TWO schools in Widnes have reached the national finals of schools table tennis contest.

The Under 11 Boys' team from St. Bedes Catholic Junior School and the Under 13 Girls' team from Wade Deacon High School will compete this Saturday in Leicestershire, which will see 32 teams across eight age categories battle it out.

Inspired by watching the girls' team twice reach the finals in as many years, the boys' team produced some scintillating table tennis throughout this year’s competition and, having won both the zone and regional finals, they proudly take their place as one of the four best teams in England.

St Bede’s will be representing Cheshire for the third consecutive year at the championships.

PE specialist Stuart Cooper said: "We are extremely proud of the boys, their commitment and dedication and desire to improve has been outstanding – they even choose to give up their break time to have extra practice!

"Indeed, we strongly believe that they exemplify the school’s philosophy that hard work and ‘purposeful practice’ can produce incredible results.

"As well as attending the school’s after school club, many of our children also regularly attend the training sessions delivered by the expert coaching team at Halton Table Tennis Club and hopes are already high for another visit to Hinckley next year."

Also elated with his pupils' achievements, Wade Deacon High Principal Simon Corner added: "Table tennis has always been a strength within our PE faculty and we are currently blessed with some outstanding talent.

"For our girls to reach the National Finals is a tremendous achievement, reflecting their commitment and determination to be successful. They are supported, of course, by a team of dedicated teachers without whom, such successes would not be possible.

"We wish our girls all the luck in the world for the finals."

Runcorn and Widnes World:

The Wade Deacon team

Over the past three to four years Widnes seems to have become something of a hotbed for junior table tennis. At the Cheshire Schools' Team Championships a high proportion of the winners regularly come from the town.

Back in the autumn, 51 counties across England held qualifying events with the winners progressing to represent their school counties in the Butterfly National School Competitions.

The Schools' Team Championships are in their 54th season. Until three years ago it was organised by the English Schools' Table Tennis Association (ESTTA) but then merged with Table Tennis England (TTE), the senior governing body for the sport.