– Melville and Thomas share female spoils
JONATHAN Van Lange used a mixture of maturity and shot selection to unravel his opponents en route to defending his titles, while Crystal Melville ended the reign of Thuraia Thomas as U-18 female champion, after she had lost to her in the U-15 final in the National Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
As if it was scripted, the finals of both the male and female U-15 and U-18 battles, on Sunday, were played by the same four individuals, but unlike the girls who shared the spoils, 13-year-old Titans TT Club player, Van Lange triumphed in both his finals when he faced nemesis, Kaysan Ninvalle.
In the U-15 clash, the 14-year-old female players gave their all. Thomas battled back from two games down to beat Melville. Melville had a chance to close the game after winning the openers 11-8 and 12-10, but she lost the third 10-12. With momentum on her side and a victory under her belt, Thomas went on to win the next game to even the match, before she won a tense last game at 12-10.
Earlier, Melville had defeated Nkechi McRae 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-4), while Thomas had gotten the better of Jasmine Billingy 3-2 (5-11, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11 and 11-5).
In the U-18 final, the game also came down to the wire, but this time Melville was the victor. She won 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 2-11 11-6 and 11-7).
In the semi-finals, Thomas defeated McRae 3-1 (11-0, 11-4, 9-11 and 11-4), while Melville got the better of Billingy 3-1 (9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8).
In the boys U-15 final, Van Lange kept his composure and took calculated risks to sweep Ninvalle 3-0 (11-9, 11-8 and 11-8).
Earlier, he had defeated Caribbean Mini and Pre Cadet bronze medallist, Colin Wong 3-0 (11-5, 11-9 and 11-7), while Ninvalle had gotten the better of Krystian Sahadeo 3-1 (11-9, 12-10, 11-13 and 11-7).
In the U-18 final, Ninvalle kept battling and ending up winning one of the games, but Van Lange was too good as he succeeded 3-1 (11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6).
In the U-18 final four, Van Lange, who was flawless in all his games, had defeated Jamal Nicholas 3-0 (11-8, 11-9 and 11-7), while Ninvalle had gotten the better of Niran Bissu (11-9, 11-6 and 11-8).