Rovers’ stars were playing for points of a different kind when England table tennis ace Kelly Sibley paid a special visit to Brockhall.
The life-long Rovers fan, who was a mascot for the club during the historic Premiership title-winning season, was invited to the training ground after cheekily challenging the players to a game on Twitter!
Kelly, who is the top female ranked player in the country and who competed for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, watched the players be put through their paces out on the training pitch, before taking on all-comers on the table.
And there was certainly no Christmas spirit on show, as Kelly ruthlessly defeated the likes of Jason Steele, Marvin Emnes and Hope Akpan – without dropping a single point!
Hot-shot Danny Graham, who has scored six goals in his last six games for Rovers, was first to avoid a whitewash – taking three points off the British champ – before Ben Marshall and manager Owen Coyle later followed suit.
Kelly and the players also took on pupils from St Bede’s High School, who engage with the Premier League 4 Sport programme, delivered by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.
“It was brilliant,” said Kelly, who would make the five-hour round trip from Leamington Spa to Ewood Park with her step dad from a young age.
“Obviously supporting Blackburn Rovers all my life, it’s nice to actually meet them on a social level and to get them playing table tennis was good fun and to beat them was even better!
“Hope (Akpan) likes to think he’s the best – and he was pretty good to be fair. Danny Graham’s got a very good serve, but probably the most competitive of them all would have to be the gaffer.
“I really enjoy doing things like this and giving something back to the sport and obviously the local community. I think it’s really important for them (the pupils) that they get opportunities like this to come here and play against people like me, and it’s great to see them doing so well.”