THE man behind one of the biggest table tennis clubs in the UK insists finally being crowned British ladies' champions makes 35 years of growing the club worth it.

Terry McLernon started Drumchapel Table Tennis Club in 1989 with just one table but has now grown that to 120 as his girls' squad became the first-ever Scottish female team to win best in Britain.

Last week in Wolverhampton, Lucy Elliot, Alicja Czarnowska Hannah Silcock and Beth O’Connell fought off the challenge of Middlesbrough’s Ormesby Club to take the much-coveted trophy on a journey north of the border for the very first time.

And 65-year-old Terry admits if it wasn’t for the long drive home, he’d have cracked open the bubbly to celebrate.

Speaking exclusively to The Clydebank Post, a beaming Terry – noting his ladies were missing their number one player - said: “The girls between them played amazing.

“I never thought we would beat them (Ormesby) 4-2 in the final match.

“They had the strongest team out they could get, and our girls played amazing.

“Alicia from Edinburgh was unbelievable, her experience and her touch were just top-notch.

“She got us to three, which means they could only draw with us.”

Before adding: “I was so high; I was unbelievably high about it.

“Last year we lost it by one point, after beating the eventual winners twice.

“I can’t tell you how elated I was. If we weren’t driving home, I would have got us a bottle of Champagne.”

Clydebank Post: The girls won when down in WolverhamptonThe girls won when down in Wolverhampton (Image: Sourced)

The win means Drumchapel – who have over 500 members – become the first club to have claimed both the men's and women’s British trophies in their history.

And the chuffed coach noted it was a long way from the early days when he started the club as a guy who just loved table tennis.

“One of the highlights of Drumchapel Table Tennis Club, is the amount of people who come from all over Scotland to play and practice in our club,” Terry continued.

“We brought that trophy home, and all our young girls come in on a Tuesday night and our coaches say, ‘There you are, that’s you in 10 years.

“We have an incredible club of young people now and I don’t know how we got them.

“Sometimes you get one or two who are really good, we seem to have 10 at the moment.

“To be honest, this is probably the best the club has been since I started it.”

It seems the triumph has all been part of a well-thought-out master plan by the Drumchapel native who targeted the youth in education as the way to build a strong, recognised club.

He continued: “All the primary schools in Drumchapel, Knightswood, Bearsden, I do the local areas, the secondaries and the primaries.

“When you go into the schools, we have bought a lot of the tables for them and given them the first year coaching for free.

“And some of those kids have gone on to play with the club in Europe and for Scotland.”

It will now be the four girls who will venture into European competition, with the British success meaning they will face squads from the continent.

And Terry – who explained he spends every day between 7 am and 10 pm at the club – credits the new generation as the reason he isn’t feeling his age.

“Yeah, they keep me young,” finished the experienced gaffer.

“I’m 65 but I feel 21, they keep me young.”