Kids are having a ping-pong ball in Lauder

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LAUDER youngsters are going batty for table tennis – thanks to the enthusiasm of their coach and class teacher Colin Green, writes Fiona Scott.

Australian-born Green has lived in the Borders for the last 20 years and is a regular player/coach with Penicuik Table Tennis Club. Realising that there was a lack of clubs and players in this region, the Aussie has spent the last five years establishing a development programme at his school and now has 35 pupils in attendance.

Green explained: “The Lauder After-School Table Tennis Club started about five years ago when I joined the school.

“Back then we used the Lauder Leisure Centre and when we moved into the new school I received a grant from the 2014 Glasgow Communities Fund for £1,000 which I used to buy three tables.

“This year I applied to Awards for All for £4,000 so we could purchase three more tables and an outdoor table too, as well as more bats and balls. We are also using the money for qualified coaches to come to the school during class PE time and show teachers how to run sessions with their class.

“We also have a parent doing the UK level 1 coaching course which will enable him to help with the after-school sessions.”

The game is certainly proving popular among the children and P6 pupil Cuilen Sampson told TheSouthern: “It has been great fun learning how to play table tennis. We have learned forehand and backhand, and serving – and it has been good fun playing with my friends and now I can play with my mum also, who used to play when she was younger.”

The after-school club runs for two hours on a Monday for P5 and 6, and Green is keen to hear about interest from other schools with an eye to holding a Borders primary schools tournament.

“The aim of the project is to introduce the children to the sport and build up their skill level and understanding of the game,” he added.

“My aim at the moment is to have our children play in a mini tournament which we will hold in February next year, but it would be great to be able to play other schools and/or clubs in the future.”