Things may be about to become even better for England’s biggest table tennis league.
For Redtooth managing director Martin Green, a major backer of the sport in Sheffield, told guests at the Sheffield League’s annual presentation that talks have begun with a view to opening a table tennis centre of excellence in the city.
And Green, a Sheffield United FC vice-president who still plays in the league, discussed the idea with the other chief guest Sandra Deaton, Table Tennis England’s newly-elected chairman.
Organisers of Sheffield’s annual closed tournament were able to stage the event at the English Institute of Sport only because of Green’s generous support, and he told guests he would continue to back the event next year.
He said: “I first played in the league in 1978 - and my form has been going down ever since! But I’ll still be in action in the Summer League next week.”
Deaton, a former PE teacher, has been involved in the sport for 40 years and is part of a major table tennis family.
Her daughter Nicola was England’s No 1 for five years and her late husband Colin was a major figure in the sport, including coaching and newspaper columnist. He once wrote on the sport for The Star.
Sandra presented the special awards to the most improved under- 18 player - Jake Meikle of Abbeydale and to the most improved under 21 player – Mike Fraser (Crookes). The club secretary of the year trophy was given to Dave Capewell (Vulcan). And Jim Kenny won the Arthur Smith trophy for outstanding league service.
Vulcan’s Sarah and Mark Short won the mixed doubles for a third consecutive year and Redtooth’s Matt Dodds repeated the achievement by winning his third open singles crown.
The Star’s Trevor Cook handed out the summer league and junior league trophies along with the knockout cup and winter league awards. John Gialluca, Jim Ferguson and Graham Torry of Abbeydale G represented the first of two teams to be presented with league & cup doubles.
Redtooth A (Matt Dodds, Mark Short and Dave Thompson) repeated the feat winning the top section knock out cup and the Division One title.
Honours - Winter League Div 6 winners: Albert Premier D (Adam Gittings, Ken Alvey, Amy Gittings & Paul Gittings). Div 5: Abbeydale G (Jim Ferguson, John Gialluca & Graham Torry). Div 4: Cricketers (Mark Pickersgill, Alan Firth, Steven Gosling & Dave Cooper). Div 3: Abbeydale E (Simon Chung, Biao Yang & Brian and Shaun Isam). Div 2: Vulcan Redtooth E (Andy Hepworth, Roy Bowes, Cliff Glaves & Joe Cutts). Div 1: Vulcan Redtooth A – Matt Dodds, Mark Short, Dave Thompson, Mo Khan & Ernest Mpundu.
Sheffield Closed divisional champions -Div 6: Adam Gittings (Albert Premier). Div 5: Stefan Simonik (Hallam Grange). Div 4: Roger Bannister (Cable). Div 3: Biao Yang (Abbeydale). Div 2: James Atkins (Crookes). Div 1: Matt Dodds – Vulcan Redtooth.
Under-12: runner-up James Chennery; winner: Tom Clarke.
Cadets: runner-up Alex Tilley (Albert Premier); winner: Harry Saxton (Scorpions).
Juniors: runner-up: Mark Firth (Abbeydale); winner: Isobel Ashley (Abbeydale).
Handicap: runner-up: Luke Tattersall (Vulcan Redtooth); winner: Craig Johnson (Albert Premier).
Super Vets: runner up: Roy Bowes (Vulcan Redtooth); winner: Cliff Glaves (Vulcan Redtooth).
Veterans doubles: runners- up Dave Capewell (Vulcan Redtooth) & Alan Firth (Cricketers).
Winners: Steve Crosby & Dave Heppenstall (Crookes).
Veteran’s singles: runner up Dave Heppenstall (Stocksbridge); winner: Steve Crosby (Crookes).
Mixed doubles: runners up Isobel Ashley (Abbeydale), & Richard Element (Albert Premier); winners: Sarah & Mark Short (Vulcan Redtooth).
Men’s doubles: runners- up: Richard Element & Alex Tilley (Albert Premier); winners: Dave Thompson & Mark Short (Vulcan Redtooth).
Ladies singles: runner up: Sarah Short (Vulcan Redtooth); winner: Isobel Ashley (Abbeydale).
Open singles: Runner up: Mark Short (Vulcan Redtooth); winner: Matt Dodds (Vulcan Redtooth).