Table tennis was in mourning this week after the death of Rayne C player Steve Siggs while playing in a match.
Steve, who was 66, collapsed and died while playing in the Brentwood League.
The tributes that have arrived from clubmates and opponents have all struck the same theme – ‘a thoroughly decent man, hugely respected by his opponents’, ‘a true gentleman of our sport, a lovely man on and off the table’, ‘a pleasure to play with and against.’
Steve was one of a number of players in the Braintree League who gave up the game for a long period but returned to it with renewed vigour.
Having been a promising junior in the Chelmsford League, where he reached the junior boys’ final, he stopped playing a few years later, after reaching division one, but made a comeback after nearly 40 years out of the game.
He first played in division three in Braintree in the 2013-14 season but soon proved to be too strong for that environment and moved up to division two in 2014-15.
He won only 28 per cent of his sets in his first season in division two but made huge strides to win 59 per cent the following season and then, with 62 per cent in 2016-17, he helped his team to the division two championship.
He opted out of going up to division one the next year but agreed to make the jump this year where he had put in a number of good performances.
In the words of his teammate Dave Miller: ‘He was playing the best table tennis I have seen him play recently and was troubling the top players. A lovely man and a great teammate.’
See also a tribute from Malcolm Storey on the Chelmsford League website: https://www.tabletennis365.com/Chelmsford/News/2018/December/obituary-steve-siggs/22573