RYEDALE School batman James Rule can class himself the best table tennis player in North Yorkshire schools.

The teenager, who stars for title-chasing Ryedale ‘A’ in the Ryedale League, has again won his age group category in the English Schools’ Table Tennis Association’s regional qualifying event, this time at under-16s level.

His success at St John Fisher School, Harrogate, saw him qualify as the North Yorkshire representative for the national schools finals.

Rule comfortably won both of his group stage matches 3-0 at St John Fisher, before meeting Adam Waddington in the semi-finals.

Rule took the opening set and, although Waddington levelled at 1-1, the Ryedale starlet’s superior class came to the fore as he rattled off the next two sets 11-2 11-7 to set up a final against Tom Bouchard, from the host school.

The pair shared the points in a close opening game before Rule finally came out on top 11-9.

He took set two comfortably 11-4, making great use of his forehand, but Bouchard did not lie down and won set three 11-8.

But Rule began set four with purpose, taking the first seven points as he stretched his opponent around the table.

Bouchard came back with four quick points but Rule held his nerve to take the last four points for a 3-1 victory.

Meanwhile, Rule was on form as leaders Ryedale ‘A’ dispatched Ryedale ‘C’ 7-3 in Ryedale League division one.

Solid performances also came from Stephen Temple and John Flintoft.

Alec Hodgson, Ed Wardman and Peter Lee battled hard to win games for the ‘C’ team.

Amotherby ‘A’ beat bottom club Ryedale ‘D’ 9-1, Tom Needham and Gareth Bryning the men of the match.

Whitby lost 7-3 to Helmsley ‘A’ and Ryedale ‘B’ overcame Coneysthorpe ‘A’ 7-3.

The race for promotion from division two is intensifying.

Ryedale ‘F’, through John Gascoyne, Andy Paton and Barry Rudd, whitewashed Ryedale ‘E’ and overcame play-off contenders Coneysthorpe ‘B’ 6-4.

Swinton ‘A’ still have play-off hopes after holding table-toppers Hutton ‘A’ to a draw with good performances from Pat Swindell, Ray Mitchell and Russ Scott.

Helmsley ‘B’ eased relegation worries by beating Swinton ‘B’, who are struggling after the loss of Howard Mayne through injury.

That 9-1 win for Andrew Cavanagh, James Ellis and Phil Trevellyan dragged Amotherby ‘C’ closer to the drop as they lost 8-2 to Ryedale ‘E’, for whom Paul Cresswell starred.

Hutton-le-Hole ‘B’ boosted their promotion hopes in division three by beating Westow 7-3 thanks to fine performances from Andrew Chappell and Doug Annan.

For Westow, Colin Payne, John Clayton and Sara Winn-Darley all beat an out-of-sorts Mary Chappell.

Upbeat Amotherby ‘E’ saw Linda Clarke win all three of her contests including a 19-17 success in the fifth over Stuart Wright - but opponents FERA still won 6-4 thanks to Katha Heinrich (2), Stuart Wright (2) and Chris Richards, who edged an unlucky Ruth Wilson in five.

Ryedale Laundry are still top after beating struggling Hutton ‘C’ 8-2.

Coneysthorpe ‘C’s youngsters won for the fourth time this season. Tom Walsh was superb and James Allan on form as they beat Amotherby ‘D’.