The Corti Woodcock Award – Paul Davison

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Paul Davison,
A high performance junior who became interested in coaching at the age of 16, helping at various sessions he was attending. He became a qualified coach at the age of 19 in 1996 and then quickly progressed to L3 in 1999 earning in the process the ETTA Young Coach of the Year award. One of the first coaches to do so.
He began his club coaching career at Sudbury TTC and when that venue closed he started a new club, NETTS, in 2000. Initially based at Gosfield School. The club relocated to Earls Colne in 2003 which has been their base ever since.  The club had two simple aims; to help young players to reach their potential and provide a place for senior players to play.  A European style club was envisaged with the aim for lots of players congregating on the same night, possible with a large venue, the club also experimented with different playing formats including an individual league before coming up with successful Top 12 and 2-a-side formats. The clubs most successful season competition wise was in 09/10. In this year they were Senior British League Champions (Division 3 South), Women’s British League Champions (Division 3) and National Cadet League: Eastern Region Champions. They also took the Junior British League title (Girls Division 2 Champions) in the 2002/2003 Season – not bad for a small rural club taking on the city boys!
The Corti Woodcock Award.  -  Corti Woodcock was 5’ 1” in height but was a giant among the pioneers of the sport of Table Tennis.  He was instrumental in promoting and organising the game locally and internationally. The West Essex League, Essex County TTA, The ETTA and the ITTF all owe their first faltering steps to his drive and vision.  He was a winner and a leader.  Corti died in 1958.
To honour his life and perpetuate his memory the County set up a board of Trustees to administer an award given annually in recognition of services to Table Tennis in Essex. It is a unique award in as much it cannot be won, it can only be earned.  During February of each year the General Secretary invites nominations from Leagues and of course nominations can also be made by any two individuals affiliated to the County.  These together with nominations from the previous year are discussed by the board in April.
A quick scan of the internet, what a wonderful device, gives us the following information.
The West Essex League has a Corti Woodcock Cup
The Saint Bride Vase originally presented by C. Corti-Woodcock of the Saint Bride Club in London in 1929 is presented to the Men’s winner of the world championship
We found mention of C. Corti Woodcock as President of the Essex Golf Union
The USA TTA site also mentions C. Corti Woodcock as a former ETTA Chairman.
Chinese web sites once w’d managed to get the translation software to work also made considerable mention of C. Corti-Woodcock.
We have taken this brief time to layout the fact that Corti-Woodcock contact and influence within TT and into other sports goes far beyond Essex.  In effect it makes the award of the Corti-Woodcock Trophy just that bit more special.  It is the county’s most prestigious award. In the past it has been awarded for exceptional actions as well as rewarding long service to our sport.
This year the award is for exceptional work. Paul knew the lighting at NETTS was not good enough to stage quality TT events. So he set about doing something about it. Money was the key and he managed  to extract funding from Table Tennis England, A local Community Grant fund, Eastern Region Table Tennis, Essex County Table Tennis, Braintree Table Tennis League, the Earls Colne Club, NETTS also contributed and ran some fund raising activities. He persuaded some in kind support from De Vere Travel and Richard Edwards & Partners Accounting. Besides doing this he also prepared a detailed Development Plan, needed if you plan to extract funding from Table Tennis England. In total Paul drew in £20,000 of funding for the club. During this time contact was being made with suitable contractors who would quote for new LED lighting. From start to finish the project has taken about 9 months to bring to fruition. Of course now the lights are installed the work is just starting. The next phase of the development plan comes into play. Getting more people playing table tennis, sounds simple but the work will not stop.
So well done to Paul for his efforts in improving and developing NETTS. He is a worthy winner of the Corti Woodcock Award. Paul was presented with his award by Essex County President, Stuart Gibbs.