TABLE TENNIS: Grantham’s Leete finishes fourth in Junior National Cup

Matthew Leete. Photo: Michael Loveder
Matthew Leete. Photo: Michael Loveder

Grantham’s Matt Leete exceeded expectations and just missed out on a medal when he competed against the best players in England at the Junior National Cup last weekend.

The 16-year-old Cliffedale Chandlers and Grantham College Table Tennis Academy player was invited to the tournament in Milton Keynes because of his position near the top of the Table Tennis England rankings and took on nine other top players in a round-robin event.

Shaquille Webb-Dixon. Photo: Michael Loveder

Shaquille Webb-Dixon. Photo: Michael Loveder

Seeded ninth for the event, he won six matches, only losing to the top three seeds, and finished in fourth position.

The King’s School pupil said: “It was a lot better than I expected, finishing fourth when I was seeded ninth, so I’m pleased with how I played.”

It was actually one of his defeats that pleased Matt the most as he took two sets off winner Tom Jarvis, who only lost three over the whole tournament as he maintained a 100 per cent win record.

Leete lost that match 10-12, 12-10, 3-11, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11 and said: “I was pleased to get two sets off Tom Jarvis and I think if I’d won the first set as well as the second it would have been a close match.”

Emily Bolton. Photo: Michael Loveder

Emily Bolton. Photo: Michael Loveder

Alex Ramsden finished second while fellow Academy student Shaquille Webb-Dixon was disappointed not to perform to his standard at the event.

The 17-year-old was seeded sixth but won only two matches and finished in eighth position, leaving him to say simply: “I could have done better.”

Academy student Emily Bolton was delighted to win gold at the girls’ event. The 18-year-old was seeded first, but was surprisingly beaten by sixth seed Gauri Duhan – who went on to win bronze – on the first day.

But it proved her only defeat as she won all eight other matches to seal the gold, a 4-0 win over eventual silver medallist Charlotte Bardsley proving crucial.

Emily felt she had been under pressure to win the title in the absence of number one junior player Tin-Tin Ho, who was on duty with England at the World Championships.

Emily said: “I’m happy – it’s the first time I’ve won because normally Tin-Tin is here. After losing on the first day to Gauri, I had a lot of pressure to win all my matches on Sunday.

“I had Charlotte Bardsley first and winning that 4-0 gave me confidence for the rest of the day. I’m happy with how I played.”

Emily will be representing England at the Italian Youth Open this week and then has the PG Mutual National Championships later this month.