South East and Midlands bank gold at School Games

Author:
Paul Stimpson

Publish date:

Please note - this news article was published more than five years ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

Midlands boys, South East girls and Wales disability squad took gold medals as the team events at the Sainsbury’s School Games came to a thrilling climax.

Click here to scroll to girls’ team report

Click here to scroll to disability team report

Boys’ team

Sam Mabey, who helped the Midlands team to glory

Midlands gained revenge over South East for their dramatic 4-3 defeat by the same opponents in last year’s final in the best possible manner with a 4-0 victory.

But the one-sided scoreline hid the reality of a hard-fought and high-quality tie in which at least two of the individual matches could have gone either way.

The tone was set when Tom Jarvis got the better of Danny Lawrence in a rollercoaster opening match in which Lawrence twice fought back to level.

With the volume of encouragement getting louder both on court and from their team-mates, it was Jarvis who held firm to take the decider 11-8.

Next up were Sam Mabey and Marcus Giles and again the South East man fought back to level after losing the opener. This time, though, the Midlands player needed only two more sets as Mabey kept his opponent at arms length to win in four.

Alex Ramsden is becoming something of a five-set expert and his match against Gabriel Achampong duly went the distance. Ramsden led 1-0 but then found himself 2-1 down as Achampong sensed a chance to close the gap.

But the Northampton left-hander launched a stunning fightback to level with an 11-6 set and then took the clincher 11-9.

The Midlands were by now bouncing, so it was little surprise when Jarvis and Mabey took the first two sets of the doubles, though at 13-11 and 12-10 it was far from easy.

Lawrence and Giles were not giving up without a fight, though, and closed the gap by taking the third end 11-7.

But the Midlands’ team roused themselves to take the next 11-2 and spark scenes of jubilation in the team’s camp.

An indication of things to come had been seen in the semi-finals as South East, who had won all their matches on the first day 7-0, were given an almighty fright by Wales. That was despite taking a 2-0 lead as Lawrence beat Jac Jenkins in five and Giles saw off Ryan Oyler in three straight.

Marc Castro put the Principality back in it with a four-end defeat of Luke Savill, and Jenkins and Oyler then triumphed in five in the doubles against Giles and Lawrence to make it 2-2.

When Oyler took the first against Lawrence, it looked as if the shock result was really taking shape, but the Englishman dug deep, levelling and then taking a pivotal third 16-14. Lawrence duly closed out the match 12-10 and Savill’s three-set win over Jenkins completed the 4-2 overall scoreline.

In contrast, Midlands enjoyed a much easier ride against South West, winning 4-0, although Ramsden needed his trademark five to see off Daniel McTiernan.

In the play-off for third and fourth, Wales comfortably beat South West 4-1.

Girls’ team

The winning girls squad of (front) Tin-Tin Ho and Hiba Feredj and (back) Lois Peake and Ella Patel

South East retained their title as the squad of Hiba Feredj, Tin-Tin Ho, Ella Patel and Lois Peake twice came from a match down to beat South West 4-2.

Last year’s individual champion Maria Tsaptsinos gave South West a winning start with a four-set win over Peake, but Ho levelled by beating Jazmin Johns in three.

Letitia McMullen put South West back in front with a four-end victory over Patel, but again their opponents responded as Ho and Peake won the doubles in three straight.

The clash between Ho and Tsaptsinos was always likely to be a key determining factor in the destination of the gold medals and it proved to be a high-quality match as expected.

Ho opened a 2-0 lead before Tsaptsinos took the third 11-6. The fourth was nip and tuck as the South West girl fought hard to level, but Ho just had the edge to take it 12-10.

With South East in front for the first time, Peake was not about to let the advantage slip and she saw off McMullen in three straight to complete the victory.

Both teams had cantered through their last-four clashes 4-0, South West without dropping an end against Northern Ireland, and South East against Wales – though Beth Roberts took Feredj to five.

Northern Ireland completed the podium, beating Wales 4-2 in the play-off for third and fourth.

Mixed disability team

The Welsh squad of Lawrence John, Ashley Wray and Cellan Hall took the gold by virtue of countback after a thrilling end to the competition saw three teams end level on 13 points.

Wales, going into the final round of matches in third place, beat North East 2-1 but knew the destination of the gold rested on the result of the match between South East and Midlands.

Midlands needed to preserve their unbeaten record to take the title, but fell behind when Jed Thirkettle beat Thomas Spicer in the standing disability match.

But it was all square when Archie Taylor won the learning disability tie against Daniel Williams.

So it came down to the wheelchair match between South East’s Nicko Anderson and Midlands’ Daniel Bullen. Anderson took the first end 14-12 but Bullen won the next 11-5. Bu the South East athlete stepped it up, claiming the next two 11-7, 11-6 to not only deny Midlands but to put Wales on the top step of the podium.

Results

Boys’ team final
England South East 0-4 England Midlands
Tom Jarvis (Mid) bt Danny Lawrence (SE) 3-2 (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8)
Sam Mabey (Mid) bt Marcus Giles (SE) 3-1 (11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8)
Alex Ramsden (Mid) bt Gabriel Achampong (SE) 3-2 (11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9)
Jarvis/Mabey (Mid) bt Lawrence/Giles (SE) 3-1 (13-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-2)

Girls’ team final
England South East 4-2 England South West
Maria Tsaptsinos (SW) bt Lois Peake (SE) 3-1 (11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5)
Tin-Tin Ho (SE) bt Jazmin Johns (SW) 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 14-12)
Letitia McMullen (SW) bt Ella Patel (SE) 3-1 (11-2, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2)
Peake/Ho (SE) bt McMullen/Tsaptsinos (SW) 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-5)
Tin-Tin Ho (SE) bt Maria Tsaptsinos (SW) 3-1 (11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10)
Lois Peake (SE) bt Letitia McMullen (SW) 3-0 (13-11, 11-8, 11-3)

Disability standings
1st Wales
2nd Midlands
3rd South East

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