(by Steve Hopkins)
November is turning out to be a very good month for new players at Rhode Island Table Tennis, a small table tennis club (and WAB Club) in Manville, RI. The Club’s first tournaments post-Pandemic was held last weekend. In a part of New England where it has taken a little longer to emerge from COVID restrictions, the RI Comeback Butterfly Open was well-received. In fact, the tournament had over 50 entries (pretty tight for a club with 5 tables), and 18 of those players were new to USATT events. The top three events were all full several days before the event, University of Massachusetts students came out in force, and new players from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut were able to enjoy a tournament experience for the first time. The biggest gain for a player over 2000 was by tournament winner, Murali Mani who added 24 points to move up to 2117 (Mani topped Richard Dewitt in the Final of the Open). Rhode Island Club players to highlight include Liam Cannon who added 97 points on his way to a Semifinal appearance in the 1800 event, Rigel Galgana who gained 560 points, and Shiraz Ritwik whose first USATT rating was 1725.
The club is also running juniors clinics starting November 14. These will be held on Sunday afternoons with an hour of instruction (for all levels) and then open play in the club (just for juniors). The club is going to open for 5 Sunday Clinics, and is charging a nominal fee of $25 (for all five weeks). Like many events in the tournament, the clinics are also completely full. Included in the mix are 10 beginners, 4 who are age 8 or younger, and a solid core of junior players who regularly play at the club and/or compete in club leagues and tournaments.
The Pandemic has made it tough to keep the club operating normally and at different times, participation has suffered. But there is real optimism for 2022 – and if November is any indication, the Rhode Island Club can expect a lot of new faces, and a lot of full (even overflowing) events.
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