End of an Era at Chelsea Academy
Ashburnham and Fox both take Silver in National TT Championships.Eamon Brennan – 11th May 2016
A great day for the RBKC and a great day for the newly formed primary school federation of Fox and Ashburnham, as both schools took the silver medals in the English Schools Table Tennis National Team Championships at the weekend in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Collectively this is a massive achievement, and one that has no precedent. For the girls of Fox Primary, this was just one more success in a long series of medal wining performances over the past five years.
Fox Primary can now boast one gold, two silver and two bronze medals at these prestigious school championships. But for Ashburnham Primary this was a truly spectacular result having only started their table tennis project a mere two years ago. And it should be added that both schools came tantalisingly close to winning gold, both missing out on first place by a single game.
As always there was a highly charged atmosphere in the hall, as parents, teachers, school governors and coaches gathered to watch their youngsters perform under intense pressure. Being the 50th anniversary year of these school championships, expectations were particularly high. And the young players did not disappoint. Overcoming overnight anxieties and match-day nerves, Fox and Ashburnham set about their task with real character and determination.
For Ashburnham, Harry, Abed, Boubacar and William locked horns with Bramley Sunnyside from South Yorkshire, Lincroft School from Bedfordshire and the Park School from Dorset. By the final round, all four teams had one win and one loss to their name. Had Ashburnham been able to convert their final 4-4 draw with Bramley Sunnyside into a 5-3 win, it would have been Ashburnham walking away with the gold medals. It was all down to a few points either way. And in a painful reminder of just how close the tournament was, Ashburnham noted that they had actually beaten the eventual winners, Park School earlier on in the day.
It was a similar nail-biting story for the Fox girls. As expected; Rose, Valentina, Nadia, Louise and Colette, had reached the final match of a group of five schools undefeated, but so too did Great Wood School from Lancashire. It was high noon at Hinckley and the Fox girls battled away for a heroic 4-4 draw but it was not to be enough. On a games count-back Great Wood took the day by the single game and Fox had to be content with a highly creditable silver medal. Equal first on points, but second on a games countback. Sport can be so cruel.
As the dust began to settle on yet another highly successful campaign for the RBKC table tennis stars, it was left to Federation head coach, Jon Kaufman, to sum up the day’s proceedings:
‘We should not underestimate the skill, hard work and sheer determination of our young players who continue to bring so much credit to themselves, their families and their schools. To even reach the national finals is a tremendous achievement, but to consistently be among the medal winners is a remarkable achievement indeed. One they can cherish for years to come. But recognition should also go to the whole organisation behind these successes; the parents, the school staff and the whole coaching team. And without the support from the head teachers and the PE coordinators, nothing much could be achieved.’
So it’s hats off to Mr Cotter, Bella Street, Alvaro, Ollie, Maggie, Charleigh, Natasha, Eamon and all the parents who, along with Epic Sports, Chelsea Academy and the RBKC sporting team, continue to lay the foundations for further success. And we may not have to wait long for that moment as Rose Bourdier, Arianna Di-Giammarino and Harry Derecki compete in the English Schools Individual Championships this coming weekend in Wolverhampton. We wish them luck.