Wednesday 20th January 2016, By Phil Gwyther
The Under 11 boys and girls livened up a quiet morning at the Pembroke Shuttles Tournament where a small but skilful group took part. There were still some excellent games as these youngsters showed there is plenty of talent coming through. It's always nice to see seven year olds competing with such promise and if there was a "Spirit of The Tournament" Award then tiny Sian Ellis Jones from Carmarthen would have waltzed off with it! (Sorry - there isn't one!). Brother Eshaan and Amay Patil again put in a good performance with both getting to their semi finals before losing. They came third in the doubles with a couple of close finishes that could easily have gone the other way.
On the down side, this was the first time ever, the under 13 boys event did not take place. This meant 11 year old Arnav Patil had to play in the under 15 but he was no push over for any of the older boys and can be pleased with his performance.
Hannah Douglas and Maisie Kite held the fort for Pembrokeshire in Under 11 and under 13 girls and both won medals for their efforts
Probably the distance to Pembroke put some off, but that was not the case in the afternoon as thirty under 15 and under 17 players put on a great competition with many excitingly close finishes. There was a high number of matches with losing scores only a couple of points away, and many talented players were only just edged out of finals. Probably the most note-able of these was under 17 boys where Declan Beech lost once, 23-25 in his pool to end up as runner up; and then lost 20-22 in the semi-final. Couldn't be any closer.
Tomos Jones and Haverfordwest's Will Hughes maintained their grip on the rankings in this under 17 event in both singles and doubles. Dan Kite pushed the much older boys all the way in that under 17 group. Dan is still under 13 group but because he is in a Welsh squad, the rules dictate he must compete at that level. He got to the semi-final before losing to Club-mate Will Hughes.
Under 15 Boys was also very strong and an enjoyable event to watch. Pools of five gave lots of games to savour. Swansea's Dafydd Hughes in only his second shuttles tournament took gold in singles and will shoot up the rankings for that, while third ranked Ewan Price lost to him in the final and his points will apply pressure to the two above him. He beat top ranked William Jowett in a close match in the semi and then joined a scratch pair to get to the semi's in the doubles. A good afternoon's work. Rakshith Vijay got to the semi before losing to the eventual winner, Dafydd Thomas in a nail biter.
The doubles final was an all Pembrokeshire affair with Tom Ablitt and Ashwin Gunasekaran entering their first shuttles tournament of the year and getting to the final. The greater experience of Rakshith Vijay and Daniel Kite edged them out.
This was again a case of two talented pairings gaining their first ranking points of the season together and just goes to show what could be achieved if pairs could only stay together and enter more tournaments.
Some late cry offs in the girls under 15 still left a good pool of five and Haverfordwest's Chloe Douglas's battle with Cherisse Lau for the top spot in singles rankings continues. This time there were only two points between them with Cherisse on top. They combined to comfortably win the doubles. Jasmine Owen had a great game to beat the eventual winner Cherisse in the pool, but she relaxed too much for other games and ended up third behind Chloe.
Above from left to right - Ashwin, Tom, Rakshith and Daniel did us proud by making it an all Pembs Final in what was a high standard under 15 doubles event.
Right - Chloe, below Hannah and Masie all added to their treasure chest of gold medals.
Below, Haverfordwest's Will Hughes (centre) with Tomos and Frazer show what big guys some of these teenage boys are. They were six foot a long time ago with no signs of stopping. I'm just glad I don't have to keep buying their new shoes!!