End of an Era at Chelsea Academy
An All-Barnes Final in the ESTTA South London Ping ChampionshipsJon Kaufmann – 8th February 2018
In another remarkable day in the history of Barnes table tennis, the Under 11 ESTTA South London Individual Championships final was an all-Barnes affair. It was no great surprise that Annie Williams should reach the final given her powerhouse display at Bristol at the weekend. She won the South London Championships last year and she had every intention of getting her name on the trophy for a second year running. The real surprise came from fellow student, Anna Hall, who also swept into the final with a fine display of bank-hand blocking that wore down her attacking opponents shot by shot.
Anna had had a difficult tournament in the South of England Championships in Bristol, and it was wonderful to see her bounce back with such confidence and poise. In fact, such was her focus and confidence that she took the first game against last year’s winner and at times looked like she might go on to win the entire match. But one thing the London table tennis world has come to expect from Annie Williams and that is her unflinching determination whatever the circumstances. It was precisely this determination that, despite Anna’s best efforts, saw Annie force her way over the finishing line to claim the gold medal once again. A first and second place for Barnes Primary and its all systems go for the Jack Petchey London Finals in June. And for Annie, its more intense training as she prepares herself for the highly prestigious Under 12 Masters tournament next month.
Special congratulations to the rest of the Barnes squad; Emily, Gabriella, Orlando, Oscar, Hamish and Fraser, all of whom picked up some notable victories with Hamish just missing out on a semi final place by the cruel arithmetic of a games countback. The whole squad can take much satisfaction from their efforts and they will be fully motivated for the next round of the National Junior League which takes place on the 17th March in the London Academy. In fact, Orlando has already signed up for a special table tennis training camp in the half-term holidays run by the former England champion, Darius Knight. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Elsewhere, the Barnes Year 4 table tennis squad ( Max, Piran, Alf and Guy), fresh from their impressive victory at the last round of the NJL, are certainly taking their table tennis commitments seriously. Turning up to extra training sessions at the Chelsea Academy every Friday evening, they are developing those winning ways so notable in previous Barnes teams. With a silver and three bronze medals from the National School Finals already in the Barnes trophy cabinet, could this be the squad of players to go one better and bring home the national gold medals in two years time. Judging by their work rate, one would be foolish to bet against them.