A GROUP of excited onlookers watched top England players battle it out in a thrilling table tennis match over the weekend.

Michele Reeves and Emma Harradine, who are currently ranked number one and two in the over 50s ladies category, played the match at The Activity Zone in Malmesbury on Saturday, January 13 to commemorate a special occasion.

Founder of Malmesbury Table Tennis Club Marie-Claire Davies organised the event to celebrate the club's new affiliation with Table Tennis England. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Michele Reeves and Emma Harradine's matchMichele Reeves and Emma Harradine's match (Image: Liz Cook)
Town mayor Gavin Grant, who helped encourage Mrs Davies to pursue this venture, cut a red ribbon to mark the occasion.

Commenting on the event, Cllr Grant said: "I was delighted to formally launch the Malmesbury Table Tennis Club.

"I pay great tribute to Marie-Claire and her club colleagues for their determination.

"Table tennis is a family sport accessible to people of all ages.

"It was great to see so many children, parents and grandparents at the launch.

"I wish the club every success."

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Town mayor Gavin Grant cutting the ribbon at the launch eventTown mayor Gavin Grant cutting the ribbon at the launch event (Image: Liz Cook)
Mrs Davies runs Malmesbury Table Tennis Club sessions every Saturday between 2pm and 4pm at The Activity Zone.

She first got into the sport when her children wanted to join a table tennis club in 2017.

The coach first joined Cirencester Table Tennis Club and went onto play in the Stroud league.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Malmesbury Table Tennis Club sign Malmesbury Table Tennis Club sign (Image: Liz Cook)

Over the last few years, she has achieved her Level one table tennis coach qualification and decided to set up her own club in Malmesbury.

She said: "In November we registered the club with Table Tennis England, so we wanted to hold an event to celebrate this milestone.

"When people come to our club there is the option to have one hour of coaching followed by one hour of games.

"Or you can just play leisurely for as long as you want.

"What I love about table tennis is that it is accessible to anyone, you can play matches with people of all ages and abilities.

"I encourage anyone who is thinking about getting into the sport to come and try and to not be afraid.

"In the future I hope we can find a venue where we can hold evening sessions."