BANBRIDGE Table Tennis Club staged their first Club Competition on Friday night last at the King George V Pavilion in the town.
The evening took the form of a Doubles Round Robin event, where families for the first time got the chance to play in a team alongside their children or grand children.
Mums and dads witnessed at first hand the table tennis skills their children have been working so hard to develop, and in most cases had to depend on their young partners for technical advice on the rules and game tactics.
The 16 teams who took part were as follows - MJ Amateurs - Jordan Howard and Mary Hook; Good and Really Bad - Jake Howard and Mark Rankin; Team Brown - Niki Brown and John Brown; Team Whipped Cream - Nadia Benallal and Karim Benallal; The Little Elves - Scott Dale and Neil Dale; Team Coke-Zero - Becks Jackson and dad Brian Jackson; Skye Blues - Matthew Holmes and David Holmes; Cracker Jacks - Emma Shaw and Stephen Shaw; M&M - Morgan Murphy and Arnold Morgan; Jingle Bells - Emma Wylie and Nigel Wylie; Team Broadsword - Mark Hutchinson and Gary Hutchinson; The Froggies - Sophie Cairns and Gareth Cairns; Valley All-Stars - Harry McGoldrick; The McCs - Matty McClimonds and Tommy McClimonds; The Mallards - Oby Dillon and Adrian Sproule; The Hounds - Cori Dillon and Ray Fleming.
The teams were drawn into groups of four for the round robin stage with only one team to qualify for the final, meaning there were no second chances. Adults who had not played for years, found themselves in the mix along with some senior league players, coaches, and Ulster Junior and Future Squad Members.
The atmosphere was electric as matches commenced on all four table. Player became totally focused on their game, engaging the energy, passion and commitment which would do credit to an Olympic Final, coupled with the enthusiasm only children can generate.
Tense, nail-biting rallies were interspersed with the crack of ambitious, parental forehand smashes, and wide eyed smiling faces and furrowed, sweating brows were much in evidence, as the sound of laughter and the rattle of table tennis balls filled the air.
The four groups produce winners in each group, at the expense of some very competitive teams. Of note were Team McCs, The Little Elves and The Froggies who all won two matches in their groups but unfortunately not enough to win their way into the final.
The four teams in the final arrived having won all of their matches. The teams were -
1. Team Valley All-Stars, (Seeded 1)
2. Team Whipped Cream, (Seeded 4)
3. Team Broadsword, (Seeded 3)
4. Team Coke Zero, (Seeded 2)
The strongest team in the competition was undoubtedly the Valley All-Stars, who had been No. one seeds, and were tipped to win from the start, conceding just one set during their six matches, a feat equalled by Team Whipped Cream.
Team Broadsword was the only pairing to worry the All Stars by taking the second set 15 - 13 but they were unable to maintain the pressure, and lost the final set.
Well done to all the teams for making this a great night of table tennis, and a lot of fun for all taking part.
Congratulations to the winning Valley All Start (McGoldrick Family) and runners up Team Whipped Cream (Benallal Family), joint third Team Broadsword (Hutchinson Family) and Team Coke Zero (Jackson Family).
It is hoped this will become an annual event, so everyone can start practicing early for 2013. Banbridge Table Tennis Club would like to wish all their members, friends and families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.