TABLE TENNIS: Grantham club players trained by national coach

England national coach Matjaz Sercer demonstrating serve techniques to on-looking Chandlers players.
England national coach Matjaz Sercer demonstrating serve techniques to on-looking Chandlers players.

Training at Cliffedale Chandlers Table Tennis Club was a little different on Saturday.

Not only was it extended in length, but the club also had a special guest in the form of Matjaz Sercer, former head voach of Grantham College Table Tennis Academy and now an England national coach who also has amongst his responsibilities overseeing the development of Cadet and Junior players for Table Tennis England.

Cliffedale Chandlers at the Dysart Park Family Fun Day.

Cliffedale Chandlers at the Dysart Park Family Fun Day.

The day started for the 38-strong contingent with a two-lap run around the perimeter of The Meres leisure centre, just to loosen the limbs for what would turn out to be an intensive day of training.

The run was followed swiftly with a quick game of Top Table which was designed to get the competitive juices flowing, before the attendees were split down into smaller groups to start working on improving different aspects of the game, ranging from serve and receive to tactics and serves.

The five-hour training session was the second to be held this season and will go some way to helping the selection process for the clubs’ National Cadet and Junior league teams for the upcoming season that starts in September.

On the day, two stand-out players were selected not only for their skills on the table but also for workrate, effort and attitude. Steffi Popa (Priory Ruskin) received the girls’ nomination and Tom Konarski (Kings School) got the boys’ vote.

Club chairman and head coach Darran Leete said: “It’s fantastic the effort these kids have put in. We didn’t tell them there was a national coach coming down. A few have had the chance to work with Matjaz before so when they saw him they knew what was to be expected from them and they all raised their game.

“We are grateful for his time as Matjaz is a much in demand coach with a heavy schedule.”Club coaches Peter May, Tim Bridle, Cathy Steeples, Susie Dilloway and Alex Mercer were also in attendance with Darran.

The weekend didnot end there for the Chandlers troupe.

The following day they were out and about in the community at the 10th Annual Dysart Park Family Day, where they had a small band of volunteers manning their stall that consisted of a full-size table in addition to a ‘Robot’ (a machine that fires ping-pong balls to replicate an opponent) and, like at the carnival a few weeks ago, it proved extremely popular with young and old alike.

Club coach Tim Bridle said: “It’s good to get out and let people see what we do. There are lots of people who didn’t even know there was a great club like us in the town.

“We don’t just encourage kids to come along, table tennis can be played by the young and the more mature.”

+ Cliffedale Chandlers hold four sessions a week at The Meres leisure centre – Tuesdays 7-9pm, Fridays 7-8.30pm and Saturdays 12-2pm and 2-4pm. Sessions are open to all ages and abilities.