion with a determined and focused 3-0 win, denying the defender the opportunity to chop and dominating from the outset.
Artur won the group and went into the main knockout stage as the qualifier to face 4th seed Josh Bennett. This was a stiffer test against as was to be expected but Artur started strongly maintaining the mindset from the qualifying group and taking the first end 11-3. They both fought hard and with the match ebbing and flowing we reached the 7th set. Artur was determined and as the game developed Artur took a lead and maintained it with calm, strong play to secure a win (11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9) which sent a buzz of excitement through the arena.
Next for Artur was Joe Clark and Artur took the first end looking very much in control. Joe Clark responded taking the 2nd set 11-6 before Artur regained the lead by taking end 3. Joe edged a tight 4th game 16-14 to level the tie and took a 3-2 lead by taking the next end 11-7. The 6th end started with Artur immediately stamping his authority on the match and that remained the pattern with Artur first levelling at 3-3 and sealing the win 4-3 with two 11-3 sets.
The semi-final opponent was the formidable number 1 seed and European number 10 junior Tom Jarvis. Artur showed his intent immediately taking a 3-0 lead in the first end. Jarvis responded but Artur had no intention of being a bit-part player in this drama. He kept his cool and took the first end 11-8. The battle lines were set, this was going to be a contest. Jarvis lifted his game and took an early lead in game two before Artur clawed back into it with strong forceful play close to the table. Jarvis took this end 11-9. The crucial third game was edged by Jarvis 12-10 who was being pushed to the limit on the day. Going behind against the top seed did not faze Artur at all and his play remained controlled and thoughtful at all times. Jarvis made the decisive decision in the fourth game to be very brave against Arturs tight serving and his strong reverse flick was the telling factor that sealed that end 11-9 for him. Did Artur’s head go down? Not a whit! He fought and took the game to Jarvis as he had done throughout the match, dictating play to which Jarvis responded. Jarvis capitalised on his serve return and experience to take a lead which he maintained to seal the match and move to the final.
Artur can hold his head high after this match and indeed the event. He confounded the seedings, coming from a non-seeded position in his qualifying group to push the number one seed hard in the semi-final. The challenge now is to build on this event and consolidate at this level of play, adding some aspects to his game and refining others.
Overall a very successful event for both Jasmine and Artur and the prospect of more to come.