Britain defeated Germany and the second World War had just ended...............
Three Stalwarts retire.......
(Article by Jim Reeves)
Three gentlemen of the Table Tennis world have all retired from The sport in the last few years. Two in the last year. Collectively from 1975/76 under the banner of Hardwick, Arthur Jones, Ivor Parish & Dan Powell have played together with Carol Ashley & Michael Jones. However this 35 year period is only the tip of the iceberg. All these gents started playing before 1950.
The early days: The longest serving member of the group was Ivor Parish, a Morda man through and through. Ivor was born in Morda and carried on his junior schooling there, before moving on to the Boys High School in Oswestry. His first encounter with the sport was playing for Morda "B" in 1947. However in 1952-54, as was compulsory in those days Ivor carried out his National Service at RAF Newton, near Nottingham, and I believe this was the only disruption in his playing lifetime until he finished in the 2012/13 season. When Ivor started playing the Morda ‘A’ team was very strong winning the league title during the 1948/49 season, with some of the finest players that the league has seen. Vera Edgerton (Brunt), Les Holmes, Sam Lawrence, Alan Llanstrom & Dick Hamer will all have inspired the then young Mr Parish. In the early years Glyn Evans, Gerald Gittins and the Pryce Jones twins, Gerald & Gordon would have been some of his playing partners. In the 1960's Ivor was playing alongside Keith Stokes, Den Peach, D Clarke, John Price, Norman Morris and his long term to be, team mate, Arthur Jones. In these early years Ivor played for mainly the "B" team, but did progress to the "A" team as some of the older players retired or moved on. In these early years, Morda played at the Morda & Sweeney Institute, known locally as "stute". It was only at the demise of the hall that the team moved to play at Gatacre Park, under the name of Hardwick, in 1975/76.
Arthur's story is a little different. Born in Llansandffraid and moved to Morda as a young infant. Like Ivor, Arthur attended Morda school before moving onto Oswestry Technical college. A few years junior to Ivor, Arthur came up against a problem when wanting to play table tennis. The Morda Institute would not let Arthur in, as he was too young. Not deterred, Arthur joined Trefonen Lawn Tennis Club who had a team in the table tennis league. Again things were not easy, as the Trefonen team did not have a home venue, so had to play all games away. This meant Arthur getting on his bike to travel to the Park Hall camp, the Derwen college and venues in Oswestry. Arthur’s first matches being in the 1949/50 season. In 1952/53 Arthur moved to Morda Methodists team, and played in the Morda Methodist Hall with Ron Pugh, D Roberts, J A Jones and Norman Morris. Arthur was allowed to play away matches at the Morda Institute, as a visiting team member, but not allowed to join for being too young. Arthur eventually did join the Morda Institute club in 1953/54 and stayed until 1975. Initially this was short lived as Arthur went off to Brecon to do his national service 1954-56. In 1957/58 Arthur was again out of the region when he did a spell at the Post Office in Rhyl. When back from Rhyl there was no stopping Arthur who teamed up over the years with many including Brian Suckley, Les Holmes, Den Peach, Keith Stokes, J Price, R Baker, & K Heinrichs.
The third member of the crew, Dan Powell, was born and brought up in Oswestry, with Dan doing his later schooling at Shrewsbury school. Dan's playing life starting in 1947 for Oswestry Youth Club with the Pryce Jones brothers. Later Dan played at the Library and then at Weston Rhyn with Chris Perry and Terry Jones. By the late 1960's, Dan had moved on to play with John Brayne in the West Felton team. In March 1960 Dan won the Shropshire Territorial Army & Auxiliary Forces Tournament in Shrewsbury representing "B" Squadron of the Shropshire Yeomanry, with nearly 70 competitors. From 1971-75 Dan was playing for Queens Head with R Wilson and Bob Andrews, John Brayne, and John Evison.
The modern era: The trio united in 1975/76 with Arthur, Ivor and Dan becoming known as the Hardwick team. Further additions to the team were Carol Ashley, Brian Rainford and more recently Michael Jones (Arthur’s son). Both Ivor and Dan have always been tough competitors. Both were always forceful in their game, and never liked to lose, but always fair. Arthur has been a thorn in many players side, as his old hard bat proved the downfall of many an opponent with far more sophisticated equipment. Arthur over the years has competed with the best and has always figured high in the averages. Some of Arthur’s biggest successes are recorded in recent years. Firstly his success in the Oswestry Championships in 2009/10 when he won the competition. In later years Arthur played in the second division but this did not change his desire to win and support his team. During the 1998/99 & 2000/2001 seasons Arthur finished each season with 100 % records. 60 out of 60 and 42 out of 42 respectively, and his final season still managing a creditable 81 % performance.
All three have served on the Oswestry committee over many years. Ivor, having at one stage been Chairman and Arthur as Treasurer. On top of this all three have been Vice Presidents of the League for the last 8 years. Their support at Junior Grand Prix events, Junior Championships & Senior Championships has been constant.
The future: All three players have been sadly missed in league matches this season. However it's great to know that Arthur's great nephew (Dylan Evans) has taken up the sport and is doing well. Winning the Junior Grand Prix in 2012/13 as well as the Under 14's & 16's titles.