The next generation of table tennis stars could be set to come from a school in Rickmansworth, with students excelling in competitions both locally and regionally.
The Reach academy started when head of Ricky’s Reach Free School, Richard Booth, organised a table tennis club in the school and local table tennis coach, Roger Close, was invited to run some table tennis classes at the end of the school day.
Last year, the Reach Free School were Hertfordshire Schools Boys U13 Champions and pupils were directed towards junior coaching sessions run at Roger’s embryonic table tennis club that meets in The Russell School, Chorleywood.
The club was subsequently rebranded Reach Table Tennis Academy as half the juniors came from the school and the students quickly developed to an impressive standard.
Roger Close said: “The Reach Free School pupils were setting the standard to aspire to and their mind-set stood out.
“The club is open to everyone in the community, but all the juniors are proud to wear Reach Table Tennis Academy shirts, regardless of whether or not they attend the school, because of the reputation of its players.”
In its first season of competition, Reach entered two teams in the Ellenborough TTC-based National Junior League and four teams in the corresponding National Cadet League, competing against some of the biggest clubs in the area, including Ellenborough (Enfield), BATTS (Harlow) and Mossford (Redbridge).
The A team, comprising of Will Cloke, Vasi Kazakova, Adam Sahraoui & Ishaan Patel, finished runners-up in Division 2 in the NJL, while in Division 1 of the NCL, the first team, consisting of Sahraoui, Kazakova and Charlie Caslake, were crowned champions after a dramatic day of competition.
Other academy teams finished winners of the Chalfont & District Junior Table Tennis League and runners-up in Division 3.
Parent of team members, Helen Brown said: “My two sons have had tremendous fun playing with The Reach Table Tennis Academy.
“It has been a great experience for them to be able to play competitive table tennis locally and a great learning opportunity on so many different levels.”
Anyone interested in joining or sponsoring the Reach Table Tennis Academy can Contact Roger Close at firstname.lastname@example.org.