County Chairman Ken Field provides a preview of the coming season.
We begin this Season with the sad loss of Phil Gower, our County’s President. Phil and his wife Sue gave so much time to the running of the Essex County Table Tennis for many years. In recent years we saw less of Phil due to ill health, but his and Sue’s hard work, will be long remembered. Our condonances go to Sue, their family and friends. As a mark of respect to Sue and her family, we will not seek to fill the position of President until next year’s AGM.
So, on to our new Season: – the Olympics have come and gone, the Paralympics are about to start and our local Leagues are soon to commence.
On the County front, we have a more comprehensive Season than for several years.
Firstly, at our AGM, the key issue was the increase of Local League Team Fees which was agreed at £ 9.00. I thank Barry Granger for all the work he did in producing figures to identify the County Representative Teams Expenses and I thank our Local Leagues for the time you all took to review the position.
The Sub Committees have all been set up and in addition to last Season, we now have a new Coaching Officer, Stuart Gibbs, working with Simon Lowman. We also have a new Umpire Secretary, Lyndon Griffiths.
On the always busy ‘Junior front’ I am so pleased that Stuart Gibbs has taken up my invitation to become our County Coaching Officer. His long time friend Simon Lowman, is working with Stuart and with Simon’s well honed organisational skills, from his days as a Head Master, Simon has built up a register of the various junior clubs in Essex and established contact with the ETTA’s East Region Coach, Stephen Gertson and our County Junior Secretary, Arthur Clark. Stuart and Simon will form a very important link between our Junior Clubs, the ETTA East Region Coach and our Junior County Secretary. Stuart will be presenting his ideas at our September 20th Management Committee Meeting.
Lyndon Griffiths is keen to expand our quota of Umpires, so if you have any aspiring Umpires in your Leagues, do encourage them to contact Lyndon.
On February (16th & 17th), we are hosting our first ETTA 4 Star Junior Tournament for several years. This will be held at the Colchester Garrison and the Event will be fronted by Barry Granger, supported by Paul Collier, Arthur Clark, John Andrews (Colchester’s Chairman and the ETTA East Region Development Manager), Neil Brierley (BATTS, our Vice Chairman) and the rest of the Management Committee, plus our Local League Representatives, who continue to play an ever increasing role in the running of our County.
Alan Wood now has the Inter League up and running again in his very efficient manner: not as large as in the past, but still providing excellent competition between our Leagues. The busier players in the various Premier Divisions play on one or two weekends, whilst those in the lower Divisions, who enjoy their monthly outings, continue in that way.
The early part of the Season, sees the Junior Trials, as usual run by the ever enthusiastic Arthur Clark. These will be held at BATTS over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of September. Apart from the obvious opportunity to impress Arthur for selection to the County Junior and Cadet teams, they provide a very good weekend for the juniors, Coaches and Parents.
Last Season, the Essex County Junior Closed Championships were held at BATTS and they had a very good entry: they were run by Arthur, Paul and Neil. This will again take place at BATTS and at present, Neil and Arthur are reviewing the most suitable dates.
As I mentioned to you all recently, Paul Collier has taken over from John Andrews with the running of our Senior Essex Teams and he, together with Neil Brierley (Vets) and Arthur Clark (Juniors), head up our County Rep teams and they and their Sub Committees, will continue to run these teams in a way that gives all those who are keen to play and are of the necessary standard, the experience of representing our County at Venues across the UK. Paul, Neil and Arthur, will at the same time, keep a check on expenses in a way that hopefully will satisfy our Local Leagues that their Local League Fees are well used. Above all of this, our ever aware Treasurer, Barry Granger, will be working with the County Team Secretaries to monitor our costs and provide those to the Local Leagues in good time for your next year’s AGMs.
The Essex Schools Championships are now held annually at BATTS. These are run by Neil Brierley. Last season saw a very large entry of 200 youngsters and the feedback has been excellent. Assisting Neil as usual was Arthur Clark, together with Paul Collier John Andrews and Dean andrews. Neil and his colleagues are looking forward to this Season’s Competition and are currently working on the most appropriate date.
Our Handbooks will no doubt be ready for our first Meeting and again we thank John Andrews for doing this and producing a very useful informative Handbook. Our handbook printer is still our good friend Rik James, who retains all of our information, with John contacting all local Leagues annually, requesting amendments. John’s input is much appreciated, not only with the Handbook but with his counsel on ETTA matters in his role as ETTA’s East Region Development Manager.
Another of John’s responsibilities is the running of our Web Site, which now incorporates a Blog Site, which enables members with less IT skills to enter articles and data direct themselves. John has offered to teach those interested in how to do this: hopefully his kind offer will receive good support.
Barry Granger, our Treasurer and National Councilor, has looked after our Finances very well for many years and last Season, spent a lot of time providing a comprehensive breakdown of County Expenses which proved very helpful in enabling Local Leagues to assess the viability of increased Local League Team Fees. In addition, Barry travels on our behalf to the various ETTA National Council Meetings, to enable us to keep abreast of current developments.
Our General Secretary, Jayne Johnson, has found it very difficult over the past year to give as much time to Table Tennis as usual, due to increased responsibilities in the NHS and exams to be taken. Jayne has now passed her NVQ Level 3 and we send our congratulations and Jayne feels that she will now have more time to spend on Essex Table Tennis, in addition to her role as Chairperson of the Hullbridge Table Tennis Club and General Secretary of the Southend League.
The final member of the Management Committee, but certainly not least, is Steve Kerns, who we all know has done much work for the County over many years. Due to work commitments Steve has had to cut back his Essex Committee involvement, but fortunately, we still have his input and wise counsel. Steve will Chair the Corti Woodcock Committee next season: an Award which goes to those key Local League Members who do so much work behind the scenes and I would ask you all to look for candidates for next year’s Awards.
The final part of the jigsaw are the Representatives of Local Leagues. They continue to play an ever increasing role in the running of our County; most making all meetings and providing the County with a very good understanding of what is happening in our Local Leagues and working with us to run Essex as our Local Leagues wish: I have always said that ‘I consider it is the Local Leagues that control Essex, not the other way round’. With that in mind, do use your League’s Representative as a conduit to the Management Committee, with any ideas you have for improvement at Local, County or National level.