Nine under 13 players represented Garnock Valley Table Tennis at the West of Scotland Minor Assessment on Sunday 22 April in Glasgow. With a great mix of ability and experience from Rebecca Plaistow, 12, the National U13 Champion to Leon Doyle, 7, playing in his first competition. The five girls and four boys played against their respective opposition to achieve an overall ranking position with support from Coach Sean Doyle assisted by Konnar Doyle.
The girls competition was exceptionally challenging with the top 3 girls in Scotland present. Another Garnock Valley first timer, Samantha Glass, found the going tough. Left hander, Samantha showed great composure at all times against stronger players. Elisha Masini who was in contention to finish towards the top of group 2 in the later part of the day couldn't take advantage of early leads, twice losing in 5 games deciders. Mhairi McGinley was unfortunate to have the Scottish number 2 Under 13 and two Scottish Under 12 reps in her pool. Mhairi never gave up but these vastly more experienced players proved far to strong. Rebecca Melrose almost let her top group spot slip with an early 5 game loss to Courtney Hamilton but quickly recovered with a straight 3 game victory over Lauren White who subsequently beat Courtney keeping Rebecca's top group placing hopes alive. Rebecca Plaistow was never really troubled in the morning session qualifying for the top group unbeaten.
In the final games of the day both Rebecca's lost to Emma Rhind but Emma's earlier losses to Jenny Yang and Nadia Docherty meant she was not in title contention. This set up a final winner take all match between Rebecca Plaistow and Nadia Docherty. Rebecca's couldn't produce her best with only 30% of her attacks reaping reward. Nadia from Knightswood took the title.
Kieran McMillan produced the best form of the boys finishing 2nd in his morning pool. Jack Fowler was disappointed with himself to finish 3rd in his pool and both Leon Doyle & Dylan McCoy were 4th. The afternoon groups were no easier although all the boys did taste the sense of victory. Celebration of the day award has to go to Leon, after this 7 year old realised he had won an end with a huge 'yes I won yelp' and raised arms in a victory lap of the table. Although he went on to lose the match against Dylan McCoy you couldn't wipe the smile off his face. Kieran's Group 2 qualification placed him against boys who play regularly in tournaments and leagues. He didn't let this daunt him and although winning the odd end wasn't able to produce a win in the afternoon. Jack Fowler fought every point in Group 3 competing for positions 17-24 but only came away 23rd. Dylan's victory over Leon in the 4th group was his only for the day but this ever smiling boy is keen to return next year with other Garnock Valley players to better their performances.
Girls: Rebecca Plaistow 2nd, Rebecca Melrose 5th, Elisha Masini 10th, Mhairi McGinley 11th, Samantha Glass 12th.
Boys: Kieran McMillan 16th, Jack Fowler 23rd, Dylan McCoy 27th, Leon Doyle 28th