Darwen has eye on ball – and on nationl table-tennis finals

Ryan Darwen in action / Picture by Michael Loveder Photography
Ryan Darwen in action / Picture by Michael Loveder Photography

BOGNOR table-tennis ace Ryan Darwen is back on track for another shot at the sport’s national finals.

Darwen, ranked 24th in England for his age, was close to quitting the sport recently because of all the travelling for training and competitions plus pressures and the need for financial backing.

But thanks to some inspiring sessions at his new club, Brighton TTC, he is back on course and is again enjoying his table tennis.

Darwen has beaten some quality players, which is great credit to him considering he’s hardly trained. His main club Generation 2 won the National Junior League and qualified for the play-offs for the British Junior League.

His coach Charlie Childs said: “Ryan has made good progress this year with his service variation as a real strong point. A good athlete, he moves in and out from the table playing containing strokes and then hits opponents with accurate fast counter hits.”

The St Phillip Howard Catholic school pupil is the top-ranked under-13 in Sussex, having won the recent schools qualifiers for the third year in a row.

He has been preparing well for the Butterfly Schools Individual Finals to be held at Tipton this Saturday.

More than 300 players representing 50 counties will gather at the Tipton Sports Academy for the event – the largest one-day gathering in the table-tennis calendar.

Following these championships, the English Schools’ Table Tennis Association will select representative teams to play in the invitation international to be held in June featuring teams from England, Guernsey, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.

Over Easter, Darwen attended an event in Millwall, south-east London, where he finished runner-up in the under-13s’ event.

Darwen also travelled to Tunbridge Wells and qualified for two age categories – under-13s and under-14s – to attend Table Tennis England’s under-11 to 14 national finals at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield, in June.

Darwen needs sponsorship to help with kit, coaching and travelling costs. If you can help, please email admin@gen2tt.com