Ben Watson: Table Tennis - continued excellence

Following a string of impressive performances earlier in the season there has been no rest for Grosvenor’s Year 9 pupil Ben Watson of late. On 16th February Ben competed in the prestigious ‘Ormeau Junior Open’, a provincial event with 750 Ulster ranking points available for the winner, which is open to all players in Ulster and this year also attracted entries from players from Dublin. At the event Ben comfortably won his four group stage matches 3-0,  progressing to the quarter finals where he played Ormeau teammate Senan Sheridan. Again winning this match 3-0, he progressed to the semi- finals where he met Alex Lo. After a tough opening game, which he lost 21-19, Ben went on to win the next 3 sets 11-3, 11-4 and 12-10. In the finals, meanwhile, he met another Ormeau player - Matthew Mooney. Winning the first two sets 11-7 and 11-5, Ben narrowly lost the third and fourth sets 11-9 and 12-10 before the game went to the 5th set, where Ben emerged victorious by 11 points to 4. 

In addition, on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd March, Ben competed in the ‘Junior National Championships’ - a renowned event in the Irish table tennis calendar, where Ben topped his group without losing a set, progressing through to Round 2 where he met three Munster players and comfortably won all of his matches 3-0. In the quarter finals he next met Ulster player Troy Lucas and, after some close games, again won 3-0. Despite such impressive form, however, Ben unfortunately lost his next match but finished the competition with a bronze medal in Under 13 boys – still a most commendable performance. In addition Ben also played the Under 15 boys competition for experience and finished second in his group 1 matches, only losing one match to the eventual bronze medal winner. In the second round Ben also scored a good win, which placed him in the playoffs for 9th-16th position, where he eventually was placed third in Band 1 (11th overall) - a good result amongst high quality competition.

Finally, Ben has received the news recently that Table Tennis Ulster have selected him to attend a National Welsh Training Camp, scheduled to take place over the dates of 16th, 17th and 18th of April 2019. This will be a fantastic opportunity for Ben to experience coaching from some of the UK’s top coaches. The camp will be led by multiple Commonwealth medallist Ryan Jenkins and his team of coaches; Ben is one of only three mini cadets selected from Ulster to attend this training, which will see the Ulster team training alongside the Welsh cadet team, who are two years their senior.

Well done to Ben on his continued excellence and we look forward to reporting on many more of his successes over the remainder of the season and beyond. 

Ben Watson (far left), winner of the Ormeau Open Under 13 event, with Matthew Mooney, runner up, and Club coach Trevor Knox.