Warwickshire County Cadets 1st Team 2023

The Warwickshire County Cadet 1st team took part in the County Championships Premier Division at Wood Green Table Tennis Centre, Wednesbury, on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th March 2023. With seven other counties to play, Warwickshire fielded a squad of four boys and three girls each day.

Saturday: Chun Wai Sheung (Starry), Rex Wong, William Hopkins, Aarif Li, Man Nga Chan (Mia), Sum Monica Chang (Monia) and Cheuk Lam Agnes Liu (Agnes).

Sunday: Chun Wai Sheung (Starry), Rex Wong, Wajid Wafiq, William Hopkins, Man Nga Chan (Mia), Sum Monica Chang (Monica) and Cheuk Lam Agnes Liu (Agnes).

Lancashire: won 6-4

After the first 5 matches, Warwickshire were in the lead 3-2. Aarif beat Fraser Massey 3-1, Will beat Luke Govier by the same score line. Monica lost 1-3 to Brooke Morris. Mia battled against Isabella Hamer to win 3-2, whilst Starry lost to Louis Cheung-Turner 2-3. In the reverse matches, the Lancashire girls got the better of Mia and Monica; Aarif levelled the score back to 4-4 with a win against Govier. Starry beat Massey 3-0. The final match was Will against Cheung-Turner, and what a match this proved to be. Will fought back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 (7-11, 6-11, 16-14, 13-11, 11-8) to give Warwickshire the win.

Surrey: won 8-2

Despite the scoreline appearing to be a convincing win against Surrey, this was not the case. Four boys’ matches went to the fifth set, and Warwickshire won all of them!
Rex Wong beat Angad Saggu and Noah Byrne-Smith 3-2, Aarif also beat Byrne-Smith in 5 sets, and Will beat Saggu 12-10 in the decider. Will and Aarif beat Oscar Nikolli 3-0. Mia beat Caron Charles 3-0, whilst Agnes won 3-1, however, Chui-Que Wong (with her pen hold pimple style got the better of both girls). The Warwickshire players showed a lot of fight and resilience to battle through these close matches to record their second win of the day.

Derbyshire: won 6-4

Another dominant performance from the Warwickshire team, with Starry, Rex and Aarif winning all six matches against Dylan Ufton, Billy Shi and Winston Hill. Naomi Coker (number 5 Cadet in England), and Millie Noble got the better of both Agnes and Monica, who played well against such strong opposition, and gained valuable match experience.

Nottinghamshire: won 10-0

Sunday started with an excellent performance against Nottinghamshire. Starry, Rex and Will beat the respective boys, George Goodwin, Eddie Fletcher and Samuel Batty, for the loss of just two ends (which were won by Fletcher in each of his matches). Agnes and Monica both beat Adele Brown and Jessica Tansur, the latter particularly awkward playing with long pimples. It was great to see the girls performing with greater confidence.

Cheshire: won 8-2

The match against Cheshire followed on Sunday morning. Starry beat Sam Davies and Conan Lee; Rex beat Davies and Ben Keeley; and Wajid Wafiq beat Lee and Keeley. All matches were won 3-0. Agnes beat Chantelle Leather 3-1; but lost in a close 5 set thriller to Savannah Yuen (8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4, 13-15). Mia also dominated her match against Leather winning 3-0 (11-3, 11-3, 11-2), however lost to Yuen 1-3.

Middlesex: lost 2-8

Middlesex were the next opponents for Warwickshire. Will lost in 5 close sets to Sam Gabriel (11-5, 9-11, 5-11, 12-10, 5-11) whilst Rex demolished Janak Shah 3-0 (11-2, 11-6, 11-1) which was a great result. Middlesex’s girls Jonabel Taguibao and Mia Lakhani (ranked 3 and 4 in England) were exceptionally strong and experienced players. Mia managed to take a set off Taguibao, but all four girls’ matches went to Middlesex. Starry lost in 4 close sets to Max Radiven (9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-14), a match with many fantastic strokes and rallies from both players. Will was also on the end of another 5 set lost against Shah (6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 7-11), and played some of his best table tennis. Despite a strong performance from Rex, Radiven won 3-0. Starry successfully beat Gabriel 3-0 (11-7, 11-1, 11-8). Middlesex were unbeaten throughout the weekend and finished as the Premier Division Cadet Champions.

Essex: won 9-1

The final match of the weekend was against Essex. Warwickshire required at least a draw to finish the competition in second place. The players stepped up to the challenge in true Warwickshire style. Rex beat Charles Donald 3-0, whilst Will beat Harrison Hill 3-0. Mia fought back from 1-2 down to beat Ellianna Burridge, an awkward player with pimples (11-6, 12-14, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4), whilst Agnes beat Evie Knappen 3-1 (7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 14-12). Starry dominated a 3-1 win against Adam Alidhai (11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5). In the reverse matches, Will and Agnes beat Donald and Burridge 3-1 respectively. Knappen recorded a win against Mia. However, a team 9-1 win was secured with 3-0 wins for Starry and Rex against Hill and Alidhai.

The effort and team spirit of the Warwickshire players was outstanding throughout the weekend. I am so proud of all the players for their success in finishing second in the Premier Division; an amazing result!

I would like to thank Alan Buttle for umpiring on Saturday, Michael Rinnhofer for corner coaching on Sunday, Ian Scott for organising the team and coaching on Saturday, and all the parents for their support throughout every match.

Kate Hughes
March 2023