The glorious adventure ended on Saturday when the Dane Court Under 13 Girls Table Tennis team just missed out on winning a place in the National Finals. A 5:45 am start and a 360 mile round trip to the Southern Regional Tournament at Bournemouth saw Dane Court in a group of three schools with only the winner qualifying. After a long wait the first game against the Somerset champions Haygrove School from Bridgewater saw Dane Court come through with a 5-3 victory thanks to Catherine Banks and Tayla Bayley winning both their games with Annabel Cole securing the vital fifth point.
Then came the deciding game against the London champions St. James' Catholic High School from Barnet who possessed a really strong top two players and this unfortunately proved the difference despite Catherine, the Dane Court number 1, giving both her highly coached and talented opponents a really good run for their money. Annabel, Tayla and Katie Perkins all managed to pick up excellent wins to make the final match score 5-3 to St. James' which, to be fair, was a true reflection of the high quality match between two really good teams.
As there were four Regional Finals on the same day coming Runners Up in the Southern Tournament puts the Dane Court team in the top ten U 13 Girls teams in the whole country after becoming County and Zonal champions which really is a phenomenal achievement particularly considering that none of the four girls had played much Table Tennis before the start of this school year and that so many other schools in different parts of the country have access to far better facilities and coaching than is available in Thanet. They really have made up a superb team with all four girls training hard and competing in every game to do their very best and it is to be hoped that they go on from here to continue to enjoy the sport and to get even better. Thanks to Alan Radford and Liam Hazelton who have helped coach the girls at Hartsdown on Friday evenings, Lee Featherbe who has come into Dane Court to help with the coaching, Katie's Dad Chris who has driven us to the Zonal and Regional events and Tayla's Mum Debbie for supporting the team in Bournemouth. A fantastic effort girls!