To all members and associates
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 2017.
Special mention for 2016 must go to Tony Rigby who secured the ‘double’ by winning two Lifetime Achievement Awards, firstly at the Preston Sports Awards in March and then at the Lancashire Sports Awards in November! Well deserved awards; our Association is indebted to Tony for his contribution as a player, coach and administrator and his support to the continuing development and sustainment of TT in Preston..In January, Mike Balshaw from Ashton MC TT Club also received a Volunteer Award for his support to TT with the Ashton Methodists Club. The Preston Table Tennis Club overall also received a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Club of the Year category at the Preston Sports Awards.
2016 also saw the significant upgrade (~ £3000) to the TT Centre lighting, working in partnership with the Cardinal Newman College, effectively doubling the illuminance levels over the match play tables. Specific thanks are extended to Jim Clegg and Jim Higham for their technical support to that project.
The Association remains in a sound financial position thanks to our joint Treasurers Dave and Debbie Nickeas; please continue to assist them in performing their role. We have received two separate grants of £500 each from the Preston Sport Forum during 2016, firstly for general TT equipment and secondly as a contribution towards the Centre lighting upgrade.
The League and Cup competitions appear to be generally competitive at the halfway point of the season and are running relatively smoothly with all leagues increasing by one team up to 13 per division this season. We still have the occasional problem of teams turning up for games with only 2 players with no prior notification to the MRC. Can I ask Secretaries particularly to plan carefully and have suitable contingencies in place to ensure that your teams can fulfil their obligations in terms of fixtures. Whilst the Divisional Cups are now completed up to the semi final stage, the Handicap Cup is still at early stages and will progress to the later rounds in 2017. We continue to receive largely positive feedback on the competition format with close games being recorded – courtesy of the handicap setting team! Particular thanks go to Tony Rigby and Andrew White for their sterling work during 2016 in organising the league and cup competition fixtures.
The performance of the various Preston teams participating regionally at Senior, Vets and Junior/ Cadet levels continues to be very competitive.
Jim Clegg, together with other members of the Association, assisted the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in hosting the English under-10 to under-13 National Championships at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre in June and also the recent England vs Germany European League qualifier. (We may have done better on penalties!) High quality table tennis events staged in Preston providing opportunity for members and particularly younger players to attend.
The 2016 summer league programme, organised by Barry Crook, was yet again extremely popular. If you would like to play this coming summer 2017, then as usual you need to register your interest with Barry and assemble your teams/ players early.
We are always open to feedback on the Preston Table Tennis 365 website and any suggestions for improvements; particular thanks go to Andrew White and Paul Grayham for their continuing support in maintaining the site, 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.
I must convey my thanks as usual to our very experienced 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 continue to retain 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 see 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.
I must thank 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.
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 2017.
Our annual Preston Closed Championships will be held on Sunday 5th March, 2017.
Entry forms will be out shortly from Andrew White; please support our annual championships.
Andrew Williams. Chairman PTTA