Joe Barraclough &Thomas Perkins

Table Tennis Stars

I had never given much thought to what goes on in Peppard War Memorial Hall on Friday evenings until I met two engaging 14 year old members of the Sonning Common and Peppard Table Tennis Club.

Joe Barraclough

The Club has a thriving junior section with two coaching sessions: one for beginners, mostly 8-10 year olds, and another for more experienced youngsters, chiefly 11-14 years old. I met Thomas Perkins at his home where two large cups won this year have pride of place on the sitting room mantlepiece; the Jubilee Cup, for scoring the highest average in any division in the club and the Malcolm Griffiths Memorial Trophy for the club’s handicap singles competition.

Thomas Perkins

Thomas told me he joined the club three years ago having enjoyed playing table tennis at holiday clubs. He is now in the second division of the Reading Adult League as well as the National Junior League and division one of the under-15 National Cadet League. Thomas is supported by his parents who transport him to his coaching sessions as well as to away matches. He hopes, in time, to become part of the Junior British League if he continues to progress.

The other young shining star of the club is Joe Barraclough who has been playing table tennis for five and a half years and has also been having coaching for three years. He is Thomas’s doubles partner and, after receiving coaching on Fridays, goes on to the John Cunningham Table Tennis Youth League at Blue Coat School in Sonning to coach other youngsters. Thomas and Joes won the Youth League Title at Blue Coat with another player.

In May Joe won the Reading Post’s Most Supportive Junior Awards, the Berkshire Senior Handicap Cup in January and was runner up in the Berkshire Under 21 Closed Competition last year.

Both boys are clearly doing exceptionally well at their chosen sport and it was pleasure to hear them talk so enthusiastically.

Sue Nickson