THE snowfall on Friday made it a treacherous journey for the newly-promoted Lancashire Cadets team to wend its way south to Wellingborough to take their place amongst the best cadet county teams in the country.
It was a long trek and the expectations were low as with all newly-promoted teams the main objective was to settle into the division, avoid relegation and find their feet for the next season.
However, someone should have mentioned this to the players …because this just did not happen.
What did happen, instead, was a dream weekend of table tennis resulting in the Lancashire team not only staying in the top flight but coming away with the Premiership title!
The six Lancashire players included two local 14-year-olds who are coached at Formby Table Tennis Centre and who play in both the Southport & District Table Tennis League and also the Liverpool Table Tennis League.
Both attend schools in Sefton with Robert Barker a pupil at Range High School in Formby and Amy Hutchings at Deyes High School in Maghull.
The team started in the Premiership with a 7-3 win over Kent and followed it up with 6-4 win over last year’s champions, Sussex.
A draw against second favourites Cleveland, in which Robert beat England number one cadet Alec Ward, guaranteed the team Premiership status next season so at last the team could relax.
An overnight stay and an early start on the Sunday led Lancashire to three wins over Glamorgan (7-3), Lincolnshire (6-4) and Leicestershire (10-0) so everything rested on the final match against the favourites, Middlesex.
Anything but a win and Lancashire were third and Middlesex top.
Third would have been a very respectable position for a first season, but once again with spirits riding high the Lancashire team rallied together and urged each other on to an unbelievable 6-4 victory and the title.
It was a very emotional Lancashire team of players, parents, coach and umpire that made the journey home.
Amazingly this was the second success story for Lancashire county table tennis teams this season as the Lancashire senior team also won their division.
All the players in this representative side came from the Southport League (Formby Table Tennis Centre) and the Liverpool League (Crosby High and Merseyside Police).
The team of Paul Cicchelli, Jack Dempsey, Joe Mullin, Cherith Graham and Emily Bolton were not the favourites at the start of the weekend but the whole team contributed to a successful outcome and the title.