Kidderminster table tennis league stalwart Ted Dalton celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday (WED 6/2/19) - and says he has no intention of hanging up his bat just yet.
Last week the Bewdley Institute veteran lined up in the Handicap Cup against young Dylan Griffiths, who at 14, was a whole 75 years younger than his opponent.
Despite having lost twice previously to the Cookley youngster, Ted had to give Dylan a two-and-a-half point start in the first round clash at Aggborough.
Handicap matches are played over four games with the points totted up at the end. Ted managed to take the first game with a combination of dogged pushing and the odd flashing forehand drive. Dylan then took control and won the next three games as youth triumphed over experience.
Afterwards Ted said: “I’ve got arthritis in both knees and I have had something like 18 injections in my right eye due to macular degeneration.
“But I still love the game and hope to continue for as long as I can. It’s certainly been an ambition of mine to play into my 90s in the league.”
While the Kidderminster league has its share of players aged in their 70s and 80s it is remarkable to see a player still being able to compete at this age.
He may find it hard to get around the table now but in his day he was a top athlete.
As a junior he was regarded as one of the country’s top cyclists, and he still rides his bike to this day.
But it was as a cross country runner that he excelled for Birchfield Harriers. He raced against the best of them and won five international vests representing England.
He has played table tennis since he was a teenager growing up in Birmingham. Since moving house, first to Kidderminster and then Bewdley, table tennis has become his main sport.
“I love the game,” he said. “I find that a combination of crosswords and table tennis is the perfect way to keep the brain awake and the body going.”
He says he hopes to keep going as long as he can.
“I can’t pack it up now. I enjoy the company and I’d have no friends if I packed it up!”
And at division three level Ted is still competitive.
He has played 30 games so far this season and has won seven.
“Within my class I am still capable of giving people a good game.”
Dylan, meanwhile, made good progress in the Handicap Cup and will compete in the final of the event on Finals Night at Aggborough in April.