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2018 Junior National Cup Held at Ellenborough

Written by Paul Stimpson & Ian Allan
Photo's by Michael Loveder
Edited by Bernie Kelly

Mollie Patterson & Shayan Siraj

For the first time the Ellenborough TTC were awarded the opportunity to host the annual Junior National Cup organised by Table Tennis England. This competition brings the top ten junior boys and girls in the country together in a round robin competition and it is one of the most prestigious junior competitions in the TTE calendar.

The club welcomed the top ranked junior players, their coaches, parents, and supporters of Ellenborough. Club members had the opportunity to see some of the most scintillating junior table tennis that the club has ever seen over a two day event. It has been many years since the club has hosted a top Junior table tennis competition:  this has not happened since the days of Graham Sandley, David Tan, Nigel Tyler and Colin Wilson, when the club had some of the top players in the country playing and representing the Ellenborough club.

This competition took place at a very opportune time, having completed laying new custom made flooring the weekend before. This flooring is recognised as the ideal flooring for world class Table Tennis. All contestants voiced their approval.

Top seed Shayan Siraj lead the boys, followed by James Smith, Ethan Walsh and Gaurav Aravind. In the absence of our own Denise Payet,  out with an injury, having successfully competed in the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia, the girls were led by top seed Mollie Patterson, followed by Megan Gidney, Sarah Menghistab and Tiana Dennison. The speed and dexterity of the junior competitors was just breathtaking and awe inspiring for any of the clubs junior players. The competition went very smoothly with Shayan Siraj coming out on top in the boys competition having remained undefeated without dropping a game, and Mollie Patterson winning the girls competition in the same way. Our own Amelia Chan, seeded 9th, played a superb game, beating some players above her rank and ended up placed 5th. This shows what can be achieved with dedication and regular practice.

The only hiccup during the two days was when one of the players set off the alarm system having broken the glass in their eagerness to retrieve a ball. We are still looking for the culprit!!

Siraj and Patterson unbeaten on day one

Day One

Top seeds Shayan Siraj and Mollie Patterson lived up to billing on day one of the Junior National Cup at Ellenborough TTC in Enfield.

They were the only two athletes unbeaten after the first five rounds of competition at an event where the 10 players, selected on rankings, play each other on a round-robin basis to decide the champion.

The fight for the medals is certain to be close tomorrow, however, as a clutch of players remained in contention.


Top seed Mollie Patterson won all five matches to put herself in pole position after day one, with three players – Megan Gidney, Sarah Menghistab and Tiana Dennison one win further back.

Third seed Menghistab lost her only game in the first round, a marathon against Katie Holt, the fifth-ranked player taking it 4-2.

Even though it did not go the distance, the game scores were remarkable, with the girls still only in their second game when at least one other match had finished. Eventually, Holt prevailed 12-14, 20-18, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10.

No 9 Amelia Chan also overcame a higher-ranked player, defeating No 7 Lisa Rinnhofer in four straight. It was also four straight for No 4 Tiana Dennison over No 6 Lois Perryman.

Top seed Patterson started with a 4-0 win over No 10 Danielle Kelly, while second seed Gidney needed five against Sophie Barlow, ranked at eight.

Menghistab got herself on the board in Round 2 but had to hold off a comeback from 2-0 down to 2-2 by Kelly. Barlow also got her first victory, losing the first game but taking the next four against Perryman.

Gidney, Patterson and Dennison won their second matches against, respectively, Rinnhofer, Chan and Holt.

Perryman came close to taking her first win in Round 3, leading Menghistab 3-2 but seeing her opponent fight back to win.

Rinnhofer also looked as if she might put her first tick in the win column when she led Dennison 2-0, but Dennison won the third 15-13 and the fifth 14-12 on her way to a 4-2 score which kept up her 100% record.

Gidney and Patterson remained unbeaten, seeing off Chan and Barlow respectively, while Holt picked up win No 2, over Kelly.

Round 4 saw some potentially decisive moves as two unbeaten records were ended by players earning their first victories.

Kelly was the first to strike, overcoming Dennison 4-1 in a match which ought to have been closer given their previous results.

Perryman then recorded the biggest win of the competition to that point as she sunk second seed Gidney, this time coming out on the right side of a 4-3 scoreline, despite things looking ominous when Gidney took the first 11-2.

That left Patterson out on her own at the top, having registered her fourth win, a routine 4-0 over Rinnhofer. Menghistab defeated Barlow 4-2 to stay in the medal picture, but Holt could not join the group on three victories as she saw Chan come back from 3-2 down to win the decider 11-8.

Gidney bounced back in the final round of the day, overcoming Holt in four straightforward games to hang on to Paterson’s coattails – the leader beat Perryman in five.

Also one win behind is third seed Menghistab, who won 4-2 against Rinnhofer, the only winless player after day one, albeit having played the top four seeds.

The third player on four victories is Dennison, who ended the day with a 4-1 scoreline against Chan. Kelly picked up her second win on the bounce as she twice came from a set down to beat Barlow 4-2.


Shayan Siraj matched Patterson’s record as the top seed won all five matches to stand one victory ahead of James Smith, Naphat Boonyaprapa and Gaurav Aravind.

In the first round, third seed Ethan Walsh saw fifth-ranked Boonyaprapa fight back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to win 4-3 – remarkably taking the sixth 11-1 before adding the decider 11-9.

The other one to go the distance also saw an upset as No 6 Joe Cope sunk No 4 Aravind, winning the sixth and seventh sets 11-9 after seeing Aravind move ahead by taking the fifth 15-13 in a see-saw match which saw Aravind 1-0 up, 2-1 down and 3-2 up.

Top seed Siraj started with the only 4-0 result of the round, over Artur Veeck Caltabiano, while it was 4-2 for both Israel Awolaja over Sam Chesterman and second seed Smith over Matthew Daish.

Walsh again saw a 3-2 lead evaporate in Round 2, this time at the hands of No 10 Veeck Caltabiano, who won the decider 11-4.

Boonyaprapa and Aravind both went to seven again when they met each other, and the outcome was different for both as Aravind, who was 2-1 and 3-2 down, won 4-3 – 11-5 in the decider.

The top two both won again – Siraj against No 9 Chesterman and Smith against No 7 Awolaja, both 4-1. Cope was the other unbeaten athlete, overcoming eighth-ranked Daish in six.

In Round 3, Walsh belatedly got his campaign up and running and ended Cope’s unbeaten start in the process. Again it went to seven, Walsh finally taking it 12-10 after Cope had saved three match points at 10-7.

Aravind also kept up his record of every match going to seven, notching an impressive victory from 3-1 down against Awolaja, taking the last three games by match 8, 8, 8 scores.

Smith overcame Chesterman 4-1, and it was the same margin for Siraj against Daish and Boonyaprapa against Veeck Caltabiano – though the latter was extended to 16-14 and 14-12 in the third and fourth.

Walsh kept his momentum going in Round 4, recovering from losing the first to Daish to take the next four.

Aravind had the luxury of a 4-0 scoreline, defeating Veeck Caltabiano, and it was also 4-0 for the top two, Smith beating Cope and Siraj defeating Awolaja with no alarms in either case. Boonyaprapa twice came from a game behind to overcome Chesterman in six.

The final round was rudely interrupted by the fire alarm – the result of Awolaja inadvertently hitting an emergency button with his elbow as he swung from the back of the court.

It obviously upset the system as the alarm sounded again for a few seconds later on – and an umpire’s timer malfunctioning and refusing to be silenced further added to the interruptions.

Amid the chaos, Siraj started like a house on fire against Cope, romping to 3-0 up and completing a 4-1 victory.

And it left him out in front on his own as Smith’s unbeaten record was ended by Boonyaprapa, by a 4-1 margin. It was also 4-1 as Daish picked up his first victory, over Veeck Caltabiano.

And so to the two seven-set specialists. Aravind was the victor over Chesterman, who came so close to recording his first victory as he fought back from 3-1 down to level.

And Walsh also made it four deciders in five matches, but was on the wrong end of the scoreline against Awolaja – who was clearly not alarmed by his mishap.

Day 2

Siraj and Patterson hit gold standard


Mollie Patterson won all nine matches – though not without alarms in some – to take the gold medal after winning silver and bronze in previous years.

She recovered from match point down to third seed Sarah Menghistab and then two games to one behind against second seed Megan Gidney in her final match to emerge as a worthy champion, with Gidney taking silver.

Menghistab came from 3-2 down in her final match against fourth seed Tiana Dennison to secure the bronze.

The champion said: “I’m really pleased to have won a gold this year after getting bronze and silver the last couple of years.

“I tried to feel no pressure and go into every match the same and beat the player in front of me.

“I just tried to stay cool and relaxed and play my game and in the difficult moments just have belief in myself and confidence in my abilities.

“I’ve got a couple more years at this level so, hopefully, more golds to come.”

Patterson was quickly into her stride in the day’s first round against Katie Holt, the first match to finish in four straight, soon followed by Lois Perryman picking up her second victory in four against Lisa Rinnhofer.

Menghistab kept her medal campaign going, 4-2 against Amelia Chan, as did Gidney in five close games against Danielle Kelly. Dennison almost came unstuck against Sophie Barlow, who led 3-1 and had chances to win before Dennison took the decider 11-9.

As the top four began to play each other in Round 7, the medal picture became clearer. At the top, Patterson continued her serene progress in four straight against Dennison to put one hand on the gold, but the battle behind her saw the second and third seeds serve up a marathon.

Menghistab, the lower ranked of the two, had Gidney searching for answers and seemingly short of confidence as she took a 2-0 and 3-1 lead. But the second seed found her game again and clawed back to level.

The decider was always close, but Menghistab will be kicking herself on two counts – wasting a match point at 10-9 and then serving off via the net at 10-11 to present the victory to Gidney.

The other three matches were all decided in six and there were some crackers among them, not least as Chan eventually overcame Barlow, with two games going to 15-13 and one to 14-12.

There was a 17-15 game as Kelly notched a victory over Perryman – though it was to be Kelly’s last involvement as a knee injury saw her have to default the last two matches. The other tie saw Rinnhofer compete but come away empty-handed against Holt.

Patterson remained unbeaten in Round 8 but it was oh-co-close as Menghistab again almost upset the rankings. She came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to lead 3-2 and, after Patterson won the sixth at a canter and opened a 5-1 lead in the decider, it looked like a decisive momentum shift.

But Menghistab fought back and both players had match points before Patterson took it 14-12.

That meant Gidney’s 4-2 win over Dennison set up a gold-medal match against Patterson – the beaten athlete and Menghistab left to contest bronze in their own meeting in the final round.

Chan had a real tussle with Perryman, recovering from losing the fifth 19-17 to go 3-2 behind by taking the next two games. Holt overcame Barlow 4-0 in the other tie of the round.

So to the medal shootouts, and victories for Patterson and Menghistab. In the other two final-round matches to be played, Perryman ended with a 4-1 defeat of Holt and Barlow withstood a comeback by Rinnhofer to win 4-3.

Final standings: 1 Mollie Patterson, 2 Megan Gidney, 3 Sarah Menghistab, 4 Tiana Dennison, 5 Amelia Chan, 6 Katie Holt, 7 Danielle Kelly, 8 Lois Perryman, 9 Sophie Barlow, 10 Lisa Rinnhofer


Shayan Siraj won with a match to spare, but the top seed still went on to complete a perfect record by defeating James Smith in the final round.

Smith had enough in hand to still claim silver, ahead of sixth seed and bronze medallist Joe Cope by virtue of having beaten him on day one.

Cope emerged from a clutch of players to be in contention for medals, finishing the competition strongly with four wins out of four today.

Siraj said having been knocked out in the first knockout round at the Nationals had spurred him on.

He said: “It feels good to win. After the Nationals, I worked on a few things that I was weaker on in my game and I think that’s why I performed well here.

“It doesn’t make up for the Nationals because that’s the big one, but it’s obviously still good to win gold.”

Back in the first round, Ethan Walsh retained his outside interest in the medals by beating Sam Chesterman 4-0.

Apart from that, it was 4-1 all round including for the top two – Smith overcoming Artur Veeck Caltabiano and Siraj defeating Naphat Boonyaprapa – and for Cope against Israel Awolaja and Gaurav Aravind against Matthew Daish.

Round 7 saw some pivotal matches and at one point it looked as if the competition was about to be blown wide open by Aravind, who led unbeaten Siraj 3-1 in the last match to finish before the lunch break.

The top seed, though not aware at that stage that other results had gone in his favour, took a big step towards gold as he turned it all around to win 4-3 – an amazing fifth five-setter for Aravind in the competition.

The other results created a log-jam behind Siraj, with Smith, Boonyaprapa and Aravind on five wins and Walsh and Cope on four.

Walsh hadn’t shown his best form consistently thus far, but he picked up a great win over Smith, though the 4-0 margin was nowhere near as one-sided as it suggests. Cope joined him on four victories with a 4-2 triumph over Veeck Caltabiano.

Boonyaprapa’s 4-0 win over Awolaja was pretty routine, while it was a bit closer, though still four straight, as Daish picked up his second victory by overcoming Chesterman.

Siraj made sure of the gold in Round 8 as he shook off Walsh in six, while Smith stayed in the medal frame with a strange-looking 4-2 win over Aravind, twice reacting to losing a set by blitzing through the next, including the final game 11-0.

Daish’s win over Boonyaprapa in a decider – coming from 3-2 down – meant the race for bronze was still uncertain going into the last round, with Cope beating Chesterman 4-3 to also keep himself in the hunt. Awolaja overcame Veeck Caltabiano in four.

With Siraj completing his perfect record, the final round was also notable for Cope beating Boonyaprapa 4-2 to seal bronze for himself and prevent his opponent from taking it.

Aravind was out of contention thanks to his 4-1 defeat by Walsh, while Awolaja ended with a 4-1 victory over Daish.

And there was a happy ending for Chesterman as he beat Veeck Caltabiano in five to notch his first victory.

Final standings: 1 Shayan Siraj, 2 James Smith, 3 Joe Cope, 4 Ethan Walsh, 5 Naphat Boonyaprapa, 6 Gaurav Aravind, 7 Israel Awolaja, 8 Matthew Daish, 9 Sam Chesterman, 10 Artur Veeck Caltabiano

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