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Serving for success

16 October 2013


Sheffield Wednesday winger Michail Antonio hit a winner when his table tennis talents were put to the test by a skilled supporter.

The Owls player was on fine form as he triumphed over professional player Steve Parkinson in a closely fought match.

The contest, held at Middlewood Road and umpired by goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes, came about as a result of comments made by Antonio in a recent matchday programme.

Asked which player was champion of the tennis table, a self-assured Antonio replied that he was of a different standard to the rest of his team mates and, bored of the lack of competition, called for someone to take him on.

Quick to respond was 66-year-old Season Ticket holder Steve; a fully-qualified table tennis coach who has, in the past, represented both Sheffield and South Yorkshire and is still playing competitively today.

Despite Steve’s impressive credentials, Antonio, whose biggest achievement in the sport is playing for his school team, won the match 24-22, 21-19, 21-18.

Afterwards the challenger admitted: “I’m extremely impressed by Michail and must confess that he was far better than I thought he’d be.

“However, had I been playing with my own bat I think the result could have been different - that’s taking nothing away from Michail because he played very well.”

Never one to shy away from a challenge Antonio promptly offered a rematch using the type of bats that Steve regularly plays with.

He said: “Since leaving school I haven’t played a lot and only really pick up a bat once in a while after training with the lads but it’s something you never forget.

“I’m delighted that I’m still unbeaten and would be more than happy to take Steve on again using the tools he’s used to – it was a good match and he is far better than any of our boys.”

Highlights of the game and interviews with both players will be available on Wednesday Player today.

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