2020 U11 Champions Crowned After Long Delay

24/06/21: The all Berkhamsted U11 final from the 2020 National School Championships was finally played yesterday.

Paul Bowden reports:

The Under 11 Final of the Schools Championships for 2020 – yes, 2020 – took place on the morning of 23rd June 2021 at Berkhamsted Prep School. Although Under 11 matches are normally the best of three games, as the boys were now considerably more than 11 years old, it was decided to play the best of five.

Unusually each pair had a right hander and a left hander and the two pairs were very well matched. In the first game neither side could get a clear run of points, the cutting was sharp and focused and not too many cuts were returned. The score progressed 6 all, 7 all, 8 all, 9 all and the almost inevitable 10 all. At this point Louis and Archie managed to nose ahead to take the game 13-11.

After the break the two Oscars had a change of tactics, returned more cuts and with some accurate play to the buttress built a 6-0 lead. Having been 8-1 behind, Louis and Archie set about retrieving matters, getting to 6-8 fairly quickly after which the game progressed much as the first, 8 all, 9 all, 10 all and with step set on 11, almost inevitably 11 all. The Oscars clinched the vital point relatively quickly to level at one game all.

In games three and four, although, they were tightly contested, the Oscars were behind only once, briefly, at the beginning of the fourth game and they closed out the match 12-8, 12-9. The consistency of Oscar Blasco and the athleticism of Oscar Sheinman proved just too much for the neat but slightly less consistent all court skills of Archie and Louis. I’m sure they will have many further great contests in the years ahead.

As well as the high standard of play, all four players should be congratulated on their outstandingly courteous and respectful behaviour on court – lets were freely offered but rarely taken and the players made every effort to give their opponents space - which reflects well not only on them but also on their coaches.