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eady to play .. Timaru table tennis player Elise Ford (17, front) will join other junior players competing at a South Island teams event at the Barry Butler Table Tennis Stadium this weekend. PHOTO: CHRIS STANLEY/FOCUS PHOTOGRAPHY

by Greta Yeoman

Table tennis teams from around the South Island will compete in Timaru this weekend.

The South Island teams event would be held at the Barry Butler Table Tennis Stadium on Coonoor Rd on Saturday, followed by the South Canterbury Open the next day.

South Canterbury Table Tennis president Frank Cleverley said the two events could be the biggest weekend the club had ever hosted.

Between 130 and 150 players were expected to attend, up from 120 in previous years.

A large contingent of junior players were coming to the Saturday competition from as far afield as Southland, Nelson and Marlborough.

The South Island teams event alternates between the Canterbury and South Canterbury clubs.

Mr Cleverley said the public was invited to come along and watch the two days of competition.

“[It is] an opportunity to see top players in action.”

He hoped it would be a good experience for the younger Timaru players to compete against “more polished” out-of-town players, who would be coming from Otago and the wider Canterbury region.

“Our local juniors, particularly the youngest players, will find the competition very strong.”

“Hopefully they will enjoy the experience.”

Mr Cleverley also hoped South Canterbury residents who came along to see the weekend’s games would be inspired to join the South Canterbury Table Tennis Club.

Weekly competitions are held at the Barry Butler Table Tennis Stadium on Tuesday evenings and everyone was welcome to come along and play, he said.

Games began at 7.30pm and there was also a coaching programme available for players aged 8 to 12-year-olds, which started at 6pm on Tuesdays.

For more information on the coaching programme, call head coach Louise on 21-292-4539.