by Brian Croasdale
Whenever someone asks me about the National League, I can’t help but think back to how the Whitworth Academy and Matlock Table Tennis has progressed in just a few short months.
This National competition has changed the reputation of the Whitworth Academy and they now belong to a venue of winners rather than cheerful losers.
Following an exhilarating summer of sport, more and more people are being inspired to take up table tennis and this week our exploits down at Wellingborough will just inspire more people to get involved.
The Whitworth Academy’s ambition has been there for all to see and, during the summer, they recruited England’s current number 39 Sam Perry to sign forms for them this year and he was to be heavily involved in this weekend’s first match at National level.
Sam led the team of Mike Bradbury (Rowsley), Andy Middleton (Rowsley and Capt), John Davies (Rowsley) Martin Dean (Chesterfield) and Keith Bradshaw (Rowsley) to their most positive performance since Matlock Table Tennis have played at this level.
On the opening day last Saturday, they were presented with two matches against Generation 2 and Westfield 2. After drawing the first 4-4, they then powered into Westfield, winning 8-0.
Sunday was to be their more daunting opposition when they had to face the might of Finsbury and Cardiff City.
The surprise is Whitworth’s new-found level of consistency and that has improved their results.
They disposed of Finsbury 7-1 in a ruthless performance that had to be seen to be believed. They then followed this up with a 5-3 win against Cardiff and looked every inch the leading side on the day. This was later confirmed as Whitworth finished the weekend at the top of the table.
It’s early days I know and they will be hard pressed to keep this momentum going, but it is a confident start and local table tennis will ultimately be the winner.