Joint celebration of table tennis in Grantham

Tom Harvis versus Gavin Evans in an exhibition match. Photo: Nix Pix UK
Tom Harvis versus Gavin Evans in an exhibition match. Photo: Nix Pix UK

A celebration held by local table tennis organisations to commemorate 25 years of the Table Tennis Centre and 50 years of table tennis coaching in Grantham were held at The Meres leisure centre on Saturday, and was very well attended.

The event was organised by GAPS (Grantham Table Tennis Academy for Primary and Secondary Schools) with assistance from Cliffedale Chandlers TTC and Grantham and District Table Tennis League, and partly funded by a grant from the Big Society Fund from Lincolnshire County Council.

Tom Jarvis, Kelly Sibley and Gavin Evans with some members of Cliffedale Chandlers Table Tennis Club. Photo: Nix Pix UK

Tom Jarvis, Kelly Sibley and Gavin Evans with some members of Cliffedale Chandlers Table Tennis Club. Photo: Nix Pix UK

The event was attended by many players, past and present, young and old, and the highlight of the day was the Hard Bat Ping Pong Tournament (sponsored by Avanti Windows) which was free to enter and open to all-comers.

There were three age groups: Primary school, Secondary school and an Adult section, with all having a main and plate competition.

Results: Primary main – 1 Jake Crane, 2 Edward Day, 3 Joseph Marlor; plate – 1 Emily Winfield, 2 Billy Auckland, 3 Edward Hobbs. Secondary main – 1 Ashley Willows, 2 Aalhad Kulkarni, 3 Benjamin Rigby. Adult main – 1 Adam Ellis, 2 Jane Ellis, 3 Simon Raistrick; plate – 1 Shaun Bradley, 2 Mark Hobbs, 3 Rebecca Day.

Medals were presented by the day’s special guests Kelly Sibley (ladies’ national champion, Team GB member and newly appointed table tennis head coach at University of Nottingham) and Gavin Evans (winner of 40 national titles and newly appointed head coach at Grantham College Table Tennis Academy).

Also joining them was up and coming star Tom Jarvis who was selected as reserve player for the Team GB table tennis squad and joined them in Rio for this year’s Olympics. Tom also has a connection with the sport in the town as he regularly trains at Grantham College and The Meres.

They also handed over a cheque for £150 to Karl Bullimore, who was diagnosed with stage four advanced bladder cancer in October last year, to go towards funding his treatment.

After the presentations were done and dusted, the trio put on a series of fantastic exhibition matches which wowed the crowd.

The event was rounded off with a free buffet and table tennis stories of yesteryear.