YOUNG table tennis players from across the country descended on the region for a closely fought contest today (Sunday, January 19).

More than 50 youngsters battled it out at The 2 Star National Junior Table Tennis Tournament in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

The players and their supporters had travelled from as-far-a-field as Scotland, Hull, Leeds and Nottingham for the event, which took place at Bishop Barrington School.

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It was a proud day for Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club (BATTC), as it was the first time the club had staged a national contest.

Matt Porter, chairman and coaching director, said: “It is fantastic to see how far we have come. The club was only set up 18 months ago and it has grown from strength-to-strengths.

“There are a lot of clubs that have been around a lot longer than us that have never hosted a national tournament.”

BATTC offers junior and senior coaching sessions and is one of only 25 clubs in the country to have received the premier four-star rating from the English Table Tennis Association.

Ten-year-old Luca Pontone, from Darlington, plays regularly and reached the finals of the under-11’s contest.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I love everything about table tennis.”

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