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“Sectarianism Shame” By Joshua Griffiths

Sectarianism? What is Sectarianism? Sectarianism is the rivalry between two religious parties – Roman Catholics & Protestants, with one of the main and potentially biggest rivalry between Celtic & Rangers FC fans. Sectarianism has led to numerous serious attacks on football fans and police officers; it has also led to death in some occasions. Through-out the past century, sectarianism has brutally affected the citizens of Glasgow and the west of scotland.

It must be highlighted that Sectarainism can affect anyone at anytime anywhere. On January 16h 2012 at 16:42pm, a 16 year old boy was kicked and punched round the head any body area just shortly after the train left from Glasgow Central travelling to Kilmarnock. The British Transport Police said that a bottle was thrown and was smashed during the incident. In 2004 and 2005, incidents reported to police in Scotland increased by 50% over 18 months. Scottish Goverment statistics showed that 64% of the 726 cases in that 18 month period were motivated by hatred against Catholics and 36% hatred towards Protestants.

Northern Ireland is also known for Sectarian volience. Police forces fired plastic bullets and water cannons at riders in the heart of Belfast after being pelted by missiles for the second successive night in the latest bout of Northern Island’s sporadic sectarian violence.

Bricks, glass bottles & fireworks rained down on riot police when they moved in to try and clear the cities thoroughfair. Police said two officers were injured and eight were hurt the previous night when a crowd threw paint bombs, bottles and masonary at the police. Another time a man atttacked the police with a sword and the police retaliated by firing plasitc bullets at him.

Some observers have argued that we need to stop sectarianism in Glasgow. The Scottish Goverment has published its proposals for legislation to tackle sectarianism related to football by introducing tough new prison terms. The bill aims to stamp out abusive behaviour from football fans wheteher they are watching matches at the stadium, in the pub or commenting online. It would be a maximum of five years in prison. THe offensive behaviour at football and threatening communications bill aims to tackle disorder around football matches and clamp down on internet hate posts.

Sectarianism is still evident in our society because just this year (2015) a young 10 year old Rangers fan lost three teeth and was left with a broken jaw after he was hit with a glass bottle as he travelled to his first old firm game. The attack took place around 12.30pm when a Rangers mini bus travelling to the game was surrounded by Celtic fans hurling abuse at them. The news said “ The door on the minibus was opened and a bottle launched inside. It struck the young boy on the face which lead to his horrific injuries.

In 2009, the Dailymail printed an article stating that a protestant’s wife suffered serious head injuries after she tried to save her catholic husband who was beaten by a gang of fans. After the football, Kevin was on his way home walking down the street when he was assaulted by a gang and was kicked the death. Evelyn, 49, recieved a terrible mass of cuts and bruises to her face and head.

Many deaths are caused by Sectarianism buy I don’t see why people get so emotional about whether their team loses or wins, that they fell the need to go and kill or beat up the opposing teams fans. After hearing and reading about many emotional stories I am strongly against sectarianism because it causes a great amount of grief in cities like Glasgo and it can lead to riots, violence and deaths. If I have children I certainly do not want them growing up with so much hatred towards other religions and people who believe or support something different to me.

Thanks for reading.

Joshua Griffiths (s3 student at St Matthews Academy & member of North Ayrshire TTC)

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North of Scotland Open Results

Jill Taylor and Chris Main made the 170 mile journey to Aberdeen Sports Village for this year’s North of Scotland Open with both players hoping to work their way into the latter stages of their respective events. Chris was top seed heading into the Men’s Singles event and worked his way through the group stages and early knock-out rounds to set up a semi final against no 4 seed Yaser Razouk. Yaser put up a great fight, however Chris managed to scrap the win 11-9 in the fourth set to meet Chris Wheeler who dispatched Colin Dalgleish in the other semi final. Wheeler played superb table tennis to beat Chris Main in straight sets to be crowned North of Scotland Open Champion. Chris and partner Colin Dalgleish combined brilliantly to win the Mens Doubles title beating Yaser & Chris Wheeler 12-10 in the deciding set.

Good start to the year for Jill Taylor who finished runners up in the Junior Girls and reached quarter-finals in the Womens Singles. Jill who was seeded 3rd in the Junior Girls event beat Hannah Robb, Alisha Khalid, Caitlin Cameron & Abigail Paterson to finish runners up behind top seed an eventual winner Lucy Elliott. In the Women’s Singles, Jill finished 2nd in her opening group and meet Lucy Elliott in the quarter finals. Lucy proved too strong beating Jill 10, 5 & 8. Full full report and pictures please visit Table Tennis Scotland’s website – www.tabletennisscotland.co.uk.

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Smashin’ Sectarianism off the Table

North Ayrshire TTC are currently half way through the 2nd year of their anti – sectarianism project and are raising awareness of the work they are doing in Saltcoats, Ardrossan & Stevenston. From February 1st we will have a dedicated area on our website for our anti-sectarianism work with questionnaires, information and links which will be available for everyone to view and complete. Working alongside the Voluntary Action Fund we have realised how many people have been or are affected with sectarianism and how everyone has a different view on this issue, with some people acknowledging it is a big problem in our society and with others saying its not a problem at all.

We have delivered numerous workshops, classroom based activities and handed out over 200 questionnaires in order to see what members of our club and local school children think of sectarianism in our area. Chris Main recently wrote a blog post for the Action on Sectarianism website which details how and why we are going about our work and how a table tennis club can fight such a prevalent issue. If you would like to read this then visit – www.actiononsectarianism.info/smashing-sectarianism-off-the-table.

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West of Scotland Junior League

Impressive day of results for our 6 North Ayrshire teams at the 3rd and 4th rounds of matches of the WoS Junior League. Our Division 1 teams are currently sitting in 3rd and 4th place behind East Kilbride A and South Ayrshire. Division 2 team, North Ayrshire C, won both of their matches against Boys Brigade A and East Kilbride C 3-2 and are currently sitting in 5th place. Division 4 team of Holly McNamara, Eva Herrington & Cameron Mills are in 3rd place after a 5-4 win and 8-1 win against East Kilbride & Joe Wilson respectively. For full results and player averages visit www.wosttl.org.uk

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Three Towns TT Festival

Three Towns TT Festival was held at St Matthews Academy on Friday November 28th where over 25 pupils from local schools competed against each other in 3 different categories. The experienced category was a group of 8 players who have been attending the club sessions for over a year was won by Jamie Johnson (Glencairn). Runners up was Patric Hollywood (Caledonia) and 3rd place was Chad Duncan (St Anthony’s). Grade 1 event was won by Harvey Newall (Ardeer) with Declan McCoy (Hayocks) beaten finalist.

Grade 2 event was won by Zak Leith of St Anthonys with Michael Donnelly (St Anthonys) finishing in runners up. This was a great event which was the finale of our 8 week block of classes which we ran in St Anthonys, Hayocks, Ardeer and Glecairn. Hopefully we see some of these players attending the club sessions in the future and special thanks to Bruce McMaster of Active Schools for helping with the planning and organising of this event. For more pictures please visit our facebook page – http://goo.gl/nND6ds.

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National Senior League Update

Our 3 National Senior League teams were competing at St Matthews Academy, Saltcoats and Royal High School, Edinburgh in divisions 1, 2 and 3. Our division 1 team who are going for the title for the 4th year in a row won 6-0 v Murrayfield and 6-0 v Fair City TTC. Division 2 team of Will Kennedy, Andy Macpherson & Chris Barclay had 2 tough matches which finished with a 3-3 draw v Knightswood ‘B’ and a 5-1 loss v Dumfries ‘A’ who had Scottish no 7 Callum Main playing for them. Andy Bogle, Martin Johnson & Jill Taylor won 4-2 v Scottish Vets and lost 6-0 to Dumfries ‘B’ in which 4 matches went to full 5 sets. Full results and tables are available at www.tabletennisscotland.co.uk

From October 2013, North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club have been working alongside the Voluntary Action Fund on raising the awareness of sectarianism and educating our club members on what problems it causes in our local community. Members of our committee attended a number of training days and workshops to learn of the problems of sectarianism and how to tackle it. We ran classroom based activities, facilitated discussions and handed out questionnaires to our club members & school children involved in table tennis, to get them talking about sectarianism and hearing their views on the subject. We held several successful inter school tournaments and training days where pupils from different schools were playing with and against each other.

We held a project finale table tennis tournament on March 27th in which over 45 pupils from Ardrossan Academy and St Matthews attended. This was a fantastic turnout and included pupils who have just started playing table tennis due this program. At the end of our Stand Up to Sectarianism Project, we found the vast majority of our members have a better understanding of the subject of sectarianism and are aware that there is a underlying problem within our community. Pictures of the finale table tennis event can be viewed http://goo.gl/H6IyOR