The teams with their new shirts
A number of Winchcombe players plus a few wives and guests in Graham Chandler and Andy East recently visited Ireland to take on Yorke Road Table Tennis Club in the return fixture from 2013. Both Graham and Andy caught the ferry to Ireland on the Monday and took advantage of the glorious weather to play golf on three days. Gavin a member of Yorke Road Table Tennis Club had arranged some spectacular courses for them to play on as per the pictures on Andy`s phone. Andy and Graham shared the honours on the first two days but on the final day of golf when there was money on it Graham proved to be the winner.
The majority of the team made our way to a new base, The Tara Towers Hotel on the Thursday. The hotel although not quite the high standard of the Stillorgan Park on our last visit was more than adequate and clean, served good food and beer, had comfortable beds and the view from the top floor was spectacular.
On the Thursday evening after sampling a few pints of Guinness at the hotel and presenting Gresty with a hastily arranged birthday card the group made their way to The Old Punch Bowl pub in Blackrock for an evening meal. An occasion made memorable by main courses being served before starters (soup) much to the annoyance of Christine, embarrassment of Chris and hilarity to the rest of us.
Gresty had been attempting all day to get a number of the younger and some of the older members to accompany him into Dublin city centre to celebrate his birthday. With the Guinness starting to take effect on a number of us Gresty could find no one to go out with him to celebrate his birthday in style. He was adamant he was going out on his birthday and despite the older and more sensible members voicing their concerns he disappeared into Dublin city centre. Apparently he had a good time and arrived back at the hotel at 5am in the morning and was only slightly the worse for wear on the Friday.
Friday saw Matt Hartwell arrive early in the morning and members had a free day to do as they pleased. Andy and Graham played their deciding round of golf. Chris, Christine, Roz and Keith caught the dart train whilst Nick, Matt, Craig and Luke visited the Guinness factory and Graham Fisher showed his wife around the sites in Dublin. Gresty stayed in bed!
Early Friday evening saw the Roamers take on the Cavaliers at pool – despite Nick not having picked up a pool cue for 20 years Roamers took the deciding frame and won the match 2 – 1.
Later in the evening a number of players and officials from Yorke Road visited us at the hotel and the conversation flowed as old friendships were rekindled. The majority of us had a relatively early night apart from Matt, Craig and Gresty who ventured into Dublin Centre and partied the night away to a band playing 80`s music until the small hours. I have seen the video Matt! Ideal preparation for the following day`s table tennis starting at a rather early 9.30am.
Our opponents had kindly arranged to transport us to the table tennis venue on the Saturday morning. Having arrived tactically early Ted decided to take us on detour to show us the sites in Dun Laoighre and promptly got lost. Even at this early hour Winchcombe players , without our resident joker Craig, came out with witty one liners – Keith – “Have you got a sat nav”, Nick – “Should we stop and ask for directions” much to the amusement of the other passengers.
Ted eventually got us to York Road Table Tennis Club and we all had a quick practice and posed for photographs in our tour shirts. Thanks must go to Graham chandler for organising these. Unfortunately Murphy`s law struck in the morning – Nick playing his first game on the top table did something very nasty to his back and had to withdraw from playing. Most embarrassing for Nick as this is the second time he has picked up an injury against Yorke Road and even more embarrassing as he had to ask Luke and Craig to help him get his tracksuit trousers back on.
The table tennis was enjoyable and we were treated to an enjoyable lunch at the premises. Yorke Road presented all Winchcombe players with a trophy to commemorate the event.
At the end of the day a tired Winchcombe team were driven back to the hotel with Gresty sat in a child seat in the back of one of the vehicles.
After a quick shower we all (with the exception of Nick) went down to The Old Punch Bowl pub to have a celebratory evening meal with our hosts. Speeches were made by both teams and Keith presented Ted with an inscribed silver salver to commemorate our second trip to Yorke Road. Luke Moffatt also made an impromptu presentation to Christine with a collection of soup spoons.
At the end of the evening we all wandered back to the hotel to discuss the trip (an excuse to have another drink or two). Our party animal on the tour Gresty again ventured into Dublin city Centre and I am reliably informed he stayed out until 5am. I have also been reliably informed of events that evening but these come into the category “ of what happens on tour, stays on tour”
Article and Photo's Nick Mytton