Academy youngster James Parkin stormed to success over half term, taking the 18U Boys title at the Virgin Active Wearside February Open in Sunderland. More impressive was the fact that this was James's first 18U event, demonstrating his ability to compete with older, experienced competitors.
James said: "I got a bye in the first round as I was seeded, in the second round I beat Logan Cowan 5-4, 4-1. I played well, especially on the big points. That got me to the semifinals, where I played against the number 1 seed, Callum MacLeod. I gave a good all round performance, winning 4-2,4-0. In the final I played Louis Pickering. I got off to a confident start, winning the first set 4-0! In the second set Louis pushed me much further and he went on to win that set 4-2. I got off to a great start in the tiebreak and managed to win it 10-2. I was delighted with how I performed throughout the tournament and that I had managed to get the last two ratings wins that I needed to move up to a 6.1. Unfortunately the medal was delayed but I was presented with a box of Heroes...which didn't last very long!"
Academy coach James Newman said: "James is one of the most dedicated athletes at the academy, he takes part in a good number of squads and works closely with Adam Boba who has helped him to develop through demanding individual work. We are all proud of James and his title is a nice reward for a great young player".