TABLE TENNIS is fast becoming a key part of school sporting activity in the Huddersfield area, and thanks to the investment of dozens of tables in many schools, youngsters are being given the opportunity to play the game.
The Huddersfield Table Tennis League is working closely with the Schools Sports Partnerships to capitalise on an upsurge in interest.
Sports Partnerships’ manager at Newsome Sports College is Linda Stacey, with the same roll at Holmfirth High School carried out by Brenda Hilton. Both are happy to give help and additional information to anyone interested.
Regular coaching and practice sessions are held each Thursday evening at Newsome Sports College, and coach David Wood has been impressed with how quickly many youngsters are developing a talent for the sport.
So much so that the League is hoping to ‘blood’ some of them in a proposed ‘summer league’.
Additionally the League is sending five potential coaches on a course next month to enable it to support local schools in their table-tennis sessions.
A major initiative next month will see the League hold an Open Day at Newsome SC on Saturday, April 18, when anyone interested in trying table tennis for the first time, or those who played many years ago but have lost touch, or those who have tried it at school or a youth club and want to learn more, can come along and see how they can get involved.
Open Day coordinator, Roger Morley said: “We hope to have something for everyone, with competitions, coaching, fun events, including ‘Beat the Robot’ and exhibitions by top players”.
Newsome SC B, one of this weeks featured teams, are one of the teams benefiting room the League’s co-operation with Sports College.
The squad of John and Jonathan Vaughan (father and son), together with David Johnson, are going well in this season’s competition.
Currently in runner-up position of Division III, with five more matches to play, they are being hotly pursued by Kingsmith Eng D so can expect no favours from this week’s opponents, Kingsmith Eng E.
When six players of known and comparable ability meet the result can usually be forecast to within a set, but it is surprising how often, while the result is as expected, the composition of its make-up goes awry.
Who would have predicted that Jonathan Vaughan, with his 78% average would have lost out to Kingsley Smith on 33% in the first set of the evening, or that having lost to Smith would later play a blinder to beat Steve Cook whose 87.5% average puts him among the leaders.
No one managed to win three, but four of the players (two from each team) won two each. With such equality of results, assessing a ‘man of the match’ performance could prove difficult, but for sheer determination and no little skill, the nomination must go to Smith. His effort was fantastic.
Having beaten Jonathan Vaughan in a set where he was almost always in control, then lost to John Vaughan, he played out of his skin to beat David Johnson in a brilliant final set of the evening.
Five games, 11 set points (five of them saved by each player) and 35 minutes of ever increasing tension.
Anyone can have one good performance but it takes two to make a great set – and this was it 12-10, 10-12, 11-13, 11-6, 19-17 to Smith.
Johnson also lost in four good games to Cook, who having held his nerve under pressure, improved as the set progressed.
John Vaughan teamed up with Johnson for the doubles and together they accounted for the Kingsmith pairing of Cook and Baxter.
This was a significant factor in Newsome B’s 6-4 victory.
Johnson’s one singles victory was against Jim Baxter where his crisp blocking and good forehand hitting down were increasingly successful.