Withington & Malik Victorious At British Junior Championships
31 Oct 2022
The 2022 British Junior Championships came to its conclusion on Sunday, with top seeds Finnlay Withington (Lancs) and Torrie Malik (Sussex) lifting the Boys and Girls U19 Don Sanderson trophies in Sheffield.
The U19 boys final saw top seed Withington face the number two seed Jonah Bryant (Sussex) for the title, a pairing that was part of the winning England team at the WSF World Junior Team championships earlier this year.
Bryant started the stronger of the two, and took the first game on a tie-break 13-11, before then furthering his advantage after a gruelling second game tie-break. In a game that had 34 points, it was the No.2 seed from Sussex that claimed it 18-16. However, Withington was not to be denied; the Lancastrian fought back to win both the third and fourth games by an 11-6 score line, before then taking the final game 11-7.
Withington said: "Great weekend trophy hunting. I'm really happy to slide across the line and so much credit to Jonah for a tough final. I couldn't do it without my support team, so thank you!"
He was joined in the winners' circle by Torrie Malik (Sussex), who got the better of No.2 seed Asia Harris (Yorks) in the Girls U19 category to secure her fifth British National title. Like the boys' final, the first two games both went to tie-breaks, but it was Malik that came out on top. She claimed the first 15-13, before a 12-10 score line in the second also went her way. Malik then confidently sealed her victory with an 11-7 in the third game.
Malik said: "I'm so happy to have claimed my fifth British National title, especially as it's my last one as a junior! I can't thank Team Malik enough for the constant support. This win was for you Sumner, I love you millions."
The Girls U17 final was yet another that went the distance, with top seed Amelie Haworth (Hants) getting the better of Ellie Breach (WAL) in a fifth and final game. Haworth found herself behind after three games, but fought back, dropping just nine points over the last two games to secure the victory. She was joined by Alex Broadbridge (Hants) as the U17 winners, as the Hampshire man lost just eight points against Archie Turnbull (WAL) in the Boys U17 final.
A thrilling five-game battle came in the Boys U15 final, as top seed Ronnie Hickling (Surrey) got the better of Ismail Khalil (Warks) to take the crown. After winning the first game on a tie-break, Hickling then found himself 2-1 down, but a quick-fire 11-1 win in the fourth saw him draw level. He then went on to take the deciding game 11-4.
Mariam Eissa (Warks) caused an upset in the Girls U15 category at Abbeydale, as she defeated top seed Emily Coulcher-Porter (Bucks) to lift the trophy. Eissa won the first two games with an 11-6 scoreline, before losing out in the third. She regrouped, though, to win the fourth 11-5 and take the title.
Top seed Zack Greengrass (Sussex) was victorious in the Boys U13 final. He led twice in his match-up with No.2 seed Ali Khalil (Warks), including taking the third game 12-10, but saw the Warwickshire man fight back. Greengrass eventually got over the line, winning the fifth game 11-7.
The Girls U17 title went to Ameerah Ismail (Warks), after she beat 3/4 seed Phoebe Griffiths (Hants) in the final. Griffiths had downed top seed Fearne Copley (Yorks) in the last four, but she was unable to keep that form going into the final. Ismail won in four to secure the victory.
One of the more interesting match-ups on finals day in Sheffield saw twin brothers Finley and Oscar Brown (Leics) go head-to-head for the Boys U11 prize. In the end, it was top seed Finley that beat Oscar to take the title, winning two tie-breaks in a four-game battle.