12-year-old Jake Haygarth took part in the Zagiping Open last week in Zagreb, Croatia, As part of an 11 strong England squad. The Zagiping tournament is in its 66th year and this year saw over 780 player from all over Europe compete on 50 table across teams and singles events.

This was Jakes First international tournament and exceeded all expectations. The team event saw Jake and teammate Tom, having to go through a pre-qualifying 3 round knockout event to reach the group stage. The boys received a bye in the first round and then beat a team from Serbia 3-0 in the second round before facing a Romanian team in the final round. The boys manged to come up 3-2 winners in the tightest of margins 11-9 in the 5th sets in the doubles to reach the main group stages.  There they beat a Croatian side 3-0, the next match was vs another Romanian side who beat the boys 3-0 and went on to win the team event against England 1. The final match saw another 3-0 loss to a Serbian team this put the boys in the 9-12th position out of 48 teams.

The singles again saw pre-qualification event with Jake having to win a group of 3 and a knockout match to make the main groups.  Without dropping a set Jake delivered some high-level table tennis to reach the main groups.  The main groups saw Jakes form continue winning the group including beating the 4th seed for the event. This saw Jake in the last 32 where he didn’t stop also winning that match and beating a Serbian international player in the 16 to reach the quarter finals where unfortunately Jake run was ended by the eventual winner.

“the event was a real spectacle, both that many young players but also the standard of play, Jake level just seemed to increase with each match and was playing some of his best table tennis ever by the end of by the tournament” said Matt Porter coach at Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club, “He knew there was no easy matches and had to be on it every point to win, He’s done fantastic in his first international event”

Bishop Auckland Table Tennis club runs sessions every night of the week for all ages and abilities and new players are always welcome, if you fancy learning or getting back into the sport check out the club’s webpage www.bishopaucklandttc.co.uk or call Matt on 07411018856