I have just been to a wonderful ceremony at Lincoln Crematorium to celebrate the life of Dave Harper. Dave was a honest lovely man as all who knew him know. I would like to just talk about his Table Tennis though.
Dave was a Chopper, Dave was more of a chopper than you will probably ever see again In table tennis, he was a complete master of the art, Dave did not really defend, he attacked with defense and was a complete master of his game. Nobody ever could beat Dave, unless they had the skill to do it. There is loads of talk in sport about 'gamesmanship' well I have to say that Dave was a complete master, something that Roy touched on in his eulogy. Dave was different though, he did it with humour guile and honesty. I remember playing him when I was new to div1, Because he only hit a ball less frequently than the appearance of Hayley's comet, every young new kid on the block though that he was no threat, Oh you would win the first game 21:6 or something similar with Dave pronouncing statements like, ' wow this boy can hit a ball' !, of course he had been feeding you winners, the second game he tightened up, turned the screw, and before you knew it you had lost.
Dave did however know when he was beaten, and as I recall, because the players who did beat him, had to actually beat him,you had to be good, he was such a good loser because he gave nothing away cheaply, I am sure everyone will remember that who ever played against him.
Dave Harper sticks well in my memory as a quality player, a really nice man, and I hope that when I get to Heaven, He has finished the first game against Jack Skelton. ( an in Joke for players who know)
RIP Dave Harper.
BY ANDY WIGNALL