TABLE TENNIS: Grantham club ends year with a flourish

Steffi Popa and Lucy Bridle showing off their trophy haul along with other members of the magnificent seven and club coaches Darran Leete, Alex Mercer and Tim Bridle.
Steffi Popa and Lucy Bridle showing off their trophy haul along with other members of the magnificent seven and club coaches Darran Leete, Alex Mercer and Tim Bridle.
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Clffedale Chandlers Table Tennis Club recently played host to the ESTTA Lincolnshire Schools Individual event finals, held at their home venue at The Meres leisure centre.

After some outstanding table tennis throughout group and knockout stages, the finalists were decided who will go forward to the ESTTA National Individual finals held at Aldersley Leisure Village, West Midlands, in May next Year, with a lot of the club’s players making it representing their schools and colleges.

They were: U11 Girls – Lucy Bridle ( Cliffedale Primary); U11 Boys – Jake Crane (Barrowby); U13 Girls – Steffi Popa (Priory); U13 Boys – Flynn Connolly (King’s); U16 Boys – Benjamin Rigby (DRET Charles Read); U19 Boys – Matt Leete (Grantham College); U16 Girls – Darcie Proud (DRET Charles Read); U19 Girls – Hannah Ward (DRET Charles Read).

The following weekend saw many Chandlers players representing Lincs in the Cadet County Championships in both Draycott, Derbyshire, and Gainsborough.

In action in Gainsborough, Lincs Cadets first team went within a whisker of gaining promotion to Division 1 but finished runners-up behind a strong County Durham side, with a 5-5 draw against Warwickshire and three wins against Norfolk (9-1), and Staffordshire and Suffolk (both 7-4).

Alexandra Robinson (Waltons Girls) won six of her eight matches and Aalhad Kulkarni (King’s) chipped in with a couple of vital wins to keep the team’s hopes alive before a late surge saw Durham overcome Warwickshire 6-4 to clinch the title and promotion.

Meanwhile in Draycott, Lincs Cadets 2nd found the going tough but put in very credible performances, but ultimately finished sixth in Division 2B.

The final action for the calendar year took place again in Gainsborough, this time at the Blitz TTC 2 star competition.

The club had seven players competing and all performed extremely well – Benjamin Rigby (DRET Charles Read), Ben Johnson, Viren Panchal, Ashley Willows, Jai Mistry-Moulton (all King’s), Steffi Popa (Priory) and Lucy Bridle (Cliffedale Primary).

Viren Panchal and Ben Johnson made the semi-finals of the Junior Boys Plate, while Jai made the U13 Boys Plate semi.

But the day belonged to the girls with Steffi making the U13 Girls semi-final, finishing runner-up in the Cadet Girls Plate and winning the Junior Girls Plate. And not to be outdone by her club county colleague, Lucy won the U11 Girls and was runner-up in the U13 Girls Plate.

The club also provided umpires for the competition – Alexandra Robinson, Ben Johnson, Tim Bridle, Benjamin Rigby, Hannah Winfield, Ashley Willows and Alexander Mercer with most officiating a final.

To cap off a fantastic weekend, Grantham College and club player Matt Leete won the Men’s Band 2 and finished runner-up in Band 1 at the Cardiff GP.