Bolanos steps up to clinch West Midlands qualifier

Ricardo Bolanos
Ricardo Bolanos

Three Leamington Free Church players tasted success at the West Midlands Inter-Regional Qualification tournament at Wood Green to qualify for May’s Inter-Regionals in Kettering.

Lillington Free Church’s Ricardo Bolanos shrugged off the disappointment of a third-placed finish in the under-13 boys’ event to win the under-15 category.

Despite losing a close five-setter in the group, Bolanos progressed to the knockouts where he beat Nathan Birch and Kyle Day to set up a final with Jake Price, who had beaten his Free Church clubmate Nikit Sajiv in the last four.

In the final, Bolanos produced some fine table tennis to go 2-0 up and despite dropping the third, he cruised to an 11-6 success in the fourth to take the title.

In the round-robin under-15 girls’, Lillington Free Church’s Ciara Hancox was triumphant with five wins out of five.

It was not all plain sailing for Hancox, though, with her first match of the day against Kirsty Maull going the distance after she found herself trailing by two sets. Hancox went on to win the fifth and deciding set 11-9 from 5-1 down.

The final Leamington winner of the day was in the under-11 girls’ event where Erin Darwen of Lillington Free Church slowly improved throughout the day to clinch the crown.

In a round-robin group of four, she dropped the opening set of her first match against Megan Jones before battling back to level the match with a 12-10 win in the second. She then held her nerve to win the next two to nine and eight.

She went on to beat Teertha Nitin in four before capping an excellent day with a comfortable 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 success over Anya Sompura.

The three title winners will be joined in Kettering by fellow Leamington & District League players Eduardo Bolanos (Lillington Free Church), Sophie Rinnhofer (Colebridge), Sajiv, Emily Beasley (Lillington Free Church ) and Angel Chen (Rugby).