Sisters star in national event

Sisters Megan and Alice Dillon represented Garstang Table Tennis Club in the English National Table Tennis Championships at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, Preston
Sisters Megan and Alice Dillon represented Garstang Table Tennis Club in the English National Table Tennis Championships at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, Preston

Garstang’s young table tennis players got a chance to compete against the country’s best on home turf at the English Cadet and Junior National Championships.

And members of Garstang Table Tennis Club were given a boost after a training session with Great Britain coach Alan Cook ahead of the tournament at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on the weekend.

The coaching proved rewarding for sisters Megan and Alice Dillon who fought their way to the semi-finals of the Cadets competition, narrowly losing out to number one seeds Denise Payet and Zahna Hall.

More than 250 of England’s finest young table tennis players battled for national honours on November 23 -24, with the English Table Tennis Association debuting it’s new live stream service.

Club coach Graham Coupe said: “They did so well - the championships is the competition all the best want to compete in and the players nationally are very strong.

“It is an achievement in itself to qualify and all the girls did that in early October.”

Six young players from Garstang qualified for the two-day championship with Kelly Southward, 17, Emily Bolton, Beth Farnworth and Megan Dillon competing in the Junior event on Saturday and Megan and sister Alice playing on the Sunday in the Cadets section.

Among the entries were Junior singles favourites Helshan Weerasinghe and Tin-Tin Ho, both looking to add to their national titles.

Fifteen-year-old Farnworth, who group stage qualifiers was paired against the five title winner and world prospect Ho, also 15, in the first round knock-out stage.

Bolton, who won all her group stage matches also lost out in the first knock-out to overall winner Maria Tsaptsinos.

Although Megan Dillon failed to pass the group stages of the junior competition she was back in contention on Sunday in the cadet alongside 11-year-old sister Alice.

Both lost out in the singles at the knock-out stage but performed against tough competition to make the semi-finals of the doubles, losing to the number one seeds.

Coupe added: “It was a very good competition and I was very impressed with the girls who conducted themselves well throughout against some tough competition.

“It has given them all an idea of where they are and what they need to do in training to get to that next level.

“The girls all had a great time and it was great to perform well in front of their family and friends.”

The squad are now focusing their efforts on upping their rankings in order to make the national top ten ahead of the Junior and Cadets Masters competition in January.

Megan currently sits at 15 in the cadets rankings, with Emily Bolton at eighth and Beth Farnworth at 20 for the Juniors.