14 junior/cadet players competed in the 5 round Singles championship and separate Precision Shooting championship organised by PE’s National Youth Squad (NYS) held at The Plough, Langford (Chiltern Region) on Sunday 27th March.
It was great to see some new players competing, including Sam Rattue, who has only been playing since last summer. Despite his inexperience he took on some of our top players and showed a great attitude and heaps of potential. Our Benjamin/minor group (4 rounds) was an all-female line-up including Shanna Edgar who is now becoming a regular on the NYS scene and is developing her skills nicely.
The standard of play was exceptionally high this year with many games worthy of a senior championship event. One of these games was Marc Franco versus Soeli Leverett. Soeli displayed consistent precision pointing on a difficult terrain forcing Marc to dig deep and use his extensive range of skills to their fullest. This game went right to the wire where Marc just edged forward with a 13-12 win.
Archie Zimmerman and Angus Hamilton flew the flag well for the 2018 B squad finishing in 4th – 5th place respectively. Archie missing a podium position on points difference with 4 wins +8 (lost to Davy Blyton 10-13).
The final medal placings were:
Gold Medallist & NYS Singles Champion Kai Sheffield – 5 wins + 25
Silver Medallist Jamie Brooks – 4 wins +33 (lost narrowly to Kai Sheffield 10-13)
Bronze Medallist Marc Franco – 4 wins + 24 (lost to Archie Zimmerman 8-13)
Kai displayed an excellent range of pointing and shooting skills whilst displaying a focused and calm approach to every game. His desire to win was clear but he still showed respect to his opposition offering them praise for their good play and at times support when things did not go so well. A truly deserving winner.
In the younger group it was a close-run thing with only 2 points separating 1st and 2nd place:
Gold Medallist Ella Slade – 3 wins +19
Silver Medallist Francesca Evans-Jones – 3 wins + 17
Bronze Medallist Jane Geddes – 3 wins +10 (a fantastic achievement as this will be her first full year playing.
Kai Sheffield once again dominated with a fantastic score of 34 in the qualifying round. Davy Blyton put out another impressive performance with a qualifying score of 26. Joint 3rd in the qualifying round with 19 was Ella Slade and Marc Franco. These four players have been invited to compete in the PE England Youth Precision Shooting at the Inter-regional Championships at Hayling Island in September, sponsored by Pen-Y-Coed Pétanque. If these players are unable to attend the next in line are Jamie Brooks 16 points and Liam Floyd 15 points.
The final medal placings were:
Gold Medallist Kai Sheffield (Shoot-out score 26)
Silver Medallist Davy Blyton (Shoot-out score 12)
Bronze Medallist Marc Franco
Both Kai and Davy conducted themselves really well in the final. Kai put the pressure on from the start taking the lead 8-6. A non-scoring 2nd round proved costly for Davy when Kai produced another 8 points. Davy won the 3rd round 3-2 and the 4th round 3-3 but the final round went to Kai 5-0. Davy, although chasing throughout, showed a good composure and mindset but Kai’s form on the day was outstanding and would have proved a big challenge for anyone.
Benjamin/Minor Precision Shooting
After the qualifying round Ella Slade held the lead with her score of 19 with Francesca Evan-Jones second on 10 points and Leah Hutchinson third on 3 points.
Gold Medallist Ella Slade – 15 points
Silver Medallist Francesca Evans-Jones – 8 points
Bronze Medallist Leah Hutchinson
Tony Gates, our lead NYS Coach said, “I am immensely proud of Ella after having a wobble with nerves to re-compose herself, shake Francesca’s hand and continue to compete. This took tremendous courage and she should be commended. Francesca, in a difficult and slightly bewildering situation remained calm, composed and unflustered. She somehow managed to balance compassion for her competitor with focus on her task at hand, a truly remarkable young lady. I would also like to mention the Southern Counties supporters who fully embraced the NYS ethos and after round 2 vocally encouraged and supported Ella as well as their own player (Francesca). The NYS works very hard to protect our youth players and give them the right balance of support and exposure and this show of support was very much appreciated.”
Congratulations to all our young players and our coaches for making this such a successful day. We are always on the look-out for new young talent and we encourage all of our clubs and regions to put the NYS in touch with young players.