Starting off a great week of sport for Duval, on Monday 3 June our school table tennis team travelled to Moree to contest the North West regional final of the Combined High Schools inter-school knockout competition.
The core squad of six Duval students has been training hard since March. Year 12 students Dean Heffernan, Anil Rajanathan, Sam Oliver and Alex Wojno have had to balance HSC study with multiple sporting and other commitments; whilst our younger players, Noah L'Hostis and Angus Gasbarri of Year 8, have won their places on merit, competing with senior students on an equal footing. The whole squad has made great progress in technique, all players able to call on consistent stroke play, utilising ball placement, spin and attacking flair. We have also needed strong match temperament and team spirit to win through thus far.
Dean, Anil, Sam and Noah were chosen for the team of four to travel to Moree Secondary College for the final. At number one, Dean made short work of his singles match 3 sets to 0, but Moree's number two narrowly beat Anil 3-2 to level the match. Sam won convincingly but again Moree drew level after a close-fought match in which Noah went down 2-3. In the doubles we were always quietly confident, however Dean and Sam had to fight for their 3-2 victory before Anil and Noah closed out the match for Duval in more emphatic style. Final result: Duval 4 defeated Moree 2.
Thanks to Moree for hosting the final in an excellent venue and with impeccable sportsmanship. We feel that the Moree students played above themselves to make for a very close contest with a few uncertain moments for Duval; in the same way that we had had to raise our game to win the previous round against Tamworth. Duval have now earned themselves a place in the State table tennis finals to be held at Sydney Olympic Park on Monday 24 June. Of the ten teams who will be there, James Ruse Agricultural High School must count as favourites given that two of their players have represented Australia in table tennis at the Youth Olympics. Our students are looking forward to the challenge!