COLEBRIDGE YOUNG PEOPLE’S CLUB (incorporating Colebridge Table Tennis Club)
ANNUAL REPORT for 2014-2015
I concluded last year’s report with a statement that it was my last, as, in Martin George, we had found someone capable to take over the role of Honorary Secretary. However, neither he nor I could envisage the calamity that lay ahead for him in the form of a knee injury that has incapacitated him for most of the year and has now forced his resignation. So, once again, I have had to step into the breach and try to chronicle the events that have occurred in yet another successful year in Colebridge’s history.
It is apt that I should start by once again acknowledging the achievements of three of our most prominent members.
In addition to his sterling work as Colebridge Youth Leader, Coaching & Disability Officer, Edward Lynn is now the Birmingham County Secretary of the English Schools Table Tennis Association and Coaching Officer for Birmingham & Solihull District Table Tennis Association. He is also coaching at Colebridge Satellite clubs in schools in Birmingham, Solihull and Warwickshire and somehow is managing to fit in the running of Schools Tournaments and Disability events and Coaching sessions for Table Tennis England’s West Midlands Region.
Last year, Kate Hughes left the Colebridge committee to concentrate on her playing career and how that has paid dividends. She organised and led the Aces team that returned the Leamington TTA Division 1 title to Colebridge, and not only was she was the only woman playing in the Division, but only four men won more points for their teams. Kate also played a prominent part in helping the Warwickshire team to win Division 1 of the TTE Senior County Championship, and made a clean sweep of all her events in both the Warwickshire and Leamington Closed Championships.
Kate also helped to organise the English Schools National Championships in Tipton and captained the English Schools Under 11 Girls team in the Primary Schools International Championships, held in April 2015 at Blackburn.
She even found time to continue running the annual Colebridge Hard Bat Championship. Perhaps we should change her nickname from ‘Tiny Tot’ to ‘Wonder Woman’.
Ian Ferguson has managed to maintain his position as the English Police Force’s most successful table tennis player, by winning their National Singles Championship for the 5th time in succession and claiming the doubles title for the 3rd time in a row, with another Colebridge member, Leigh Bradford. Ian also led the Warwickshire County Senior team to promotion to the County Championship Premier Division, as mentioned above.
The various comings and goings have meant that membership numbers have remained steady, currently 118, divided as follows (All categories except the SENIOR are those required by NCYP’s affiliation process):
20 - 25
20 – 25 with special needs
I should add that we have also had a steady increase in the number of visitors, principally to our Friday evening open session. As some of these have become ‘regulars’ and we now also have a regular Sunday evening Open session, we hope that they and others will consider becoming full members.
JUNIOR TABLE TENNIS
Thanks to Edward Lynn’s promotional and coaching skills, and the financial support of the Birmingham and of the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire School Sport Partnerships, we now have successful Satellite Club schemes operating in 4 local schools – Wheelers Lane Technology College and Baverstock Academy in Birmingham, Tudor Grange Academy in Solihull and Tanworth-in- Arden C of E Primary. The latter is unusual in that it is a primary school, which is receiving support from CSW Sport, despite its children currently being younger than the Satellite Club scheme’s target group of 14-25 year olds. For that we must acknowledge the support of the school and the dedicated team of local adults who help to run the club. Needless to say they are doing their utmost to recruit older children and young people.
The value of the scheme to our club is demonstrated by the fact that members of all 4 satellites have since become Colebridge members
Sadly, we did not enjoy the same support for the Satellite club that we set up at Lode Heath School, Solihull, forcing us to terminate our coaching sessions there.
Competitively, our junior members continue to achieve both individual and team success in the local and national events listed below
National Cadet League (for those under 15 years)
As usual the West Midland Region event was held at Burton Uxbridge TTC, with Colebridge once again entering two teams.
The A team, comprising Lisa Rinnhofer, Hawley Ellicott, Ben Furey and Aaryan Deshpande were champions of Division 2 and the B team, comprising Sophie Rinnhofer, Saif Askam-Mohammed, Amir Van Eekelen and Jake Crawshaw, matched them by winning Division 3. Considering the very young age of some of the players, who will be looking forward to competing for the top title next season, this is a most noteworthy achievement.
National Junior League (for those under 18 years)
We also entered two teams in the West Midlands Region event at Wood Green TTC. With both teams populated by cadets, they found themselves under pressure from their mostly older opponents, but both qualified for Division 3. The A team, comprising the champions of National Cadet League Division 2, were comfortable winners, but the B team of Sam Gardiner, Sam Hay, Amir Van Eekelen and Yoni Ehrlich only managed 6th place.
Team coach, Ed Lynn was keen to highlight the excellent team spirit of his charges in both Leagues and point out that, as most members of the teams will be eligible to play in both events next year, the prospect of future success seems assured.
Table Tennis England National Championships
The Regional Qualifying events were again held at Wood Green. In the National Cadet qualifying round, Lisa Rinnhofer did well to reach the National finals. However, her sister, Sophie, went one better in the Under 11-14 qualifying round by reaching the finals of both the Under 11 and under 12 Girls singles, in first place. On the same day, two boys from Colebridge, Aaryan Deshpande (U12 Boys) and Hawley Ellicott (U14 Boys) also qualified for the National Finals of their events.
In the National Finals, Sophie Rinnhofer put in an outstanding performance, by reaching the semi-final of the Under 11 Girls Singles, where she was defeated by the eventual champion.
Warwickshire Closed Championships
Under 11 Girls Singles – Sophie Rinnhofer (winner).
Under 13 Girls Singles – Sophie Rinnhofer (winner).
Cadet Girls Singles – Lisa Rinnhofer (winner).
Junior Girls Singles – Lisa Rinnhofer (runner-up).
Junior Boys Singles – Sam Henderson (winner).
Junior Boys Doubles – Sam Henderson – runner-up - with Sam Weaving (Free Church).
Women’s Doubles – Lisa Rinnhofer – runner-up - with Olivia Fletcher (Free Church).
Birmingham Closed Championships
Junior Boys Singles – Hawley Ellicott (runner-up).
Cadet Boys Singles – Hawley Ellicott (winner), Aaryan Deshpande (runner-up).
Leamington Closed Championships
Under 11 Girls Singles – Sophie Rinnhofer (winner).
Under 13 Girls Singles – Sophie Rinnhofer (runner-up).
Parent/Child Doubles – Mike & Sophie Rinnhofer (runners-up).
With the Rinnhofer sisters performing so well at all levels, it was not surprising that Lisa, the oldest, although still only 14, should be chosen to represent Warwickshire at both Cadet (in Division 1B of the TTE Cadet County Championships) and Junior (in Division 1A of the Junior County Championships) levels. In the latter, she was joined by our top junior boy, Sam Henderson.
Lisa was also one of nine juniors from Warwickshire to compete in the Individual events in the English Schools National Table Tennis Championships at Tipton, having won the Under 16 Girls title at the Warwickshire Schools event. Her sister, Sophie was the winner in the Under 11 girls singles at the latter event, and also competed at the National Schools Championships in Tipton.
Sam Henderson again competed successfully in the Birmingham Schools Championships, adding the Under 19 title to the Under 13 and Under 16 titles that he held previously.
For most of the year, junior coaching sessions have taken place on Friday evenings (principally for beginners), Saturday mornings (improvers) and Saturday afternoons (advanced). Towards the end of the year, Ed Lynn also began a session late on Saturday afternoons, for girls and ladies. All have been well supported, except that for the Girls/Ladies. We need more publicity if that session is to be better attended.
Further innovations have been the running of an ‘Inclusion’ session for disabled players between 5.15 and 6.45 pm on Thursdays, and a further Advanced session on Wednesday from 5.00 – 7.00 pm, both again well attended.
Edward Lynn has run most of the sessions, but has had valuable assistance from Ian Scott, who incidentally, has followed Ed in receiving the BSDTTA Coach of the Year Award, mainly for the running the TTE advanced training sessions at Hamstead Hall and Broadway schools.
Colebridge Junior Championships
The promise shown by all those who have attended these sessions was put to the test with the running of a Colebridge Junior Championship, for the first time including a Full Inclusion disability event.
Jake Crawshaw, who only started playing table tennis a few months earlier, won the Under 13 event, with Tom Hinder runner-up.
Jake also made the Under 16 final, where he was beaten by Lisa Rinnhofer, although he managed to win one game against his vastly more experienced opponent. Lisa also won the Under 19 event, although she was taken to a 5th game by her opponent, Awais Mohammed.
In the Disability event, which was open to all ages, Sol Bartlett was the winner of the ladies singles, with Leanne Johnson runner-up.
Dev X won the mens singles, with Faisal Yasin runner-up. A special mention goes to Phil Scandrett for his performance which saw him just fail to make the final.
The winners and runners-up received medals and 8 year old Nathaniel Saunders was named ‘Player of the Day’ for his efforts in winning points off all his much older opponents and he was rewarded with a bat case, kindly donated by Inky Moss.
Ed Lynn, who organised this event, expressed his thanks to Kathy Fox of Headway West Midlands who regularly brings the disabled players to our disability sessions and to our able bodied juniors who gave full support to everyone on the day, with Sam Gardiner earning a special mention for the time he spent in helping the disabled participants.
SENIOR TABLE TENNIS
There have been a number of highlights this year, notably the recapture of the Leamington and District TTA Division 1 title and a number of other team and individual successes.
Birmingham, Solihull & District TTA
9 teams again took part in the BSDTTA 3 aside League. Our top team, Aces, were strong contenders for the Premier Division title, the fight for which went to the last match of the season. Unfortunately, the team of Ed Lynn, Ben Willson and Sam Henderson were overpowered by a top class display from all 3 opponents from rivals Beaufort Sports and, once again had to settle for second place.
Our most successful team was Dinosaurs, who swamped every other team in Division 2, racking up 60 points, 16 more than the team in second place. Eagles managed a mid table position, but all of the other teams spent most of the season striving to avoid relegation. All escaped, except Giants and Jaguars.
The table below shows their records:
Leading individual performers were
Premier – Edward Lynn 45/51 (2nd), Ben Willson 35/54, Sam Henderson 33/51 – all Aces. Navinder Matharu 22/36, Vikas Bakhshi 17/45, both Braves.
Division 1 – Jamie Fellows(Falcons) 34/54 (6th), Bernard Oliver 33/51, Mike Credland 28/45, both Eagles.
Division 2 – Pete Roddy 37/39 (2nd), Dan Ranford 29/33, Jim Connor 29/36, Brian Morris 26/36, all Dinosaurs. M. Welsh 21/39, Neil Wheatley 12/18, both Hawks.
Division 3 – Omar Zaman – (Jaguars) 49/54 (1st).
A special mention goes to Jamie Fellows, without doubt Colebridge’s keenest young member, who celebrated his promotion to Division 1 by winning enough games to ensure his team remained there. This usually required a dash to and from his University at Stafford, not to mention long hours spent in practising at the club during weekends. His efforts were recognised by BSDTTA with the award of ‘Most Improved Player of the Season’.
This season all teams were entered automatically in the BSDTTA cup competitions, which had been reformatted to provide a cup competition for each division.
Only one Colebridge team reached the final - Dinosaurs (Peter Roddy, Jim Connor, Brian Morris and Dan Ranford) being the winners of the Jim Whitehead Trophy. Hawks and Jaguars were losing semi-finalists in their competitions.
Birmingham Closed Championships
More Colebridge successes here:
Men’s Singles – Edward Lynn (winner), Ben Willson (runner-up).
Men’s Doubles – Edward Lynn (winner – with Jack Styring (Smith’s Wood).
Restricted A Singles – Navinder Matharu (winner).
Leamington & District TTA
We had two teams in the First Division, where the standard is very high, since it attracts top players from around Warwickshire and neighbouring counties, so Aces’ success is noteworthy. The Braves’ team members battled gamely, but still maintained their record of following promotion to Division 1 last season, by relegation, this time in bottom but one position.
Kate Hughes 42/52, Ben Willson 38/45, Sam Henderson 21/27, Ian Ferguson 18/19, Edward Lynn 16/17, Mike Rinnhofer 20/24.
Leamington Closed Championships
Women’s Singles – Kate Hughes (winner).
Women’s Doubles – Kate Hughes (winner) – with Millie Bradshaw (Rugby).
Mixed Doubles – Kate Hughes (winner) – with Ryan Stockham (Rugby).
Warwickshire Closed Championships.
This year’s Championships again saw Kate Hughes in amazing form and winning all of her events.
Women’s Singles – Kate Hughes (winner). Lisa Rinnhofer (runner-up).
Women’s Doubles – Kate Hughes (winner) – with Jo Outhwaite (Rugby).
Mixed Doubles – Kate Hughes (winner) – with Ryan Stockham (Rugby)
Men’s Doubles – Edward Lynn and Sam Henderson (winners).
Warwickshire Team Championships
Colebridge retained the trophy that was won last year, although, once again, this competition failed to raise the interest it deserves, with just two entries. Kate Hughes, Ian Ferguson and Sam Henderson represented Colebridge against last year’s opponents, Free Church, and with the same 9-0 result.
Birmingham teams in the Midlands Veterans League.
Mike Rinnhofer (Division 2), Dean Hicks (Divisions 2 & 3) and Neil Wheatley (Division 3) represented Birmingham in this League.
Ben Willson also represented Birmingham in the TTE Willmott Cup qualifying round.
We were privileged to be chosen to host qualifying rounds of the English Leagues Cup Championships, on behalf of Table Tennis England and Leamington & District TTA. The Senior competition, known as the Wilmott Cup, saw teams from Tamworth, Leicester, Malvern and Leamington in competition, with the latter the winners, whilst the Junior competition, the Carter Cup, saw only Birmingham and Leamington, with the former victorious. Sam Henderson was one of the two Birmingham players.
Our thanks to Neil Wheatley and Kate Hughes for their part in the running of these events.
Colebridge also hosted the inaugural Paul Cockburn Memorial Championships, an annual event to be run by the West Midlands Police and Fire and Ambulance Services and named in memory of Paul Cockburn, a leading local Fire Officer and a former member of our club, before leaving to organise competitive table tennis on behalf of W M Fire Service. Paul sadly died last year. In a friendly but competitive competition, Ian Ferguson added yet two more titles to his list, winning the Singles and the Doubles (with Mike Jervis from W M Fire Service). Kate Hughes was also prominent in the running of this event and, somehow, also managed to compete in it.
One event not arranged by Kate, was the Colebridge Christmas Social Evening. For that we can thank Pete and Maureen Roddy, John Overton and Roy and Evelyn Prosser who, between them, cooked up some excellent refreshments. However Kate was roped in to mastermind, in her usual brilliant way, the friendly competition which took place.
The Wrong Handed Tournament was won by Feiran Wu, with Chris Wills runner-up.
The Consolation Wrong Handed Tournament was won by Jamie Fellows, with Ben Furey runner-up.
The Single Point Tournament was won by Lisa Rinnhofer, with Barry James runner-up.
Our thanks to everyone who came and supported the event and provided raffle prizes (Thank you, Inky).
Kate Hughes’s annual Colebridge Hard Bat Championships has already been mentioned. Last year’s competition had an unusually small number of participants, but from a very keen competition the following winners and runners-up emerged:
Main competition – winner Sam Henderson, runner-up Ben Willson.
Consolation Event – winner Lisa Rinnhofer, runner-up Tim Fell.
Single Point Competition – winner Mike Evetts, runner-up Tim Fell.
In March, we were invited to assist Volunteers Charity, Join In UK, by supervising a table tennis event at the annual InterSport Trade Fair in Shirley. Inky Moss, John Overton, Pete Roddy and Neil Wheatley took along one of the Club’s robot trainers and gave those attending the Fair the opportunity of trying their skills against it. Two enjoyable days took place and ended with Join In UK promising to help our search for a volunteer Fund Raiser. So far, both they and we have been unsuccessful.
The 2014-2015 Income and Expenditure Report will show that the club continues to pay its way and has been able to put aside a small amount for future needs. Chief of these are the works necessary to make the roof weatherproof, so that we can then plan and seek grant aid for the much needed provision of a toilet and changing room for our female and disabled members and visitors, and to upgrade the men’s toilet facilities. Work has already started on the roof and should be completed by the end of June.
We have also been able to install extraction fans in both main rooms, the financing of which was made possible by a generous donation from our Chairman, Inky Moss. That enabled us to also include the provision of emergency lighting in both rooms and the fitting of another CCTV camera housing to cover the railway side of our building, prompted by a graffiti attack on the adjacent wall. A more powerful external floodlight has also been fitted.
The committee is not proposing an increase in the main subscriptions for next year, but we do propose to simplify our membership arrangements by eliminating Casual Membership and by introducing a separate and lower rate for those members aged between 18 and 25, in the hope that it will encourage young people of that age to retain their membership when they cease to be junior members. Full details will be explained at the AGM.
Site and Drive
The state of the drive leading to our site has been a cause of concern for many years, mainly because of complexities in the deeds and leases of all those who use it, none of which are clear about who has to bear the costs of maintenance. We had hoped that allowing a drive contractor to store plant and materials on part of our site in return for maintenance of the site and drive, would solve the problem, but the mostly cosmetic attention that the drive has received has not had much effect, with members and visitors being obliged to negotiate rain filled potholes all too often. We are currently trying to reach an agreement with our tenant on a more effective and long term solution to the problem.
The building itself continues to provide the best playing conditions of any club in the area and it is kept spick and span by a few members, ably led by Pete Roddy and John Overton. Their job would be made much easier if all members took the trouble to clear away accumulated rubbish and properly wash and put away cups and glasses at the end of each session. Too often, this is overlooked and the responsibility must rest with each keyholder to see that it is done. Keyholders please take note!
Our website remains one of the best of all table tennis clubs, despite the frequent changes made to its format by its platform provider, Tabletennis365.com. As always, our thanks go to Mike Evetts for managing it so well and to the members who sent in reports for inclusion during the past year. Ben Willson has added a Twitter account and the Facebook page ‘Fans of Colebridge TTC’ is also ever-present, to provide everyone with the chance to offer their thoughts on the club and table tennis in general.
Last year we suffered a blow, when we were informed by the Architect for Sport England that any application for funding to extend our building to provide additional playing space, was unlikely to succeed, as he considered the site unsuitable. This is a pity, because Table Tennis England has indicated that it favours the construction of a larger Club in our area.
The committee will look at ways we might improve, but it seems likely that few members would favour moving to larger premises, even if a site nearby can be found, especially as Sport England now has a policy of funding major developments only if the premises are to be shared by two or more sports. I have already mentioned the toilet and changing improvements, which the current roofing work will facilitate, but for other improvements, we may have to content ourselves by adding some useful extensions, such as a store room, to free up our rear room to provide a social and meeting area. Members’ views on this subject will always be welcome.
Membership & Committee.
No club can survive without the efforts of keen and dedicated volunteers, of which Colebridge can never have enough. All of the ‘few’ at our club will tell you that they actually get much enjoyment from their work. Like everyone else, they lead busy lives, but still manage a few hours each week to keep the club ticking over. So why are there not more of them? To paraphrase a former US president, ‘Ask not what Colebridge can do for you, but what you can do for Colebridge?’
Whilst, as far as I am aware, we have yet to find an Honorary Secretary, I can safely say that this is definitely my last Annual Report. Colebridge is first and foremost a Young People’s Club and to thrive, it needs someone at the helm with a more agile mind than my aged one, not to mention someone with better authorship and speedier typing skills. After 25 years as Leader and/or Secretary, I am more than ready to let someone else have a go.
Neil Wheatley. June 2015.