A record turnout for the BTTAD National Championships at Crewe saw 85 players competing in over 20 events. This is a 25% plus rise over last year – a tribute to the work being undertaken in the English regions by the Disability Officers as well as similar work in Scotland and Wales.

All 13 British players selected for the Paralympic Games rubbed shoulders with players from all over England as well as strong contingents that came from Scotland and Wales.

In the Class events, Will Bayley and Ross Wilson caught the eye in the Men’s Class 6/7 and 8 respectively although the latter only just beat his Paralympic Games team colleague Aaron McKibbin. Kim Daybell and Adam Thompson also confirmed their superiority in Class 9/10 and 11 respectively.

The Ladies class 6-10 was won by Ella Booker and the Class 11 by Victoria Bromley.  In the Wheelchair mixed events, Class 1/2 Robert Davies, Class 3 Sara Head and Class 5 Scott Robertson provided a Welsh Grand Slam of their own with England’s Mark Palmer winning Class 4.

With 32 juniors in membership, the junior events were bound to attract great interest and the youngsters responded with some fine performances. Jack Hunter-Spivey won the wheelchair event but the talent of Nico Anderson, Ryan Hubbard and Daniel Bullen just behind him bodes well for the future.

The Scots saw Neil Innes become champion in Class 11 while the Standing event for Learning Disability was a close battle won by Patrick Cox over Jordan Abbott. Open events at the A band saw Sue Gilroy take the Ladies Wheelchair and Victoria Bromley the Ladies Standing while Scott Robertson just held off young pretender Jack Hunter-Spivey in the Men’s Wheelchair.

Ross Wilson took the Men’s Standing at the B level, the Wheelchair went to Ashley Davis and the Standing to Sam Bell while at C level, the Wheelchair went to Ryan Hubbard and the Standing to Neil Innes.

In the Doubles, Mark Palmer won the Wheelchair event and Sue Gilroy the Standing while victories also went to Kim Daybell and Ashley Facey-Thompson.

Player of the Championships, chosen by the umpires, was Martin Perry from Scotland. Thanks for a truly memorable event which was well organised by Dennis and Wendy Beech and also Referee Steve Welch.

The Paralympic squad then moved on to Italy for their first major event of the year to be followed by China, Slovenia and Slovakia – and then London!

For detailed Nationals results click here

By Mike Smith