Grantham College may need to invest in a bigger trophy cabinet as students on the table tennis programme continue to win multiple medals at home and abroad.

From Preston to Plymouth and Stockton to Sweden, the squad has racked up a staggering haul of gold, silver and bronze this season.

Female and male players from England, Wales and further afield have contributed to the success, which spans international events as well as domestic Grands Prix, one-to-four-star events and, most recently, the Mark Bates Ltd National Championships, where Ella Pashley (pictured above) picked up Under-21 Women’s Singles silver and Mixed Doubles bronze, while Toby Ellis won Under-21 men’s Singles bronze.

The full breakdown can be seen at the bottom of the page.

We recently caught up with Head Coach Vidal Graham and asked him about the reasons behind this success.

TTE: Grantham students have had a lot of success at home and abroad. So how have you designed the programme and what is driving what you’re doing? 

Vidal: “Well, basically, it’s all individual programmes, so every single athlete has their own set programme depending on their level and what they need to get to the next level.  

“We have a look at our tournament schedule, and then we have a look at some of the other tournament schedules abroad and everything’s designed around the player and their needs – like if the player needs to get more international experience, or if we’re looking for teams abroad for them, a good way to do that is to go play in the tournaments abroad, do well, speak to other coaches and network.”

How does that fit into the wider performance pathway in England or GB?

“The majority of our players do play for their national teams and we do speak to their coaches – they have their idea of what is required and we sometimes fit around that, but sometimes we also have our own ideas on how it should go.  

“Because we’re the everyday coaches, we talk to the players and about what we expect and what we think they need to help them along that pathway. 

Toby Ellis (photo by Alan Man)

Do you find there is a good squad dynamic between all the players and they all support and help each other, or are they more focused on their individual goals? 

“Well, it is an individual sport. When we’re at tournaments and the players tend to play each other in the later rounds all the time, sometimes the coaches don’t sit in their corners when they’re playing each other, so the dynamics can be sort of tentative at times.

“But generally when we go back after a tournament, on the Monday they have a reflection session and then we go back in the training hall. 

“Everyone knows that they can’t get better without the other people in the hall, so they are quite supportive when they’re in the training hall.

“Obviously in the tournament environment, depending on how some players are doing, it can be up and down. But in general I think we have a good sort of club ethos and they do support each other at finals and so forth, yeah.” 

Not being in their corner when they’re playing each other – is that good for them too, to think for themselves, without a coach there?

“Yes and no. For instance, at an event like the National Championships it would be a bit harder because obviously you want the kids to have the best experience to try and get as far as they can. And even though we don’t sit in their corner, we will say to them ‘look, if you think that you need to get a parent or another coach, absolutely fine. It’s all about them, really.  

“But then when you’re going with a squad of 16 players to a tournament, it’s a bit more difficult and yeah, they have to learn to play on their own. But we get them to record all their matches anyway. So then even though we’re not in their corner, we’ll still look back at the videos during the week and dissect what’s happened.”

What’s your ideal end outcome? 

“Well, I see our role as basically to help every player that comes through the door to their next step, whatever that may be.  

“So if there may be a lower ranked player, maybe within the two to three years that we generally have them, the goal is to get them into National Cups and hopefully into a national team.  

“If they’re at national team level already, it’s to then start trying to win tournaments abroad, either WTTs or Swedish tour events, getting them into international clubs and helping them try to get a career out of table tennis.

“In some cases, it’s just a matter of making that player be the best person that they can be. Everything’s about the individual player and no two outcomes are ever going to be the same.”

Medals won by Grantham College players this season:

Mark Bates Ltd National Championships
🥈 U21W – Ella Pashley
🥉 U21M – Toby Ellis
🥉 Women’s Doubles – Ella Pashley

Birmingham 2star
🥇U13 Singles – Ryan Holland
🥈U15 Singles – Ryan Holland

Cambridge 4 star
🥇Band 1 – Lowri Hurd
🥈U19 Boys – Harry Docherty 
🥉U19 Girls – Lowri Hurd

Nottingham 2 star
🥈Cadets Group 1 – Ryan Holland
🥇Men Group 5 – Ryan Holland 

Birmingham 1 star
🥇U19 Singles – Pablo Godoy
🥇U15 Singles – Pablo Godoy
🥈U15 Singles – Ryan Holland
🥈U13 Singles – Ryan Holland

Crawley GP
🥈U21 Men – Isaac Kingham 
🥈Women’s Band 1 – Hannah Silcock 
🥈U21 Women – Ella Pashley 
🥉U21 Men – Joe Dennison 
🥉Men’s Band 1 – Harri Docherty 
🥉U21 Women – Hannah Silcock 

Nottingham 2 star
🥇U15 Band 1 – Pablo Godoy 
🥈U15 Band 1 – Ryan Holland

Blackpool 4 star
🥇Girls’ Team – Hannah Silcock/Anaiya Ali
🥇Boys’ Team – Adam Dennison/Isaac Kingham
🥈Boys’ Team – Joe Dennison/JoeMarlor
🥈U17 Girls – Hannah Silcock 
🥈U17 Boys – Isaac Kingham
🥈U19 Boys – Gabriel Schogger
🥈U19 Girls – Hannah Silcock
🥉Girls’ Team – Lowri Hurd/ Darcey Taylor
🥉Boys’ Team – Harri Docherty/Gabriel Schogger
🥉U19 Boys – Adam Dennison 

Helsingborg Swedish Tour 
🥇U13 Boys – Abraham Sellado
🥈U16 Girls – Ella Pashley 
🥉U14 Boys – Abraham Sellado
🥉U16 Boys – Isaac Kingham
🥉U20 Girls – Ella Pashley

Blitz 1 star
🥇Cadet Boys – Pablo Godoy
🥈Cadet Boys – Ryan Holland

WTT Youth Contender Podgorica 
🥈U15 Boys – Isaac Kingham
🥉U15 Mixed Doubles – Isaac Kingham/Ella Pashley

Birmingham 2 star
🥇U19 Band 1 – Gabriel Schogger
🥈Cadet Band 1 – Pablo Godoy

WTT Youth Contender Puerta Princesa 
🥉U13 Boys – Abraham Sellado 

Preston GP
🥇Men’s Band 2 – Joe Dennison 
🥇Men’s Band 6 – Pablo Godoy
🥇U21 Men – Joe Dennison 
🥇Women’s Band 1 – Aleks Titievskaja 
🥈Men’s Singles – Toby Ellis 
🥈Men’s Band 5 – Pablo Godoy
🥈U21 Women – Aleks Titievskaja 
🥉Women’s Singles – Aleks Titievskaja 
🥉Men’s Band 1 – Adam Dennison

Stockton 4 star
🥇U17 Girls – Ella Pashley
🥇U17 Boys – Isaac Kingham
🥈U17 Boys – Joe Dennison
🥉U19 Boys – Adam Dennison 
🥉U19 Girls – Ella Pashley
🥉Boys’ Team – Harri Docherty, Joe Marlor, Tudor Eftinca
🥉Boys’ Team – Joe Dennison, Adam Dennison, Gabriel Schogger

Home Countries International 2023
🥇 Women – Hannah Silcock
🥇 U15 Boys – Abraham Sellado
🥇 U19 Boys’ Doubles – Isaac Kingham
🥇U19 Boys’ Team – Isaac Kingham
🥇 U19 Girls’ Doubles – Lowri Hurd 
🥇 U15 Boys’ Doubles – Abraham Sellado 
🥇U15 Boys’ Team – Abraham Sellado
🥈U19 Boys’ Team – Harri Docherty 
🥈U19 Girls’ Team – Lowri Hurd
🥈 U19 Boys – Harri Docherty 
🥈 U19 Boys’ Doubles – Harri Docherty
🥈 U19 Girls – Lowri Hurd
🥉 U19 Boys – Isaac Kingham 
🥉 Women’s Doubles – Hannah Silcock

Chandlers 4 star
🥇U19 Boys’ Band 2 – Ryan Holland
🥉U15 Boys – Pablo Godoy
🥉U19 Boys’ Band 1 – Greg Fray
🥉U19 Girls – Ella Pashley

AOC National Colleges midlands qualifier 
🥇Men’s Singles – Toby Ellis 
🥇Women’s Singles – Aniaya Ali

Ulster Open
🥇U21 Women – Lowri Hurd
🥇Junior Girls – Lowri Hurd 
🥈Women’s Open – Lowri Hurd

Hull 2 star
🥈U21 Men – Tudor Eftinca

Chippenham 4 star
🥇U19 Boys – Isaac Kingham
🥉U19 Boys – Gabriel Schogger 

Cardiff GP
🥇Women’s Singles – Hannah Silcock
🥇Women’s Band 2 – Lowri Hurd
🥈Women’s Band 1 – Hannah Silcock
🥉Men’s Band 2 – Joe Marlor
🥉Men’s Band 2 – Djen Bakx
🥉U21 Men – Joe Dennison 
🥉U21 Men – Joe Marlor 

Hereford 2 star
🥇Men’s Open – Harri Docherty 
🥈Men’s Open – Joe Marlor

Batts 1 star
🥇Boys’ Band 1 – Harrison Hill
🥉Boys’ Band 1 – Prithvi Menon

Birmingham 2 Star
🥈U13 Band 1 – Prithvi Menon

Huddersfield 1 star
🥇U15 Band 2 – Prithvi Menon
🥈U15 Band 1 – Ryan Holland

Welsh Team Championship 
🥇 Premier Division – Harri Docherty 
🥈Premier Division – Joe Marlor

North Ayrshire Open
🥈Junior Doubles – Gabriel Schogger
🥉Junior Singles – Gabriel Schogger 

English Schools regional finals
🥇U19 Boys’ Singles – Adam Dennison 
🥇U19 Girls’ Singles – Hannah Silcock 
🥇U16 Boys’ Singles – Isaac Kingham 
🥇U16 Girls’ Singles – Ella Pashley
🥇U13 Boys’ Singles – Adam Dennison 
🥈U19 Boys’ Singles – Daniel Goitom 
🥈U19 Girls’ Singles – Anaiya Ali
🥈U13 Boys’ Singles – Prithvi Menon

English Schools Team regional finals
🥇U19 Boys
🥇U16 Boys
🥇U16 Girls

Plymouth 4 Star
🥈Cadet Boys Team – Abraham Sellado 
🥉Cadet Boys – Abraham Sellado 
🥉U19 Girls – Anaiya Ali

London Academy 2 Star
🥇U13 Boys – Ryan Holland

Junior British League
🥇JBL Boys – Premier Division Team 
🥈JBL Girls – Premier Division Team 
🥈JBL Girls – Division 1 Team 

Safir international (Sweden)
🥇U18 Boys – Toby Ellis
🥉Women’s Class 1 – Ella Pashley
🥉U16 Boys – Joe Dennison 

Wolverhampton GP
🥇Women’s Band 1 – Ella Pashley
🥇U21 Men – Joe Dennison 
🥈Women’s Open – Hannah Silcock 
🥈Men’s Band 1 – Adam Dennison 
🥈U21 Women – Hannah Silcock 
🥉U21 Men – Joe Marlor
🥉U21 Men – Adam Dennison 
🥉Men’s Band 2 – Joe Marlor
🥉Men’s Band 4 – Alex Henry 

St Neots 2 star
🥉U13 Boys – Ryan Holland 

Nottingham 2 star
🥉Cadet Group 1 – Harrison Hill