TABLE TENNIS: Grantham school win coveted spot at national championships

John Mapletoft and the Cliffedale Primary School under-11 girls' team.
John Mapletoft and the Cliffedale Primary School under-11 girls' team.
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Cliffedale Primary School has once again won a coveted spot in the ESSTA Butterfly National

Team Championships, joining a long list of Grantham school teams to do so.

The girls’ under-11 team – Amber Halsey, Lucy Bridle, Ui-Sun Shin and Steffia Poppa – travelled to

Woodgreen Academy in the West Midlands to contest the Regional Finals last Sunday,

hot on the heels of their triumph in the Zone 4 Championship at The Meres leisure centre the previous month.

The girls saw off competition in the semi-finals from Humberside’s Coomb Briggs Primary,

before winning 5-3 before thrilling an audience of parents and coaches in the final against Uttoxeter’s Oldfields Hall Primary.

At the same competition, the Kings’ School under-16 team finished second to Northfield School and Sports College, from Cleveland, following their win at the Zone Finals in March.

The Cliffedale girls’ team will now travel to Hinkley to challenge for the National Championship in May and a win there would add them to the list of 10 Grantham school teams to have won the title since the championship’s inaugural season in 1967/8, a title that Cliffedale’s own team won in 2005.

l ESTTA (English Schools Table Tennis Association) holds both a team and an individual competition each year and Grantham area schools have an impressive record of contesting and winning these events throughout the histsory of the serries.

KGGS have won the under-19 title eight times and the under-13 crown once, whilst teams from Walton Girls’ who contested the finals in 2013 and 2014 finished second and third respectively, with Isaac Newton Primary fourth in 2014.

Grantham schoolchildren have also demonstrated a remarkable talent in the ESTTA Butterfly

Schools’ Individual Championships over the tears, with Suzanne Hunt (Belton Lane Primary), Lauren Springthorpe (National School), Emily Bates (Cliffedale Primary) and Steven

Davies (National School) winning six national championships between them, with both Emily

and Suzanne going on to play for England. Emily won 24 national titles during her career in table tennis.

And so Grantham has an impressive legacy to see continued by the town’s raft of emerging talent, most of whom will have started their love of the sport by joining after-school clubs run by volunteer coaches or by attending local table tennis clubs.

If you are interested in learning more about table tennis for you or your children, contact John Maplethorpe of GAPS Table Tennis Academy on 01476 565521 or visit www.cliffedalechandlers.org.uk