University College School targetting national table tennis glory

University College School's U13 table tennis team has reached the final four of a national tournamen

University College School's U13 table tennis team has reached the final four of a national tournament. - Credit: Archant

A school in Hampstead is ready to claim national glory at a major table tennis tournament.

The U13 Boys’ team from University College School is heading to the Hinckley Leisure Centre on Saturday after battling through local and regional finals to reach the finals of the English Schools’ Table Tennis Association Butterfly National Team Championship.

Over 270 teams, all of them already county champions, set out on this journey with just 32 teams qualifying to take part in one of the eight events which make up the Finals.

Success in their zone final in January was followed by a regional final in Bournemouth, one of four around the country, at which the team of Toby Crawcour, Ben Barbarash, Josh Imber, Joseph Abrahams and Jacob Zakaim, all aged either 11 or 12-years-old, emerged as comfortable winners against teams from Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Somerset.

To take the final step to become Butterfly National Schools’ Champions the team will need to be at their very best at the Finals to overcome opponents from Ernest Bevin College (Tooting Bec), St. Mary’s College (Hull) and Longfield Academy of Sport (Darlington) in what will inevitably be a series of tough, tense encounters.

Crawcour said: “The team ethos is it doesn’t matter if you lose or draw, every points counts. We think more about playing for the benefit of the team and want to play more tournaments and get more experience, learning which shots are the right ones to play.”

UCS teacher Jonathan Diver said; “I am immensely proud of what the boys have accomplished and the way they support each other as a team.

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“They have all shown great resilience in their losses and have been modest in the victories.”