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Annual awards and festive evening - 20 December 2022

Christmas was celebrated at Cippenham on Tuesday with a "Festive Evening". Carrying on from last year, when the annual awards presentations were delayed because of Covid, the presentations were again incorporated into a Christmas event, a sort of party for members and their families that also included a friendly hardbat competition for those who simply can't stop playing just because it's Christmas.

The event was so well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all that it is now likely to become our main annual get-together. There was mulled wine, mince pies and plenty of other tasty stuff to eat. There were games and quizzes also and the whole evening was set-up and organised by Martin Adams, to whom we extend our grateful thanks.

The first event of the evening was the presentation of our annual awards. For very many years this has been a highlight of the year with our junior and senior players of the year honoured and the prestigious award for outstanding contribution made to our most valued volunteer of the year. Club Chairman Ken Phillips presided over the presentations and also highlighted some members' achievements. He surprised many by announcing that the Club had a new England number one and invited Sai Prasanna Kumar to take a step forward to received his acclaim. Eight-years-old Sai is number one in the under-9 category and is a player of immense promise.

The first presentation was for the Junior Players of the Year, won jointly by Mia Lakhani and William Saint. Both players have made great strides during the past year or so and Mia crowned her year by finishing second in the Cadet Girls' Singles event at the recent Cippenham Junior 4-Star Open. The Senior Player of the Year award went to Robert Hansell who had an incredible run of eighteen successive wins for the Cippenham first team in the Senior British League last season. This was the third time that Robert had won this award. The highlight is always the presentation of the Karen Mitchell Outstanding Contribution Award. In presenting this award to Jyothi Puttaswamy, Ken described her as the best volunteer the Club had had for the past decade or more. Jyothi helps out on many occasions, assisting her son in his Duty Officer job, and has been a tremendous help with the catering at weekend events. She is also Sai's mother!

Of course, we could not let the evening go by without a little table tennis. A staggering number of forty-one players took to the tables for a friendly hardbat competition. The club supplied twenty-two identical bats and so the players were organised into eleven groups (two bats per table!!). The eleven group winners then progressed into a knock-out phase. Eventually the semi-final stage was reach with Shae Thakker, Maciej Dlugozima, Michal Garski and Amos Guirguis remaining involved. Shae beat Maciej in the final but the result, on such an evening, mattered little!

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