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Castle Mall shoppers battle against Ping-Pong Robot

PUBLISHED: 14:23 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 27 January 2018

Members of Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. 
Laura Marsh trying her luck.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Members of Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. Laura Marsh trying her luck. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A smash-hit challenge is being served up to city shoppers over the weekend as they take on a Ping-Pong Robot.

Members of Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. 
EDP reporter Jacob Massey takes up the challenge.
Picture: Nick Butcher Members of Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. EDP reporter Jacob Massey takes up the challenge. Picture: Nick Butcher

Visitors to Castle Mall were challenged to show off their table tennis skills and compete for a prize.

Pressure told for some as the robot fired balls at them for 30 seconds, while they attempted to knock down a stack of 30 cups at the opposite end of the table.

The entrant who knocked down the most cups won a £20 voucher, to be spent at any store in the shopping centre.

Competitors made a suggested donation of £1 which went to Castle Mall’s charities of the year, OPEN and Headway Norwich and Waveney.

Members of Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. 
Doug Randall giving a demonstration.
Picture: Nick Butcher Members of Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. Doug Randall giving a demonstration. Picture: Nick Butcher

Since October 2017, there has been a free ping-pong parlour on level two of the shopping centre, opened in collaboration with Table Tennis England.

Mark Dare, from Table Tennis England, said it was the most successful parlour they had ever opened.

He said: “It has been a huge success. 57pc of all feedback forms that have been filled in across the country were completed here, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5, which is fantastic.”

Shopping centre manager Robert Bradley was certainly happier with the feedback scores than his personal ping-pong challenge score.

Dan Melburn, Doug Randall and Stuart Laws from Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. 

Picture: Nick Butcher Dan Melburn, Doug Randall and Stuart Laws from Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. Picture: Nick Butcher

He said: “I only managed to knock down four: it is a lot harder than it looks. But the ping-pong parlour has been really popular. The feedback shows people have been more likely to visit, stay longer and eat and drink here as a result of the parlour.

“We’re always trying to offer shoppers more reasons to visit and we’re delighted that the ping-pong tables have been so well received.”

Club members from Norwich City Table Tennis Club (NCTTC) were on hand to help and head coach Stuart Laws, said they had benefited from the parlour.

He said: “We have left flyers around the tables here and we have had 12 new members join the club as a result, as well as others who have come in for taster sessions.”

Dan Melburn, Doug Randall and Stuart Laws from Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. 

Picture: Nick Butcher Dan Melburn, Doug Randall and Stuart Laws from Norwich City table tennis club held a ping pong challenge inside Castle Mall at the weekend. Picture: Nick Butcher

As for the knack to the challenge, Mr Laws said the key was to aim high.

He said: “The bottom cups in the stack are hard to budge, so you have to clip off the top ones first and work down. Rhythm is important too.”

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