Nicola Syderenko (Warehouse TTC) and Emily Godfrey (TT on sea) both put in astounding performances in the recent Essex County Table Tennis Trials held at BATTS in Harlow. The trials take place each year to ascertain each players county ranking to assist the selectors in picking the forthcoming seasons county teams.

A lot was already know about Nicola prior to the trials. She has lived in Essex for one year having previously been ranked number 3 in Polish. She comes from a sporting family,her father Wiktor Syderenko was a professional footballer playing for many teams including Wisla Krakow of Poland in the Champions League and her mother Wanda was the Polish Table Tennis number 1 for two consecutive years.

Nicola who attends Futures Community College, was the current Essex Cadet (U15) and Junior (U18) number 1 going into the tournament having beaten the English number 7 ranked player on the way to last years triumph. She has represented the county and won the top honour of all players (juniors and adults) in Essex by being voted The Essex Player of the Year. She is the current Essex Open (boys and girls) champion. She plays in the adult Premier League and beats the majority of players she competes against with an 80% victory rate last season

This year Nicola, now 15 could only enter the Junior (U18) competition. She faced many of her rivals from last year and with the same outcome. She defeated the current England U18 21st seed Evangeline Collier to the title. This gives a strong indication that Nicola is a top 20 ranked U18 player even though she is only 15. It is hoped that she enters some national tournaments so we can see just how good she is.

Emily Godfrey age 13 who attends Southend High School for Girls is a relative newcomer to the sport. Emily only started playing table tennis 18 months ago and was a founder member of the up and coming TT on sea Table Tennis Club. A table tennis initiative in the district saw two professional coaches going into schools to introduce the sport to children who had never played the sport before. Those that were interested and showed talent and potential were invited to become part of TT on sea which was run at the time by Aaron Fennel who now coaches England juniors. Emily now trains 3 times per week and plays in the adult leagues. She is currently coached by Jason Clarke a respected local coach. Emily is a sporting all-rounder who also enjoys playing tennis and basketball. Emily is the current District girls U18 champion.

Emily at only 13, entered the Essex Cadet U15 section. Whilst she was unable to test herself against the current Essex numbers 1, 2 and 3 ranked players, she still faced some formidable opposition. Emily won her morning group and played the winners of the three other groups. Emily provided the shock of the whole weekend by winning this group as well. What made this so exceptional was that Emily managed to beat Ify Okafor and Estelle Purkis who are ranked 16 and 18 respectively in England. Emily like Nicola is clearly a top 20 England player whilst still having 2 years left in her age categories. Everyone who knows Emily will also talk about her determination and her sporting/friendly behaviour.

Not only does the future look bright for Essex table tennis but more significantly for Southend and District Table League who are positively brimming with pride at the achievements of these talented girls and also at the number of talented and improving youngsters that are now playing the game locally. Southend Juniors are the current Essex Interleague Champions.