On Sunday 19th January Mr Wallis and Mr Armstrong took a group of five table tennis players (Perry, Orlando, Callum, Ras and Robert) up to Eggbuckland Community College, Plymouth, to compete in the South-West regional finals of the English School’s Table Tennis Association’s National Competition.
Having won the Cornwall finals by virtue of being the only school competing, our only previous experience had been playing one another at school, so it was quite a shock to the system when we opened the doors of the sports hall and saw the standard of opposition we would be facing. The finest young players from Devon, Somerset and Dorset were all there and even warming up we could see that they were streets ahead of us in terms of technical ability and knowledge of how to play the game – our boys only began receiving coaching this term, whilst most of the players competing on Sunday had been training for two or three years.
Our first match against Somerset provided us with a steep learning curve, as we attempted to get to grips with the speed of our opponents’ play and their terrific use of spin. Put simply, the ball was not bouncing how we expected it to! The boys adjusted well though and whilst we lost most of our games, the difference between us and them got closer as time went on.
In the second match we took on the eventual winners, Dorset, and again the boys showed great commitment against extremely tough opponents. The improvement was there for all to see and was commented on by a number of coaches from other counties.
Our final match was a local derby, Cornwall vs Devon, and we certainly saved our best performance for the end of the day. An extremely tight and highly-entertaining match ended in a 4-4 draw.
This was a terrific event to compete in. We were by far the least experienced team, but the other counties (adults and children) were very friendly and encouraging towards us and we are now determined to make it back to Eggbuckland next year with a girls and a boys team – hopefully having qualified from a more competitive county event!