Please may I first of all, take this opportunity, on behalf of the Association, to wish all players and their families a very enjoyable and safe Christmas and New Year.
I must convey my thanks as usual to our very experienced and supportive committee and indeed all the members of the Association, in helping to maintain the reputation of Preston Table Tennis locally within the Preston Sports community and across the North West. We have retained our Table Tennis England Premier Club accreditation and continue to try to develop the coaching and playing opportunities available to PTTA members. We are always keen to maintain the number of players attending both the coaching activities on Monday evenings (particularly younger players) and the community sessions on Fridays, so if you have colleagues/ friends who might be interested, please let them know.
Back in early September, we recognised the opening of the St Augustine’s TT Centre in 2005 by the late Sir Tom Finney, with an excellent 10th Anniversary Tournament organised excellently by Tony Rigby. Congratulations to all the participants, all ‘helpers’ on the day and indeed to the eventual winners of the events. We were very grateful for the sponsorship of prizes, provided by Jimibox Storage, arranged through Ashton Methodists TT Club.
The Association remains in a sound financial position and many thanks to our Treasurer Debbie Nickeas and her ‘Apprentice’ Dave; please continue to assist Debbie and Dave in performing their role. A grant application to support coaching initiatives which we submitted in October 2015 is currently being assessed by the Preston Sport Forum who devolve City Council funding to sports clubs in the area. You will be aware that we have been able to offer subsidised new Table Tennis Preston shirts to members this year. The shirt offer seems to have been well received and to date we have sold well over 50. These shirts will be available for the next 2 seasons at least so if you do require a shirt, just ask Tony Rigby and further orders can be placed.
The League and Cup competitions appear to be generally competitive at the halfway point of the season and are running reasonably smoothly. There are only a few outstanding matches and can I thank all secretaries for being proactive in rectifying any problems that arise. I’d observe that there has been a slight increase in teams turning up for games with only 2 players which is clearly not fair to the opposing teams who travel in rightful expectation of playing 3 games. Please ensure that the use of reserves is maximised to remove this problem and avoid clubs being fined. Whilst the Divisional Cups are now completed up to the semi final stage, the Handicap Cup for 2015/16 has deliberately been pushed back into the New Year to enable improved, more current, handicapping information to be assessed and applied to the competition. In general we received largely positive feedback last year with some extremely close games being recorded – congratulations go to the handicap setting team! Particular thanks must again go to Tony Rigby and Andrew White for their sterling work during 2015 in organising the league and cup competition fixtures – a sometimes thankless task.
The performance of the various Preston teams participating regionally at Senior, Vets and Junior/ Cadet levels continues to be very competitive. The Junior team players particularly have continued to perform with great consistency and currently sit top in the North West Junior League. In November, a Broughton High School U16 team consisting of Adam Oldfield, Oliver Garmston, Brandon Pepper and Ben Drinkall collected the trophy for winning the Lancashire tournament and we wish our Preston players good luck in representing Lancashire at the North West regional finals in January. However, we were unable unfortunately to fulfil one of our Preston senior fixtures recently due to a lack of players which was a real disappointment. Can I ask players to support Tony as much as possible here; the League pays competition entry fees into the Lancs and Cheshire League at the season’s outset but more importantly other teams players travel some distances to play in the matches.
The 2015 summer league programme, organised by Barry Crook, was yet again extremely popular. If you would like to play this coming summer 2016, I would suggest you open negotiations with Barry and assemble your teams/ players early.
The Preston Table Tennis 365 website is firmly established now but we are always open to feedback and any suggestions for improvements; particular thanks go to Andrew White and Paul Grayham for their continuing support in maintaining the site and providing interesting material for review, and to Bryan Walker for keeping league results up to date – please provide your completed scorecards promptly and accurately to ensure the currency of the site. Press coverage through Bryan Walker with the LEP continues to be excellent with some great headline writing!
I must place on record our sincere thanks to all the people who volunteer as both coaches and ‘helpers’ on the various coaching nights and support PTTA events and particularly to the Club Secretaries. I would ask all players to please support the Secretaries, the MRC and the running of the League by being absolutely clear regarding your availability to play in scheduled matches. Additionally I must again request all players to remain mindful of their responsibilities in terms of retaining discipline when playing. Inappropriate language in front of other players, including junior players and their parents, is not acceptable.
In closing, may I finally wish you all the very best for the remainder of the season, and thank you in advance for your continuing support of the Preston Table Tennis Association through 2016.
Our annual Preston Closed Championships will be held on Sunday 6th March, 2016.
Entry forms will be out shortly from Andrew White; please support our annual championships.