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 In the 70’s table tennis was having a big impact in this country.  This is one reason that the NPTSA Table Tennis Section was first formed in 1973.  Another reason was because of enquiries from a lot of undertakings as to the availability of the sport within the NPTSA.  A few members of the Society then got together to form a Committee in order to run a Table Tennis Section.  As there was such a large response, it was decided and agreed upon, to form two divisions (North and South) with the winners and runners up from the both leagues playing each other in the Semi Finals.

 The main people who had the task of getting the Section started were, the first Chairman - Peter Howitt from Derby, Vice Chairman - Jimmy Jeickles from Rotherham, and with the hardest job of all, Secretary/Treasurer - Joan Charlesworth.  All three did an excellent job of organising the section from its start.   The first finals were staged in Birmingham and they were a big success.   At these finals, and through word of mouth, more undertakings started to be interested in joining the section.

 The standard of players was, and still is, very high.   For example :- Desmond Douglas was once England and Great Britain number 1.   At the same time he was also a fitter who played for Birmingham in the competition.   There were, and still are, several players who play for their Cities and Counties, and a few years ago we even had a player who played for England Veterans (over 40’s).

 The section was at an all time high when the Government decided to kill the public transport sector by enforcing nationalisation.   With the nationalisation came the changing hands of companies and redundancies.   This nearly stopped the section from existing.   Instead of folding the section, the committee formed an alliance and decided to fight by introducing a new format.   They decided to cancel the league format and hold the full competition over one single weekend annually.   The first weekend tournament was held at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham.   It was such a success that it was decided that this new format would be the only format for the new annual competition.

 Throughout the following years Joan started to look at venues which were big enough to hold the annual competition.   The competition was also expanded so that instead of playing just Team competitions to represent their employers, players would now be able to play Singles and Doubles events.   If a team was knocked out in the first round of the competition it would now be able to play in a Plate competition for the Joan Charlesworth Shield.

 After a few years of this format the section was thriving and back on course again.   This is when Joan Charlesworth decided to hand the reigns over to a new leader and called it a day.   Keith Burnand, who was then a committee member, decided he would accept the task.   However, there was bad news to follow after only a couple of years, when Keith was made redundant from the transport sector and was unable to hold his post.

 This is when my friend “Brummy Git” became Secretary / Treasurer.   Pat Leake had first became involved in the early 80’s when he joined the committee and also arranged the accommodation and tournament at The Grand Hotel.   He was also known as the person behind the arrangement of holiday camps as venues, which we still use to this day.   The first holiday camp used for a weekend competition was Pontins Sand Bay.   Pat ran the competition very successfully until his untimely death in 2004.   I say untimely because he had said that the competition, one month before, had been the best he had ever organised.

 Derek Ellis, the Chairman at the time, and myself decided to organise the competition for 2005.   This is when, as a committee member, I realised the actual scale of the mountain we had to climb.   Pat, because of his years running the section, knew everyone’s name and telephone number and no need for records.   In order for us to organise the competition correctly and anywhere near as good as him we would have to gather every piece of information that was available.   This is when we realised Pat had every telephone number needed to keep the competition running.   This was supplied by his lad Matthew, who incidentally, still meets up with us every year.

 I was asked to run the competition in 2005 because of my previous management experience.   I found out later that it was actually because of the way I talked to people and sorted situations out in my own way.   I took on the position as long as Derek stayed on as my Chairman and Steve Godfrey came on board as my Vice Chairman.   We also increased the committee so that each undertaking has two members on it.   This then involves more people as representatives of our section. 
In 2005 the competition was organised okay but I did have teething problems.   It needed a few more years before I understood the logistics of the task at hand.

 We now have a “usual suspects” list of around 35 players for each tournament.   Due to the constraints of the competition being held from 9am - 5pm on the Saturday and Sunday of our weekend and the fact that because of space and cost we can only use six table tennis tables, we can only handle a maximum of 40 players per weekend with the format we use at present.   For example: teams at present require 3 members, but this could be expanded to 4 members.   I did put together a package for the Corporate Games which was involving teams consisting of 4 players and it would be easy to employ this strategy.

 In June/July 2006 I tried to expand this section through advertisement and by sending letters to all the depots I had the addresses for.   I actually only received correspondence from THREE undertakings.   One said “no thanks” (at least they replied), and two asked me for more information.   Even though I sent these two more information I never had another reply off either of them.

 We have already been invited back to Butlins Minehead for our 2009 competition even though we have not actually had our 2008 competition yet.   Emily Renshaw, who is The Conference and Sports Manager, deals with everything we will need facility wise.   Each year she gives us a contact name and email address of the person who we are to contact concerning prices and booking of accommodation.

 This year we were fortunate to receive sponsorship in the way of cheaper table and equipment hire from 2009.   Stagecoach Gillmoss Recreational Social Society have bought themselves the equipment that we will need each year.   This is so that we can hire off them in order to save costs and not worry about finding a supplier each year.

 If anyone is interested in being involved with the 2009 competition, please do not hesitate to ask.   Please include your email address so that I can dispatch the details immediately once I know them.   Vince has all my details which are also printed below.

 The last thing I must say is that if you contact me by mobile I may not be able to answer because of my job so I advise you to write by email or contact me at home where my Secretary (my partner - but she knows my lads as well as I do) will let me know when I come in.

L13 7EY

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