Table Tennis

The Table Tennis Club in Grosvenor has a long tradition and this year it has been meeting on a Monday after school from 3.30 to 4.30pm in the William Moles Hall. There is a large number of pupils who attend the club and there is a wide range of ability on display. We have been very fortunate to secure coaching from Table Tennis Ulster earlier this year and it is already having very positive effects. For the first time in several years we decided to enter two teams in the Belfast Schools’ League competition: an Under 14 boys’ team consisting of James Magrath, Conor Partington, Stuart Nelson and Paul Kelly, and an Under 17 team made up of Emma Ludlow, Gareth Thompson, Gareth Lammey and John Deane. The competition took place in April at Malone College and the Under 14 boys’ team came third after a closely fought match with Ballyclare High School, while the under 17 team came second. Both teams did brilliantly and should be very proud of their achievements. We currently have a number of very good players in school but there are, however, two table tennis players who deserve a special mention in this report.

James Magrath is in Form One and is currently ranked second at Under 12 level in Ulster and is in the top 8 in Ireland. He is a member of Glenburn Table Tennis Club and this year was entered by the school in the Secondary Schools’ Under 12 Individual Table Tennis competition, which he won.  A tremendous achievement, but this is not the only accolade for James this year. Other achievements include him being ranked 5th in the Irish Junior classification in September.  In October James won the plate event at the Under 12 Ulster Junior Open and he won the Banbridge Challenger at the end of November, a competition which included players up to the age of 17.  He was runner up in the Under 12 Fermanagh Junior Open in November and he was third in the Under 12 Ulster Junior closed competition in February.  In January and March this year he reached the quarter finals in both the Under 12 Munster and Connacht Junior Opens. He is currently part of a three person Glenburn team who recently won the Belfast and District Junior Knockout Cup, and are currently top of their league – these competitions are ‘all age’ so James is regularly competing against adults.  James has also been selected for the Under 12 Ulster Table Tennis team to take part in the Inter-pros at the start of May in County Mayo.

Emma Ludlow  is currently in Form 5 and she has been playing table tennis from the age of 6 when she joined Glenburn Table Tennis Club.  She trains four times a week at Glenburn and is involved in the Ulster training squad at the Valley Leisure Centre once a week. She has competed in many competitions all over the UK and Ireland and has even travelled to Belgium to compete.  Over the years she has represented both Ulster and Ireland at competitions. She is currently a ‘Junior’ player, which is Under 17 level, and her successes just from this season are hugely impressive.  In the Ulster selections, Emma won 15 matches out of 20 over two weekends at Junior British League and she is due to take part in the Interprovincials in May. In Individual events she was fifth in the Irish classification, third in the Ulster Junior Open, first in the Fermanagh Junior Open, second in the Ulster Invitational tournament, first in the Connaught Junior Open and second in the Irish Nationals. 

Emma is ranked first at Ulster Junior level and third at Irish Junior level.  Emma also competes at senior level and in the Ireland selections she won 12 matches out of 20 over the two weekends of Women’s British League.  Emma has reached the quarter finals of the Munster Senior Open, Fermanagh Senior Open, Ulster Senior Open and Irish Senior Nationals.  At senior level she is third in Ulster and sixth in Ireland.  She is currently a member of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Squad and her goal over the next 12 months is to be selected for the team attending the Games in Glasgow.

Congratulations to James and Emma on their huge list of achievements and thank you to all the pupils who have participated in the Table Tennis Club this year and made it so enjoyable.

Mrs A Peel