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After fifty five years of trying, the 1st Kempston Co. the Boys Brigade finally won the Boys Brigade National Table Tennis Championship in Belfast last weekend. Table tennis is one of ten national competitions run in the UK by the Boys Brigade. To reach the finals the Boys had defeated teams from North Suffolk, Croydon, Bedford, Reading and Southampton. In the finals Kempston faced two teams from Scotland, two from Ireland plus another English team. The boyís team comprised Edward Simms, Oliver Horswell and Sas Ambepitiya who all play in the Bedford and District League.

Kempston won their group matches against Port Glasgow 8-1 and Cookstown (Ireland) 9 - 0. In the semi-finals they played Lanchester (County Durham) who they narrowly beat in last yearís semi-final. This year it was even tighter with Ed Simms in the pivotal game 2 sets and 6 -4 down in the 3rd set before coming back to win the last three sets 12-10, 11-8 and 12-10. In the finals they beat Grangemouth 6 Ė 3 but again some very close matches.

It was a great weekend with some wonderful table tennis all played in a great spirit.

Alan Thompson
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The Bedfordshire Closed Table Tennis tournament draw and schedule can be downloaded by clicking on this article's title. Can players please arrive at least 15 minutes before their scheduled start time. Tea and coffee will be available throughout the day for a small charge, however, food will not be available so please ensure players have sufficient quantities with them.
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Entries for the Bedfordshire County Closed Tournament are now closed. The tournament will now take place on the Saturday ONLY, the boys events have been moved from the Sunday to the Saturday. Fifty four participants are competing to win the title of Bedfordshire Champion in their chosen event. The tournament is taking place at the Sports Hall, Lincroft School, Station Road, Oakley, MK43 7RE commencing at 9.00am with the U11 Boys and Mens O40's veteran events.
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The first Bedfordshire County Closed Tournament for some years will be held on the weekend of 30th April/1st May at the Sports Hall, Lincroft School, Station Road, Oakley, MK43 7RE. The Saturday will consist of senior women, senior men, U11/U13/U15/Junior girls, O40s and O60s veteran competitions and the Sunday will be devoted to U11/U13/U15/Junior boy competitions. The competitions are open to all players who qualify to play for Bedfordshire according to county championship rules. Competitors must either reside in Bedfordshire or were born Bedfordshire or have played for Bedfordshire at least six times or reside in a county adjacent to Bedfordshire but are unaffiliated with their county of residence. The entry form can be downloaded by clicking on this article's title.
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Bedford Table Tennis League congratulates league member Mike Perry, CEO of PG Mutual and member of Revolution C in Division Three, whose company have announced its sponsorship of the PG Mutual National Championships. The National Table Tennis Championships take place at Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield from 18-20th March and are being shown on ITV4. Mike was in fine form this week securing a hat-trick in his team's 6-4 win against Elstow C. Full details can be found at http://tabletennisengland.co.uk/news/pg-mutual-to-sponsor-national-championships/.

The first day of the event on March 18th is £5 Friday Ė and you can now take advantage of an even better offer Ė buy four tickets and get a fifth absolutely free! Itís the perfect excuse for a group of club-mates or friends to get together and join us for the action at Hertfordshire Sports Village in Hatfield Ė and remember, all the best players will be in action on the Friday, including the England Leopards heroes currently excelling at the World Championships in Malaysia.

To claim the offer, click on the link below and then enter the code 5for4 at checkout. Donít forget, this week is also the last chance for our members to claim their 10% discount on tickets for the event. Sunday is now sold out, but there are tickets available for Friday March 18 and Saturday March 19. Click here to buy your tickets.
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The England men's table tennis team have beaten all the odds and progressed through to the semi-finals of the world team championships in Kuala Lumpur where they now play Japan. This is their best performance since 1983 where they also reached the semi-finals in Tokyo, Japan. Having defeated the number 2 seeds Germany at the group stage they progressed through to the last 16 where they, yesterday, defeated Poland 3-2 to set up a quarter final match against France who had beaten them 3-0 in their earlier group encounter. In the most thrilling match Paul Drinkhall eventually closed out the last match 13-11 in the fifth and seal a memorable 3-2 win. A more detailed account can be found by visiting http://tabletennisengland.co.uk/news/pitchford-and-drinkhall-magic-puts-england-in-dreamland/. The match against Japan is scheduled for 11.30am UK time Saturday 5th March and can be viewed on the ITTF streaming channel at http://www.ittf.com/itTV/ where you can also catch up on the action today and over the week.

England 3 France 2
Simon Gauzy bt Paul Drinkhall 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 11-8)
Liam Pitchford bt Emmanuel Lebesson 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-9)
Tristan Flore bt Sam Walker 3-1 (11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7)
Pitchford bt Gauzy 3-1 (12-10, 19-21, 11-9, 11-9)
Drinkhall bt Lebesson 3-2 (15-13, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11)
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Over the weekend of the 5th and 6th December 2015 the Bedfordshire Senior County Team kicked off their season in Division 2A. This year the competition was being held at Draycott Table Tennis Centre, Derby over three days.

The team of Sarah Hudson, Sandra Harper, Jon Hall, Kieran Smith and Matt Evans were bolstered with new boy Mitchell Jones. Mitchell is a London lad who moved to Bedford with his mum (Sara Williams) a couple of years ago. He has recently finished boarding at Harefield Academy and now works as a full time Table Tennis Coach for Greenhouse. Unfortunately due to Jon Hall struggling with a back injury the team were missing their number one player. However Jon still attended the weekend in a coaching capacity to assist the team.

The first match of the day was against Leicestershire II. Everyone was nervous for this match and it took a few games to get settled, however the team were able to pull off their first win by beating them 9-1.

Click on the article title for the rest of the results and full report.
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Bedfordshire Juniors started this season's campaign in Cippenham with matches against Middlesex II and Essex II. The team of Rebekah Barry, Matt Evans, Henry Simmons and cadet Josh Hallam were always going to struggle as they were short of a second girl and Josh had stepped in at the last minute due to a junior boy withdrawal. Despite this they all gave a good account of themselves losing their match against Middlesex 3-7 and the match against Essex 4-6. Matt Evans showed his maturity throughout winning all his matches 3-0 supported by Henry who maintained 100% against Essex but lost 11-9 in the fifth in both his matches against Middlesex. Thirteen year old Rebekah who is constantly improving just lost to Essex's England No. 9 Under-13 Alana Mansfield 11-8 in the fifth and took the first leg 13-11 against Middlesex's England No. 53 junior Jasmine Chan. Thirteen year old Josh Hallam also impressed pushing Middlesex's England No. 54 cadet Branislav Zivkovic close in all three games and took the first game off Essex's England No. 90 cadet Casey Mansfield. County junior captain John Alsop said, "it was very pleasing to see all the team play at this level of competition without showing any sign of nerves and their exemplary behaviour during the match was a credit to the county".
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St Neot's 17-year-old Daniel Bullen (menís class 5) who competes for St Neots B in the first division recently took part in the Belgium Open and successfully brought home a bronze medal. Daniel progressed from his group with 3-1 wins over Sem Roelofs from the Netherlands and the Japanese player Kentaro Doi which earned him a semi-final against home favourite Bart Brands. The Belgian was always in control in a 3-0 win but it was a promising performance by the young GB Pathway player. Bullen commented, "I had two good wins in my group and I feel that I have started to play like I play at home Ė Iím in control of my nerves a lot more which gives me a lot more confidence and Iíve got a new wheelchair which Iíve only been playing in for a week so that gives me confidence for the future as well.Ē
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On Saturday 17th October at Lincroft School fifteen of the county's top cadets competed in this season's cadet trials with players aged from 10-14. After 57 fiercely competed matches the top two positions were decided in the last match of the day when last year's No.1 cadet Josh Hallam, now at Sharnbrook Upper, played Ben Reddy from Bedford Modern. In an entertaining finish to the day Josh defeated Ben 11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7. Third and fourth positions were even closer as Ben Baguley, also at Sharnbrook Upper, defeated Kieran Harris 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10. The final point being won by an unreturnable net cord. The county will now select a team of four boys and two girls to play in the first round of county championship matches to be held on 12th December at Cippenham.
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The Bedford & District Table Tennis League are sad to report the loss of Chris Gibbons who died recently during his Kettering premier division match at the home venue in Arthingworth, Chris Gibbons was at the table when he suffered a massive heart attack and tragically died soon afterwards whilst still at the venue.

Chris played in the Bedford League for Turvey for several years and was always in the top 10 averages. Quiet and unassuming, Chris was a well known and popular character within local table tennis, especially at the higher level at which he played. He was well known across a number of leagues playing in Bedford, Northampton, Milton Keynes and Kettering. During his career in the Kettering league he achieved an astonishing 663 premier division singles wins at an average of almost 75% in the Kettering League. One of his best results came as recently as last season when he beat the current Kettering champion, John Fuller, in straight games. He has been consistently in and around the top 10 in the Kettering League rankings, reaching a best ever at number 3. Within the County he has been similarly in and around the top 20 for many years, his highest placing being at number 8.

Chris was only 55 when he died and he will be sadly missed by team colleagues, opponents and fellow players alike, with whom his path crossed. That he died quickly doing something he enjoyed may be the way we would all like to go when our time has come, but this will be scant consolation for his family and friends who would have been looking forward to many more years with him.

Chris leaves behind a wife Beverley, son David, also an accomplished table tennis player. and grandson Zac, as well as other wider family. Our sincere condolences go out to them all and we wish them strength in the weeks and months to come as they deal with the sadness and devastation Chrisí death will have caused them.

His funeral takes place at 11.00am this Friday 23rd October at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 137 Harlestone Rd, Northampton. NN5 6AA. This will be followed by a private burial service for family only. Flowers are welcome, but there will also be donations in Chris' memory.

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Sadly, it has been reported to me that Lesley Rate lost her twelve month battle against cancer and passed away on Thursday 10th September. Lesley was a little dynamo who was instrumental in persuading the St Neots TTC committee to press ahead with their £390,000 refurbishment which commenced in 2009. Despite living in Peterborough, she and her husband Steve were often seen around the various Eastern Region counties supporting their son, Nick, and other young players. In 2005 she was recognised by the English Table Tennis Association with the Volunteer of the Year Award. A long time Cambridgeshire schools representative for ESTTA she will be a great loss to schools table tennis, to her club Werrington TTC in Peterborough and the table tennis community as a whole. She is pictured above when attending the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 as a volunteer along with the rest of her family where she had a fantastic time. Our deep felt commiserations to Steve, Nick, daughter Sally and the rest of her family. The funeral will be held at Peterborough Crematorium on Friday 25th September at 2.30pm.
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(Pictured L. to R. Sandra Harper, Janice Laing)

Bedfordshire Chairwoman and county No.1 lady Sandra Harper competed in the English League's JM Rose Bowl competition finals at Westfield TTC, Wellingborough, last weekend alongside her sister Janice Laing. They had to play the Leeds team of Zoe Cheesman and Joanna Roberts. The two former champion teams were going head to head to hold the trophy once again. Leeds started well, winning the first game but then Sandra levelled the match beating England No. 14 senior and No. 3 veteran Joanna Roberts. Leeds went into the lead again in the doubles and after a closely fought fourth game with Sandy just losing out to the higher ranked Zoe Cheeseman Leeds took the win, the title and the trophy.
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Interested in becoming a table tennis coach? There is a course (reference code 86979) taking place over three days at St Neots TTC on 3rd Oct, 31st Oct and 5th Dec from 9.00-18.00. The application form can be downloaded here from the Table Tennis England website.
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