With the new season imminent, the Hastings & District Table Tennis League has attracted 35 entries, spread over three divisions, in exactly the same format as last season.
In Division One, however, there are many changes, with only two teams fielding the same squad as last season. Numerically at least, the Division is dominated by the larger clubs with five Bexhill teams joining four from Hollington Academy, two from Tackleway and one from Saints.
Champions for the last two years, Hollington Academy A, led by Paul Barry, will once again start as favourites with Nathan Darby in good form last year and Basher Obeyed adding a little more consistency. They will be joined by Barry’s son, eighteen year-old Ryan Heselden after two years at Bexhill.
The major change for the Academics is the creation of a new D team comprising the Furnival family, Andy, Stacey and Chelsea plus ‘in-law’ Graham Deeprose.
The election of this team into Division One, by the league sub-committee has been controversial to say the least.
In another family connection, runners-up Bexhill A have added Ryan Warner to the squad of father Robert Warner, Lewis Mayhew, Martin Kellway and David Rayment. Bexhill have lost dependable back-up Bob Lowe, who has joined Second Division Monarchs
Graham Gillett leads the challenge of Bexhill C, who will be looking to repeat last year’s third place
Dave Butler and James Winchester will lead the campaign for former champions Saints A.
Hollington Academy C have recruited Sam Collins from their B team to form a four-man squad. Fifteen year-old Fraser Kent was unbeaten for them last year and will be key to their prospects.
Hollington Academy B welcome back Robin Gibbs after a year’s absence and Tackleway A have added Gina Rogers to their squad.
Tackleway B are effectively last year’s C team with Rogers replaced by Sue Pingram
and they will probably contest the relegation slots with the three lower Bexhill teams.
Bexhill B are unchanged, while Bexhill D have recruited the evergreen Martin Richards.
Second Division champions Bexhill E are led by Pam Winter and will be hoping that Tina Beaney recovers from a long-term shoulder problem.