Morecambe’s Bethany Ellis picked up a bronze medal as she took on the best young players in the country at the Under-12 National Cup in Blackpool.
The Table Tennis England competition sees the top 10 players in the national rankings play each other in a round-robin format over two days and is one of the toughest events on the national calendar.
Ellis was seeded second and won all five matches on the first day, including a 3-0 (11-4, 11-5, 11-9) defeat of eventual silver medallist Rachael Iles.
But three defeats on day two meant she finished in a three-way tie for third place – and she took the bronze on sets difference. Ellis was also one of only two players to take a set off top seed and gold medallist Maliha Baig, who beat her 3-1 (11-13, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8) in the final match.
Bethany said: “I was a bit worried I’d missed a medal so I’m really happy and proud to get one. It’s very tough because they are all the best players in the country. My best performance was against Rachael.”
Ripley St Thomas School pupil Joseph Dennison also qualified for the event and was seeded fourth in the boys’ competition.
He recovered from a slow start to finish with five wins out of nine, losing his first three matches to lower-ranked players, but winning five of the next six, only losing to top seed and runaway winner Ollie Maric-Murray on day two.
He also beat second seed Joseph Cooper 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3) and third seed Lennon Maughan 3-1 (12-10, 14-12, 12-14, 12-10) as he finished in sixth position.
The 11-year-old said: “It’s difficult because you’re playing the top 10 in the country and everyone can beat everyone.
“My best performance was probably against Joseph Cooper.”