Gold and Silver at the Surrey Youth Games

20/06/10

Albury winning Surrey Youth GamesOur two strong Senior and Junior teams had a successful outing in this year's Surrey Youth Games. The Senior team beat a very strong and experienced Mole Valley side in a gripping final 3-2 to bring home the trophy; our Junior team drew with Tandridge in the final so it came down to counting the total amount of points gained in the match, unfortunately we lost out by eight points out of a possible of 126 and took a very well deserved Runners Up position.
 
Jon Deans and Sophie Walton in mixed doubles victoryIn the qualifying round, the Senior team had a shaky start in the first match against the defending champion Woking and we were edged out by 3 games to 2; this meant that we had to win all our games in our qualifying group to at least get through to the knock out stage.
 
The luck of the draw wasn't on our side when we had to face another reputed Spelthorne team in our second match; however, our nerves started to settle as the games went on and we won by 3 games to 2.
 
Albury players supporting team matesThe last win against Spelthorne set us on our strides and we then beat Tandridge 4-1 and then defeated Surrey Heath 5-0. However, this still did not guarantee an open path to the finals as we heard Tandridge went on to beat Woking 4-1; which meant it was a three-way tie (only two teams can advance to the knock out stage.
 
However, even though we lost to Woking 2-3, we accumulated more points than they did during that match thanks to some convincing wins and we had 96 points whereas Woking only had 80 points. In total in the qualifying stage, we stacked up an impressive 384 points out of a maximum of 420 points; having waited for the officials to count up all the points, we ended up having the most amount of points and went through as the top seed in our group; and Tandridge as second seed with 366 points.
 
Holly Nye and Jessica Baker happy with first tournament experienceArmed with full confidence in the semi-final, we dispatched Runnymede to set ourselves a place in the final against an experienced and intimidating Mole Valley team; who only dropped three games out of a possible of 20 in their qualifying group.
 
After the singles round, it was one game each so it didn't give either side an advantage; then it was the level doubles and yet again it was one game each so the title was all down to the mixed doubles. Patrick Maher and Sophie Walton were our mixed doubles pair for this match; thanks to a good start in the first half of the game, the opposition was under constant pressure to close the gap, at one point there were only two points in the margin but Patrick and Sophie's constant attacking play proved to be effective and won the last few points to bring home the trophy.
 
Junior team winning their silver medalsA massive well done to Jon Deans (c), Tess Glynne-Jones, Patrick Maher, Sophie Walton, Nick Weinstein, Holly Nye, Jamie Fernandez, Jess Baker and Katherine Raftis; who was lead by our Senior Team Manager Pat Maher Sr.
 
A landmark for our Senior team for bringing back home the Surrey Youth Games title after two years of it falling in the hands of the Woking side. Our last title success was in 2007 when we won the tournament without dropping a single match; last year came close when we were edged out by Woking in the final 2-3.
 
On the other side of the hall, the Junior team was lead by Lesley Ip. We weren't sure how the team would perform because five out of eight of our players have never played in a competitive environment before; and with such a big occasion of the Surrey Youth Games as their first ever tournament, everybody was nervous.
 
However, the hard work and the long preparation paid off and the team started off very impressively beating Spelthorne 4-2 in the first match, and then beating Mole Valley 5-1 to set ourselves a place as the top seed within our qualifying group.
 
We then faced Elmbridge and our earlier wins set us in good spirit and we won 6-0, we now had one more opponent between us and the title in the final, the opposition was of course none other than the defending champion Tandridge.
 
In the first round of the singles, Tandridge proved to be too strong for us and they took the first two games, it wasn't looking good for us; however, in the second round of singles, Joyal Shenny and Isabelle Noakes were fast and powerful on court and proved that our team had depth as well as strength and we took the next two games. This was now two games each and we were down to the last two games of the level doubles.
 
After 15 minutes of long rallies, we both won one game each so the final was a tie, which I believe had never happened before, so it was down to counting points. Unfortunately, Tandridge had eight points more than we had but it was a very well-deserved silver medal for all our Junior team players.
 
Huge congratulations to Oliver Christie, Lydia Ip, Joyal Shenny, Isabelle Noakes, Archie Parish, Francesca Allen, Harry Lewin and Precious Nemedia. A very bright future for our young players.