Milnthorpe schoolgirl is a backgammon star

The Westmorland Gazette: Kate and her father John Watton during their game Kate and her father John Watton during their game

A 16-YEAR-OLD old girl reached the semi-final of the inaugural Lake District backgammon championship, in her first ever competition.

Kate Watton, a pupil at Dallam School, Milnthorpe, was stopped from reaching the final by Midlands open champion Ian Hesketh, from Edinburgh, in the contest at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel.

He then lost in a close and thrilling final to Newcastle’s Graeme Turner, who carried off £100 in prize money, a free weekend at the Cedar Manor, and a signed copy of The Wind of Change, by backgammon journalist Chris Bray.

Kate, an A level student who hopes to study English literature at Durham University, defeated her father, John, in an earlier round.

Ian Hesketh said: “She should be very proud to do so well in her first tournament. She was in a field that included players who travel the world competing.”

In another family affair, Staveley’s Robbie Altinyollar reached round two while his father, Farit, was beaten by Ian Hesketh in the opening round.

The contest was organised by Cedar Manor owner Jonathan Kaye, who was knocked out in the first round by Kate.

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