NETTS have “Lift Off!”

Our special “Lift Off!” event, to celebrate the installation of new LED Lighting at our venue, took place on Sunday 14th May. Common consensus was that the day went really well, helping us to promote the new lighting to the table tennis community.

At the end of August 2016 our Club Secretary Paul Davison put together a bid document to Table Tennis England Facility Fund titled “Lighting for Lift Off” and Paul received news that this was successful for the full amount of £10,000 during the following October. The release of TTE money was dependent on Match Funding, so this project would not have been possible without grants from Essex County TTA, Braintree & District TT League, Braintree District Council, Earls Colne Parish Council plus ECRC and NETTS ourselves. Important contributions from local firms Richard Edwards Group LLP and De Vere Travel also helped in sealing the award for NETTS. An Olympic standard lighting scheme was then sourced and installed in early April 2017 as Phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 is new club equipment, arriving June 2017.

The “Lift Off” event included an Open Day and four mini “Top 12” Tournaments. In the Junior Section Ella Doddington (Colchester) scored a surprise win over NETTS Mia Charles in the early rounds. Number One seed Ben Malin from Southend had a tough game against NETTS Oliver Muirhead before reaching his predicted final match. Here he met the all conquering Doddington whom took the match 3-0. Charles recovered from her early defeat to finish third.

In the “B” Section the only seed not to reach the final stages was Kelly Yuenyongpknan (Rayne) following a tight four set defeat to NETTS Joe Belsom. One of the matches of the day saw Kierlan Richards (NETTS) and Liam Ebbs (Black Notley) with the former edging home 15-13 in the fifth. In the end it was a NETTS player Max Plumridge who took the final match, another five ‘setter’, over Black Notley based Patrice Elonge. NETTS’s Joe Belsom took a well earned third place.

The “A” Section saw a mixture of NETTS, Braintree, Colchester and Chelmsford players going for the title. In the early stages there were many close matches however three major players emerged. An early win for Brentwood’s Trevor Collin over James Mullane (NETTS) resulted in this Number One seeded player needing to overcome Martyn Green (Colchester) in the final match. It was however the more reliable play of the latter that gave him the title in a five set thriller.

With Paul Davison busy on official duties it was left to team mate Andy Holmes to carry the flag for the home club. With good wins over Adam Buxton (Rayne) and Adrian Pitt (Braintree) he progressed to latter stages where he was joined by three top Essex players Alex Abbott (Maldon), Rik James (Hedingham) and the recently crowned Braintree League Champion Brandon Crouchman (Chelmsford). In the first semi-final Holmes overcame Abbott in three whilst James overcame Crouchman by the same score. In the third place play-off it was Abbott who used his experience to beat Crouchman whilst in a one sided final saw James overcame Holmes.

Our Club chairman Peter Hardy lead the speeches at a “Switch-On” Ceremony, thanking those organisations whom supported the NETTS bid, either financially or “in kind” and stated that the “new lighting would enable NETTS to bring back its popular 2-a-side and Top 12 Events”. Braintree League Chairman Ron Fosker commented that the new lighting “would benefit not just NETTS but lift the Braintree League in general”. Braintree District Councillor Chris Siddall spoke of his delight that the new lights “would benefit not just Table Tennis, but the whole community”. Table Tennis England Board Member and former NETTS player Kelly Skeggs lead a five second countdown to the big “switch-on”, which concluded with the lights moving up to 1100 lux from a dimmed position, resulting in cheers from the assembled crowd.

Kelly Skeggs leads countdown to the big “Switch On”

Former member Robin Armstrong called the new lighting “very impressive” and “likely to bring loads of people back to NETTS”. Club Secretary Paul Davison, leader of the bid process, stated that “the new lights had also enabled the introduction of an over 55’s session and leaves the club in a very good position to reach our aim of 100 members in five years”

This much awaited new lighting is a real boost for our club. The next event at NETTS is the Summer League. Further “Top 12” events will follow next season.

New sign for “Lift Off!”
New sign at our venue
Scott and Garry face off