QUEDGELEY teenager Olly Tyndall, 15, enjoyed the experience of competing in the National Table Tennis Championships on Friday, returning home with his head held high after an excellent performance.

Before the start of the event, the Severn Vale School pupil was ranked 32nd in the national men’s under-21s and 108th in the senior men’s categories. He showed no sign of nerves in the opening round, however, beating Mitchell Jones from Middlesex, ranked 16 places above him at under-21 level, to progress to the next round.

Unfortunately he then came up against the No 2 seed, Helshan Weerasinghe from Sussex, but raised his game to take the second set before his opponent, ranked third in the under-21s, took control with the next two games. The Sussex player went on to be the eventual runner-up in the category.

That defeat put Olly out of the championships but it was a great performance in his first national event at this level.

Olly said: “I was the lowest seed so, while I felt really nervous, I had nothing to lose. I was really happy to go level with Helshan at one-all, and felt I played some of my best table tennis.”

Proud dad Gary said: “This performance should see Olly move into the Top 100 in the Senior Men’s rankings when they’re published next month. That was one of his goals at the start of the season, and it’s fantastic to see him progressing so well.”

As a novel way to wind down from the Nationals, Olly spent Saturday at Sainsbury’s Gloucester Quays branch, helping fellow players and coaches to raise money for Sport Relief while also raising awareness of the sport of table tennis.

The event was organised by Sainsbury’s employee Chris Varley, helped by Nick Walker, Olly, Lee Bruton, Nigel Meredith and Eddie Roofe.

Olly said: “We had a lot of fun getting shoppers of all ages playing table tennis as well as helping out a great charity: the event raised over £150 for Sport Relief. “