Youngsters are being given their first taste of competition in a new league set up especially for them – and a first in the region.

The Liverpool League’s Junior Development Division was launched last week by Don Davies (Liverpool & DTTL Chairman) and underpins the five Liverpool League divisions, the fifth largest league in the country.

It is the first junior division in the area and was set up to give a competitive outlet for youngsters who are new to the game.

The new competition has been set up and supported by the Liverpool League with additional funding from Table Tennis England North Area Priority Zone Funding for Liverpool.

The driving force behind the competition is Paul Gittins, a league player and coach at St Johns Primary School, supported by Graham Chellew (Waterloo TTC) and members of the Liverpool League.

“It’s starting off relatively small but with the aim of growing and gaining momentum each year,” said Table Tennis England North Area Development Lead Martin Ireland.

“There’s no regular junior competition in that area and it gives a focus for the coaching that’s taking place on a weekly basis.

“If we want the juniors to improve, we’ve got to give them a taste of competition. It’s where they will learn their craft and that’s where they get the hook to continue the sport, not just in training.”

The competition is for boys and girls under 17 years of age and excludes junior players already playing higher-level competitions. Every team is supported and linked to an existing table tennis club, with players signed up as Table Tennis England junior members.

It has initially attracted six teams of three players, who will play every other week at at Police TTC (St John’s RC Primary School), alternating with Waterloo TTC (Merchant Taylors’ School).

Matches consist of nine games, with each team having a mixture of boys and girls. The first year’s competition will run until mid-February.

For more information, visit the division’s own TT365 page and see the Liverpool Echo for the competitions first report: