NETTS Table Tennis Club held a successful ‘Lift Off!’ event to celebrate the installation of new LED Lighting at their home venue.

The club, based at Earls Colne Recreation Club near Braintree in Essex, applied for funding through the Table Tennis England Facility Fund and was awarded £10,000.

The grant was contingent on match funding and the club also received grants from Essex County TTA, Braintree & District TT League, Braintree District Council, Earls Colne Parish Council plus funds raised by ECRC and NETTS themselves.

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 last month as the first phase of an improvement programme which will also include new club equipment arriving next month.

NETTS Club chairman Peter Hardy led the speeches at the switch-on ceremony, while Table Tennis England Board member Kelly Skeggs led a five-second countdown as the lights moved up to 1100 lux from a dimmed position, resulting in cheers from the assembled crowd.

Club Secretary Paul Davison, leader of the bid process, said: “This much awaited new lighting is a real boost for the club. They have also enabled the introduction of an over-55s session and leave the club in a very good position to reach its aim of 100 members in five years.”

The ‘lift-off’ event included an open day and four mini “Top 12” Tournaments.

The Junior section was won by Ella Doddington (Colchester), who beat No 1 seed Ben Malin of Southend, with the home club’s Mia Charles in third.

In the “B” section, NETTS player Max Plumridge took the final match, a five-setter, over Black Notley-based Patrice Elonge. NETTS’ 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. It was Martyn Green (Colchester) who took it.

With NETTS number one and Club Secretary Paul Davison busy on official duties it was left to team mate Andy Holmes to carry the flag for the home club in the final competition. 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 a one-sided final saw James overcome Holmes.