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Payet becomes 1st Cadet National Cup champion

Denise Payet and James Smith kept 100% records across nine gruelling matches to become the first Cadet National Cup champions.

Cadet Girls - Day 1

Denise Payet leads the way after day one, with the fifth and final round of the day proving pivotal.

That was when Payet had her biggest test after four previous 4-0 victories, when her opponent Amelia Chan fought back from 2-0 down to level. But Payet stepped on the gas and took the next two to complete her unbeaten day with a scoreline of 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3.

Meanwhile, the previously unbeaten second seed Charlotte Bardsley was being beaten in seven by fifth seed Mollie Patterson in a superb match which attracted a clutch of spectators. In the end, Patterson took it on her second match point 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10.

It was Patterson’s third seven-game match – and she won them all to ensure she goes into the second day in equal second with Bardsley.

Back at the start of the day, the top four seeds (Payet, Bardsley, Jasmin Wong and Gaur Duhan) had routine starts, dropping only one game between them in the first round – Sophie Barlow taking one off Duhan.

The closest match saw Patterson and sixth-ranked Chan go the distance, Patterson winning it 4-3 (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8) on her fourth match point.

The second round saw the first upset as Barlow, ranked seventh, outplayed third seed Wong 4-1 (11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Meanwhile, Chan came from 3-1 down to defeat fourth seed Duhan 4-3 (7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-8) on her fifth match point.

Wong bounced back to beat Chan in four in the third round, when Katie Holt got off the mark by beating Jemma Walker in five.

And Duhan ended the 100% start of Patterson in six, staving off a fightback to take it 11-7, 11-6, 13-11, 8-11, 12-14, 11-5.

Round four saw Payet and Bardsley continue to make serene progress at the top, while Patterson again went the distance, this time against Wong, leading 2-0 and then trailing 3-2 before upping her game in the decider to take it 11-8, 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3.

Tiana Dennison won her first match as she got the better of Holt 4-0 (14-12, 14-12, 11-4, 11-4).

The day’s final round saw a second victory for Dennison, while Barlow sunk Holt in seven (11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 17-15, 5-11, 3-11, 11-7).


Denise & Amelia
Denise & Amelia Before the Start of Their Match

Day 2

Denise Payet could have been beaten to the title had she lost to Charlotte Bardsley in the final match, as although Payet had 100% record so far, a loss to Bardsley would have made them equal on points and Bardsley's head to head win over Payet would have elevated her to pinch the title.

In the event, once Payet had taken the first game 14-12, she was able to pull ahead and take the next three 7, 5, and 6.

“I’m happy that it’s my last year at this level and I was able to win,” said Payet. “It’s a hard tournament – you have to really keep your concentration and focus, but it’s a really good tournament and helps to prepare for European competitions.”

Payet had begun her day by making short work of Mollie Patterson, the No 5 seed who had beaten the other top two seeds on Saturday. But she could not repeat the feat against Payet, who took it 4-0 (5, 4, 5, 11).

Bardsley got herself back on track with a 4-0 win of her own over No 4 Gauri Duhan (6, 0, 7, 7) as the top two begun to asset themselves.

And there was a win in a deciding game for No 6 Amelia Chan, who from 3-1 down finally overcame No 9 Katie Holt 4-3 (13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8).

Payet found Duhan a tough nut to crack in Round 7, eventually prevailing 4-2 (11-3, 5-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9). Patterson had a more routine 4-0 scoreline against Holt, while Bardsley beat Wong 4-0 – though the scoreline of 12-10, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9 tells the story of a close match.

And Chan was taken to seven by Tiana Dennison, who saved match points in the sixth, before Chan clinched it 4-3 (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-2).

Holt picked up a good win over Duhan in Round 8, finishing it off 11-1 in the sixth, while Sophe Barlow saw off Chan, also in six, to set up a bronze medal match with Patterson. It was all routine for Payet and Bardsley against Wong and Walker respectively.

While Payet was rounding off with that 4-0 win over Bardsley, Patterson was defeating Barlow in four to secure second place by virtue of her 4-3 victory over Bardsley on Saturday.

The last match to finish saw Dennison claim the scalp of Duhan in six.

Amelia finished a creditable sixth place, matching her seeded position, all bodes well for the future.

Final Scoresheet


National cup winners
Denise Payet 2nd left with the Cadet Girls National Cup.
L. to R. - Scarlett O'Neil, Denise Payet, Thomas Rayner and James Smith (picture by Alan Man)


Cadet Girls
All of the Cadet Girls, Amelia & Denise Top Row 1st & 2nd Left

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