Earley Brothers on fine form at STIGA Banbridge Junior Challenger

A fantastic Challenger Tournament was held at Banbridge Table Tennis Club on Saturday 14th December 2013.

Young players from all over Ulster assembled in Banbridge to take part in the Stiga Junior Challenger Table Tennis Competition with players travelling as far away as Donegal and Monaghan. The event was sponsored by Stiga and Fitzgerald’s Table Tennis Shop in Dublin. Arnold Morgan was the event Referee and was assisted by John McFaul on the day.

The emphasis was on fun and participation.  In Ranking terms, the top 15 Boys at Junior Irish level and the top 8 at Cadet level, and Girls ranked in the top 8 at Junior level or the top 5 at Cadet level were excluded from entering this tournament. The round robin format ensured players had lots of games against opponents of all levels from novice through to some of the rising stars in the sport. 

Division 1 was hotly contested with the dangerous duo from Glenburn of Zak & Thomas Earley and Aditya Subramani from Valley TTC. In an absorbing match of blistering attacking shots from Zak and sublime returns from the defender Thomas Earley, it was the relentless attacking shots from Zak that prevailed to beat his twin brother Thomas. Aditya Subramani earned bronze defeating Conor Nugent in an exciting battle.

The home club Banbridge TTC tasted success in Division 2 with their star protégée Matthew McClimonds claiming gold in this division, defeating his Banbridge team mate Scott Dale in the final of this division. For both players, this was the highest result recorded in a Challenger event, and Club Head Coach Arnold Morgan can be very pleased with their achievements. Emyvale TTC player Eanna Fields excelled to finish in 3rd position in this competitive division.

Donegal’s Erin Pyper was dominant in Division 3 defeating the Valley’s Julian Kelly and Niall Connolly in straight sets to win gold. Julian Kelly was in fine form to defeat Emyvales Niall Connolly to win gold with Connolly claiming bronze. Special mention must go to seven year old Sophie Earley from Glenburn who topped the ‘b’ division in this category and finished in 16th position overall on the day. A fantastic result for Sophie.  

Another young protégée won Division 4, with 8 year old Joel Smith (Ormeau TTC) claiming his first tournament win. Joel defeated Christopher Curry and William Orr in pulsating matches with Curry just pipping Orr into 2nd position.

Division 5 was a hotly contested division with Valley TTC player Kaiwen Liu coming out on top. Rory Pyper from Donegal in his first Ulster tournament played magnificently to finish in 2nd position in this division with Matthew McLaughlin excelling to finish in bronze position.  

For many players, this was their first real taste of an Ulster competition, many of whom are relatively new to the sport. Tournament referee Arnold Morgan praised the players on the standard of play and thanked the various clubs and parents for transporting the players to the tournament.

Stiga Banbridge Junior Challenger Results

Division 1

1 Zak Earley

2 Thomas Earley

3 Aditya Subramani

4 Conor Nugent

5 Ryan Drayne

6 Danny McKenna

Division 2

7 Matthew McClimonds

8 Scott Dale

9 Eanna Fields

10 Connor Smith

11 Eoghan McCloughan

12 Fiona Drayne

Division 3

13 Erin Pyper

14 Julian Kelly

15 Niall Connolly

16 Sophie Earley

17 Ben McMillan

18 Lucy Johnston

Division 4

19 Joel Smith

20 Christopher Curry

21 William Orr

22 Oliver Loughridge

23 Wolfgang Muller

24 Alexander Baine

Division 5

25 Kaiwen Liu

26 Rory Pyper

27 Matthew McClaughlin

28 Mary McKenna

29 Luke Kelly

Special Mentions – Highest Finisher in Category

U15 Boys: Zak Earley

U13 Boys: Conor Nugent

U11 Boys: Eoghan McCloughan

U15 Girls: Fiona Drayne

U13 Girls: Sophie Earley