By Tim Bridle
The West Bridgford Table Tennis Club (WBTTC), twinned with Keyworth TTC, is a truly inclusive club where players of all ages, abilities and additional needs come to together for fun and to achieve their potential.
Under the watchful eyes of coaches Gordon Fearn, Matt Richardson, Tim Bridle and Phil Lewis, the club has grown from strength to strength.
They have entered a National Junior League team and two National Cadet League teams.
In January, the club saw its players compete for the titles of ‘best in Nottingham’ at Nottingham’s Closed Table Tennis Tournament.
The annual tournament is for all age groups to enable mixed play – the handicap event is especially great fun to watch and participate.
There were many great games and achievements (full list below) with Fred Jones winning the Handicap Singles, James Harvey winning three titles; the Division 2 singles, doubles with G Goodwin and another doubles with Dylan Merkelt.
However, the moment that captured the hearts of all to become most memorable match was Dom Hubner in Division 3.
Dom is a delightful and fun loving soon-to-be 16-year-old character, who happens to have additional needs, is immensely competitive and being six foot five inches his reach can cover all the angles in table tennis.
To set the scene, all the finals were playing and many finished in three or four sets.
In Dom’s case, after a close few sets, he was two down looking to become runner-up, except he began to find a way to turn the match around.
As the other finals started to finish, the whole tournament’s attention was drawn to the Division 3 final as Dom made it 1-2 where the first to three sets wins.
The characteristic West Bridgford camaraderie and support, which had been there throughout a successful day, lifted the atmosphere of the hall and Dom levelled the score at 2-2.
In another close set, Dom narrowly took it and won to cheers and applause where he raised his eyes and hands to the ceiling – a Shawshank redemption moment having lost to his opponent in the Notts League weeks before – for his first tournament win; then slowly bent over to lay across and kiss the table.
Well done to all that played across Nottingham, you each helped start 2019 with a bang.
James Harvey won Division 2, U15 semi-finalist, U18s semi-finalist
Dom Hubner won Division 3, handicap match quarter-finalist
Finlay Hood was U21s runner-up
Dylan Merkelt semi-finalist in U21s, U18s semi-finalist, handicap match quarter-finalist
Jacob Dixon U21 quarter-finalist, U15 quarter-finalist, handicap match quarter-finalist
Fred Jones handicap match winner, U12s runner-up, U15s quarter-finalist
Daniel Richardson U12s quarter-finalist
Drawn Doubles winners James Harvey & G Goodwin
Ed Flint & Edin Green U18 doubles runner-up
U18 winners James Harvey & Dylan Merkelt
Fred Jones and Jacob Dixon reached semi-finals
Adam Staiger-Grant & Dom Hubner quarter-finals