Youngsters shine

Halifax TT Centre hosted the Stiga 2 Star Open on Sunday with homegrown third seed seed Matthew Stephens taking the spoils with a 3–1 success over Joe Pilkington (Southport) in the final.

That followed a very close 11–8 in the fifth victory over Abijay Mishra (Hull) in the semi-final.

In both matches, his blocking and counter hitting were very solid against good athletic loopers.

The contests were a great credit to the game with fierce long rally exchanges.

Stephens’ cause was helped as Pilkington put out top seed David Thompson (Sheffield) ranked No 30 in England in the quarter-finals and Halifax TTC’s Marcus Reynolds in the semis.

Reynolds had earlier taken the scalp of second seed Tom Hill (Wirral) with an emphatic 3–0 win, which is probably his best yet.

His looping, counter topspin and flat hitting forced Hill back from the table, which is a rare sight.

The win was Stephens’ fourth 2 Star Open Junior victory and perhaps he should now concentrate even more strongly on the 4 Star Opens which attract the Country’s top 20 players, especially after a good performance in the recent 4 Star at Stockton.

His recent performances have merited a call up for the Yorkshire Junior first team who are playing their first round of matches in Slough this weekend.

Stephens Daryl Gee and Michael Fraser of Hull as well as Pudsey players Nicole Finn and Ellen Auty as the team battle it out in the ETTA County Championships Premier Division.

The Yorkshire Junior second team are also in action this weekend and recent performances have earned Marcus Reynolds a call up as this team coached by Alan Dickinson travel to Burton for their fixtures

James Foster, Sam Clayton, Tom Bell and Ellen Auty had mixed results on Sunday, and Kristian Fearnley and Keiran-Lee Bowe gained valuable experience.

In Blackpool at the Palatine Centre, Matthew Shaw reported our development players recording success in the graded 1 Star Open.

Morgan Burton won the under 18 Boys while Alex Shaw took the under 15 title, beating Morgan en route.

Nine-year-old Felicity Raud achieved seven straight wins to claim the girls’ under 11 title putting her at number three in the Yorkshire/Lancashire area rankings.

Fraser Riley, Joe Fazakerley and Ben Fillingham had mixed results and will no doubt be back for the Leeds 1 Star and Blackpool 2 Stars in December.

Division One: HxTTC Grasshoppers A (I Tweedale 3, T Boyd 3, S Crowther 3) 9 HxTTC Panthers A (A Veal 0, D Bowers 0, S Forbes 0) 0, Greetland Social A (M Shaw 3, M Reynolds 3, J Mason 3) 9 HxTTC Hermits (M Kosmowski 0, M Holt 0, P McKrieth 0) 0

Division Two: Old Town Hares (C Edens 3, J Harris 3, P Ward 0) 6 HxTTC Grasshoppers C (P White 1, C Sherratt 1, D Briggs 1) 3, Greetland Social B (S Rathmell 2, C Lowson 2, M Fowler 3) 7 HxTTC Central 2 (D Blackburn 2, B Chapman 0, D Harwood 0) 2, HxTTC Oakland Raiders (T Hemingway 3, S Horrocks 2, R Wright 2) 7 HxTTC Rams (A Cowburn 0, D Mann 2, P Davis 0) 2

Division Three: Northowram ‘MJM’ (M Craven 3, M Halliday 2, J Wasilewski 3) 8 HxTTC Popp B (D Greenwood 1, P Davis 0, J Bottomley 0) 1, HxTTC Ramsbridge (J Schofield 3, S Hanson 2, D Stott 2) 7 HxTTC Popp C (T Sunderland 0, N Malik 0, J Collins 2) 2, Calderdale College Rainbows 2 (S Saber 2, M Chambers 2, Itty Sajjad 3) 7 Old Town Robins (J Sweeney 0, C Anker 2, C Scott 0) 2, Sowerby 2 (A Whiteley 2, P Parry 3, A Garnett 0) 5 HxTTC Senior Citizens (A Kershaw 1, M Mullins 1, B Chapman 2) 4, Old Town Hounds (R Tipton 2, G Ward 3, J Rickard 3) 8 Calderdale College Rainbows 1 (Vannthra Im 1, S Saber 0, R Alexander 0) 1