Members of one of the biggest tennis and squash clubs in the country will soon be able to add table tennis skills to their repertoires – with help from none other than former Colebridge member and ex world No. 5 , Desmond Douglas.
Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham, well known as the host of the key pre-Wimbledon Aegon Classic tournament, is launching a new table tennis club on Monday January 4.
And 11-time national champion Des will be running coaching sessions for over-50s and children to help get them into another sport.
The new club is part of Table Tennis England’s Priority Zone initiative and Edgbaston Priory is certainly taking it seriously, having set up a club ladder, and plans to enter the Birmingham League next season.
To raise awareness of the new club, Des and current national women’s champion Kelly Sibley took part in an exhibition, alongside Scottish player Kenny Lindsay, on Saturday night (November 28).
Also in attendance were English tennis legend Ann Jones, the 1969 Wimbledon champion and double French Open champion, who is a member of Edgbaston Priory. She was also a world-class table tennis player, appearing at five world championships in the 1950s, being beaten in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles finals in Stockholm in 1957.
The event was compered by former Colebridge member Mark Georgevic, the organiser of the new club, who is both a local league table tennis player and Edgbaston Priory member.
Edgbaston Priory is steeped in more than 130 years of history and is the third biggest club in the country, after Wimbledon and Queen’s, with some 3,000 members. It also hosts the National Club Championships in squash.
Chris Newton, Development Officer (Central) for Table Tennis England said: “Following the current trend of growth in table tennis in England’s second city, Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club have grasped the nettle and taken the strategic decision to allow table tennis activity to start at their very successful racquet sports club.
“Huge praise must go to Mark Georgevic, local table tennis player and Edgbaston Priory member, for his continued strength and patience in helping this club start.”
Mark Georgevic said: “We were delighted to welcome such illustrious names and talent at the Club on Saturday to launch table tennis. There was great interest from members and guests on the night who thoroughly enjoyed watching these top players in action and receiving some fantastic tips on improving their game.
“We hope this event will be the springboard for greater involvement in table tennis at the Club with plans for leagues and coaching in the new year.”