Category Archives: News







The last BATTS One Star Junior Open Tournament of season 2014/15 was held at the home of BATTS Table Tennis Club, the Norman Booth Centre, Old Harlow on the 9/10 May. There was another large entry, 104 all told, down somewhat on the previous two years but did enable Consolation events to be held for those players who failed to finish in the top two or three places in their Groups to qualify for the main KO event but could compete in the KO Consolations. Sadly with only one girl entry for the U14 event (two other entries turned out to be boys) and two girl entries for the U16 event both these events had to be cancelled. Players entered from as far away as Dorset, Durham and Norfolk as well as four of the Greenhouse Centres.


Saturday morning started with the Under 14 Boys event, four Groups of six players. Only two of the four seeds won their Groups, both losing to the second seed in their Group. In the top half Dorset’s number 1 seed Kai Major progressed to the final, beating County colleague Alexander Malloch, the number 4 seed who had lost to Xudong Wang in his Group, -10, 7, 4, 9 and Surrey’s Group 3 winner Damien Gray 6, 8, 15 in the semi. In the bottom half number two seed Jaycee Chan (Mi) was taken to a deciding game in the quarter final by number 3 seed Syed Hussain (Syed had lost to Damien in his Group 11-9 in the deciding game after being 2-0 up) and Jaycee reached the final with a 14, 6, 8 win over Xudong. In the final Kai won 6, -8, 7, 6.SONY DSC

In the Consolation event Isaac Hughes (He) beat Kieran Stanley (E) in a tightly fought final 12, -11, 3, 12.


The afternoon saw the Boys Under 16 event. With one boy absent ill there were two groups of six players and two of five. Three of the top seeds won their Group and the shocks came in Group 3 where Norfolk’s Thomas Connelly accounted for the top two Group seeds, Kai Major and Syed Hussain, both 3-1. In the top half top seed Jack Stockdale proceeded to the final but had to come back from 2-1 down in his quarter final with County colleague Justin Jeffery to win -10, 3, -8, 5, 5 and then Kai in the semi after losing the first game. In the bottom half Thomas’s brother Michael lost to number two seed Fraser Donnelly 9, 7, -10, 9 in the quarter final and then Fraser had an even tougher match with Thomas to squeeze into the final 10, -5, 5, -9, 10. In the final Jack held his composure in the exciting fourth game to win 8, -7, 5, 11.SONY DSC

With a number of withdrawals in the Consolation event Umair Obaid (E) found himself propelled in to the final without having to play. In the bottom half it was a much tougher job to get to the final. Xudong Wang beat club colleague Shazaib Rehman 3-1 and Jamie Glatzel (Do) had to come back from 2-0 down to win the next three close games against Arron Fox (Mi) in their quarter final and it took another five games with Xudong to reach the final. After his long wait Umair won the final 4, 9, 10. It is interesting to note that both players finished bottom of their respective Groups.


Sunday morning’s U13 events attracted 38 boys and 12 girls entries. Six Groups of five and two Groups of four were planned for the boys but as three players withdrew ill the two extra players that one of the Greenhouse Schools brought with them and a player whose E-mail entry I had not received could be accommodated. The top seeds in the Groups of five all won their Group but the top seeds in the two Groups of four both finished as runners up. Top seed Jaycee Chan (Mi) reached the final with a 3-1 win over Felix Thomis (Bk) but his toughest match was the second round 13, -8, 2, 10 win over Jared Chelski (E). Felix had earlier defeated number three seed Bruce Yao (He) and fourth seed Jordan Aulakh (E) lost to Shaun Douglas-Small 3-2, both matches in Round 2. The two players who failed to win their Groups met in the bottom half semi final, Dane Major (Do) had beaten Shaun 5, -12, -13, 9, 8 and Ray Yan (E) had beaten Harry Boston (Ca), the number two seed, 4, 7, 1 in their respective quarter finals. Ray came out on top with a 9, -9, 5, 8 win over Dane and went on to win the final 9, -7, 5, -10, 4 against Jaycee.SONY DSC

In the Consolation event both semi finals were nail biting five game matches. The top half match matched Essex players Jacob Ling and Luca Bailey which Jacob came back form 2-0 down to win -7, -5, 9, 12, 9 whilst Shikhor Pandey (Mi) won an even closed match with Harry Gill (Sk) -11, 10, 7, -9, 10. In the final Jacob won -8, 5, 6, 7.


For the girls two Groups of six had been planned but with the Greenhouse School bringing an extra girl with them it was just possible for me to increase one Group to seven players to accommodate her. In Group 2 top seed Federica Bonata (Sy) had a tough time in her opening match with Natalia Ianau (Mi) winning 11-8 in the deciding game but after that it was plain sailing to win the Group. Chloe Pryke (Ca) had two of her matches go to deciders with Isobel McGerty (Sk) and Erin Greensmith (Du) winning 11-9 and 11-8 respectively to finish third in the Group behind Natalia. In Group 1 number 2 seed Patricia Ianau won the Group with Ilyssa Lacorte coming runner up after her 11-7, 15-13, 13-11 win over Lucia Shakespeare. In the semi finals Ilyssa beat Federica 5, 8, 4 and Patricia beat sister Natalia 7, 11, -7, -3, 8. Patricia won the final 5, 7, 4.SONY DSC

The Consolation final was between Samardhi Udamulla (Mi) and Erin Greensmith which Samadhi won 8, 9, 9.


Sunday afternoon was the U15 boys and girls events and the U11 Open. Five Groups of five for the boys with the five top seeds all winning their Groups although Joe Walker (E) needed countback over Ignitious Kalulu to win his Group. The top four reached the semi’s where Eren Gozcu (Mi) beat Kyle Murphy (Mi) 10, 7, 6 and Kai Major (Do) beat Fraser Donnelly -10, 9, 5, 8. Eren won the final 5, 1, 6.SONY DSC

The Consolation final was between two Essex players where Matthew Stringer beat Luca Bailey (who had finished bottom in his Group) 8, 6, 6.


The U15 Girls event was a round robin of seven players which Patricia Ianau won by winning all her matches. For the Runners Up position there was a three way tie which on countback was won by Natalia Ianau curtesy of the two games she took off Holly McGerty (Sk) who finished fourth with Federica Bonata finishing third.


The U11 event was scheduled for two Groups of five players. However one group was extended to six when the player turned up to play and his E-mail Entry had not been received (it transpired an incorrect E-mail address had been used). Thus seven boys and four girls competed. Felix Thomis (Bk), the number two seed, was the winner of Group 1 with Kamran Bastani (Ca) the runner up whilst in Group 2 top seed Harry Boston(Ca) won the Group without dropping a game. Luke Manning (Bd) was the Runner Up. Luke won his semi with Felix 7, 10, -6, 5 and Harry beat Kamran 8, 6, 7. In the final Harry dropped his only game in winning 9, -11, 3, 10.SONY DSC SONY DSC

In the Consolation semi’s James Hamblett (He) beat Sam Gill (Sk) 8, 8, 4 whilst in the other semi between Suffolk colleagues Isobel McGerty had beaten Henry Shaw 4, -9, -9, 5, 8 and she went on to beat James 11, -10, 5, 6 in the final.


Another enjoyable weekend for all the players and a hectic two days for me. The Consolation events also show that even if they finish last in their Group matches they can still gain the experience of getting to a final and gaining a trophy.


Arthur C. Clark

Essex Junior Match Secretary

Member of the BATTS Organising Committee.


Colin Sherrin , A Legend Of Essex Table Tennis ( On the left)

Congratulations to Colin Sherrin who this evening was presented with the prestigious ‘Corti Woodcock’ award by Essex County. The award recognises Colin’s service both to the Romford league (over 20 years on the committee) and to Essex itself where he is a member of a number of important sub committees.
The award also recognised the time he continues to spend trying to develop the game further.  He has been an ever present at the the Romford league’s Tuesday junior coaching sessions (something he helped set up 15 years ago).  He also works with the local council visiting various schools to promote the sport; not only by coaching the pupils but by also by improving the knowledge and confidence of the teaching staff.
All this has been achieved despite having only one type of serve and two dodgy knees. Well done Colin.




Bobby Stevens Obituary


Robert James ‘Bobby’ Stevens

A personal reflection from Stuart Gibbs.

I first came into contact with Bobby Stevens in 1957, when, as an impressionable ten year old, I was taken to watch a county table tennis match between Essex and Middlesex. Little did I know at that time, the impact that this man would have on the future direction of table tennis in Essex, serving as a catalyst for the development of juniors into players of international standard.

Bobby took up the sport of table tennis at the age of sixteen as a hard bat player. Having already established himself as a footballer and cricketer of the highest quality, it came as little surprise that he was able to apply his skills to a new sport. His commitment to table tennis, together with the introduction of modern day sponge bat technology, enabled him to become a real force within the sport. Bobby was quick to acquire an exemplary technique, making him one the finest players to watch. His poise, balance and footwork were the envy of teammates and opponents alike. Bobby’s exemplary standards were not limited to his considerable playing abilities. He was fastidious with regard to his personal appearance and was without doubt, the smartest player ever to have walked onto a table tennis court.

Bobby’s many successes in table tennis are too numerous to list although the two that define the pinnacles of his achievement in the sport came in the English Closed Championships of 1962 and the Middlesex Open Men’s Singles event of 1965. In winning the English Closed Men’s Singles , Bobby became the first unseeded player to win the title. This achievement included a semi-final win against then England No.1 Ian Harrison, a game that was televised by the BBC and which depicted table tennis at its finest.

I was not present to see Bobby win his national title in 1962 although it was my privilege to be present to share in his success at the 1965 Middlesex Open Championships. The Swedish national team were touring at the time of the event and fielded a strong contingent, including European No.1 Kjell Johansson and Swedish No.3 Karl Bernhardt. Johansson’s defeat in an earlier round took nothing away from Bobby’s performance as he defeated Bernhardt in the final to take the title.

During his lifetime, Bobby epitomised everything that was good about the sport of table tennis. He remained passionate about the development of junior players, giving freely of his time of his time and effort to challenge and inspire them. Bobby’s individual contribution to the promotion and development of table tennis in the county of Essex was without equal. His commitment to the sport, together with his tactical and technical knowledge, enabled him to lead the county to their first national title in 1965, playing alongside three junior players whom he nurtured from an early age.

In closing and by way of personal tribute to Bobby, there are perhaps many things that I could and should have said about this great man but from the time he signed my autograph book at the age of ten until the sad day when he passed away, I know that I could never have had a better mentor. Bobby guided me through my playing career and more importantly, he taught me how to conduct and present myself both on and off the table. I shall always remember with gratitude, the words of advice that he offered to me as a young and developing player; “Be polite to those who you pass on the way to the top as you will pass them again on the way down.” How true these words were.

Rest in peace Bobby. You will never be forgotten.

Stuart Gibbs (President, Essex County Table Tennis Association)


Bobby Stevens


It is with deep regret that we report the passing of Bobby Stevens, who passed away peacefully  Monday evening, 13th April 2015.

The Funeral Service is at 10.30 am on Friday 1st May

At the Forest Park Cemetery & Crematorium
Forest Road, Hainault, Essex, IG6 3HP

After the Service, there will be Refreshments at
The Moby Dick Public House
Whalebone Lane North, Chadwell Heath, Romford, RM6 6QU

Many of you knew Bobby very well, a real stalwart of Essex Table Tennis and also a most charming man.

Bobby was a former England Men’s Singles Champion, just prior to the Chester Barnes / Stuart Gibbs era and maintained a close contact with all Essex and National activities throughout his life.

We will provide a more detailed account of his life of dedication to Table Tennis in due course.









The final round of Junior Division 2D matches were played at BATTS Harlow on 7 February 2015. At the start of the day the top three teams were equal on points although Berkshire had played one match more with Essex 2 and Bedfordshire a point behind the leaders. With Berkshire having played their boys in an incorrect order in the first two matches they were penalised four sets whilst Surrey 2 and Bedfordshire both gained a point when Sussex 3 were penalised for playing an ineligible player. With Sidney Dorn unavailable Daniel Berry was brought into the team.


In the first round of matches the Essex team, Ryan Gooday, Justin Jeffery, Daniel Berry, Zoe Davies and Gracie Edwards played Surrey 2. Any chance of honours quickly disappeared when they were soundly beaten 8-2 by the Surrey team. The boys lost all their matches to Jake Mitchell, Marley Cross and Richard Pelc and it was Zoe Davies who gained the two Essex wins, both 3-0 over Medha Verma and Federica Tazartes. Gracie lost 11-8 in the decider with Federica and, having won the first game lost the next three to Medha.


In the second round of matches Essex played joint leaders Berkshire. Once again the team had to rely on the girls for their wins. Zoe and Gracie each beat Katie Shepherd 3-0 and both beat Scarlet Jones 3-1. Justin and Daniel both lost their deciding games with Gus Thomis and Joshua Gallen respectively but the rest of the boys matches were lost 3-0.


The Essex team had a bye in the third round and in the last round of matches played bottom of the Table Wiltshire. Each of the boys won one match and Ryan, after going 2-0 up in his match with Shrey Bhardwaj, lost the decider 12-10 but went on to beat their number one Tom Barnett 3-0. For Justin and Daniel they both beat Scott Marshall 3-0. Zoe and Gracie had four easy wins over Constance Hung and Andrea Chan.


The Essex team thus finished fourth of the seven teams. Berks will rue the fact that they played their boys in the wrong order in the first two matches on Day 1, this robbing them of the title. For the Boys Berks Gus Thomis was unbeaten in the five matches he played in whilst Surrey’s Richard Pelc and Sussex’s Dexter Sherin only lost two of the twelve matches they each played. For the Girls Essex’s Zoe Davies and Oxon’s Kristelle Brook, a former Peniel schoolgirl, shared top spot, each winning nine of the eleven matches they played.


Over the two rounds of matches Sidney Dorn 1 win out of 6 matches, Ryan 4 out of 12, Daniel 1 out of 6, Justin 2 out of 12, Daniel 1 out of 6, Stephanie Cross 5 out of 5, Zoe 9 out of 11 and Gracie 4 out of 6.


Final Table


                                    P          W         D         L          F          A          Pts

Oxfordshire                 6          5          0          1          39        21        10

Berkshire                     6          5          0          1          37        23        10

Surrey 2                      6          4          0          2          41        19          8

Essex 2                       6          2          1          3          29        31          5

Sussex 3                     6          2          0          4          28        31          4

Bedfordshire               6          1          2          3          22        37          4

Wiltshire                      6          0          1          5          13        47          1

Arthur C. Clark

Essex Junior Match Secretary and

Junior Division 2D Organiser.







The final round of Junior County Championship Division matches was played at Cippenham on Saturday 7 March. After the first round of matches Essex 1 were in the middle of the Table with two points from two matches with Hampshire leading the Table on six points from three matches. Having played Sussex 2 and Kent back in November they now had to play Dorset 1, Cornwall 1, Devon 2 and Hampshire



In the first round of matches Essex 1 beat Dorset 1 8-2, the Essex team of Ryan Williams, Sam Hume, Luke Jones, Jane Li and Tiana Dennison the only unchanged team from the first round, but Dorset had to replace their top two players, Hugo Pang and Finn Morgan-Bayliss with Jacob Elliott and Sam Perez-Haynes. Ryan and Luke both won their opening matches in five games, Ryan 11, -6, -7, 6, 6 over Jacob and Luke a much closer 10, 9, -1, -12, 7 over Sam to give the Essex team an encouraging start. Jane and Tiana carried on winning all four of their matches against Lily Cherry and Emma Blatchford comfortably. Zac Dowling (ranked 51) was responsible for Dorset’s wins over Sam (213) 9, 9, -10, 7 and Ryan (63) 3-1.


In Round 2 Essex 1 and Cornwall 1 drew their match, Harry Nicholls (100) and Carl Baldry (72) unbeaten for Cornwall, Carl only just in defeating Sam Hume 11-9 in the decider and Ryan 11-8 in their decider from being 2-0 down. The match result determined by Dominique Wiilliam’s (50) matches, a 9 in the fifth win over Tiana (27) and an 8 in the decider loss to Jane (22). Both girls beat Paige Baker 3-0. Sam clinched the draw in the last match when defeating Dylan Tynan 3-0 easily. Luke had also beaten Dylan 3-0 but had lost to Harry 11-6 in the decider.


For the penultimate round of matches Essex played bottom of the Table Devon 2 and emerged with an 8-2 win. Ryan lost both his matches, three very close games with Joshua Millman and 9-11 in the fifth game with Jordon Bone (70). Sam also went to five games with Jordan but everything went right for him in the 11-4 decider. Luke also had a good win over the much higher ranked Joshua winning it 15-13 in the fifth game. This result meant that both Devon 2 and Cornwall1 were relegated and enabled the Essex team to draw level on points with Kent in second place. With the other two results these also ensured that Hants had won the Division with a match in hand.


That match in hand was against the Essex team. With Hants playing three of the top five ranked boy players in the Division (Ben Cawston, Jimmy Yeung and Arthur Caltabiano) and the top ranked girl it was unrealistic to think that Essex could finish runners up. This proved to be the case with a 9-1 defeat. However the Essex players played well with Hants only winning two matches 3-0. Jane was the Essex winner defeating Katie Holt -6, 4, 14, 10. Against Amy Blagbrough (15) Tiana went 2-0 up with most of her attacking shots on the table but sadly unable to maintain the momentum.


Ryan 1 out of 8 and not having played much since Xmas due to exams, Sam 4 out of 8, Luke 5 out of 8, Jane 7 out of 8 (second highest girl) and Tiana 5 out of 8.


Final Table

                                    P          W         D         L          F          A          Pts

Hampshire                  6          6          0          0          51          9        12

Kent                             6          4          1          1          41        19          9

Essex 1                       6          3          1          2          32        28          7

Sussex 2                     6          3          0          3          29        31          6

Dorset 1                      6          2          0          4          23        37          4

Cornwall 1                   6          0          3          3          20        40          3

Devon 2                      6          0          1          5          14        46          1

Arthur C. Clark

Essex Junior Match Secretary and

Junior Division 1B Organiser.

General Action Shot 6

Essex Schools Spectacular


Batts held the Essex Schools Tournament  on the 16Th January and there were some fantastic games and a great atmosphere in the hall .

Many thanks to Arthur ,Neil and the Batts team ,  and the Volunteers who made it run so smoothly .

Here are the results from the day .




3          JESS BAXTER (Alleyn Court)

2          LOIS PAGE (Cann Hall)

1          ALANA MANSFIELD (Freshwaters)




3          CONNER HALL (St. Johns)

2          ALEXANDER BETTLEY (Holmwood House)

1          WILLIAM BETTLEY (Holmwood House)




3          DEVISHI METHUR (Chelmsford County High)

2          ELEANOR WHITE (Chelmsford County High)

1          GRACIE FIRKINS (Tendring Technology)




3          GEORGE CAMPBELL (St. Nicholas)

2          DANIEL ZEFFIE (Greensward)

1          CASEY MANSFIELD (Burnt Mills)




3          LARA ESQUIVEL (Trinity)

2          REBECCA LOWMAN (Ormiston Rivers)

1          STEPHANIE CROSS (Trinity)




3          BENJAMIN HOLLAND (Trinity)

2          CHRISTIAN GIBSON (Trinity)

1          SAM HUME (Tendring Technology)




3          REKEKAH WHEALY (Trinity)

2          SARAH HARRIS (Chelmsford County High)

1          EMILY WOOD (Chelmsford County High).




3          ENIEKAN AKPAN (Trinity)

2          CHRIS DENYER (Moulsham)

1          ALEXANDER HOLLAND (Trinity)


ETTA Championships

Great day , at Essex Junior Closed


 The Essex Junior Closed was held at BATTS Harlow on Saturday 10 January 2015. At the Closing Date there were 53 entries and with the acceptance of late entries the final entry figure was 57 as against last year’s 73, with one more accepted on the day. Groups of three players in in most events and even with this we overran by just over an hour.

The opening event was the Under 13 Boys but with only two Girls entering their event they were transferred to the Boys event which thus became on Open event. There were eight Groups (two having four players). One player did not turn up so the only player looking for a scratch entry could be accommodated. Two seeds failed to win their Group, Alexander Bettley (Bra) defeating Daniel Zeffie (Sou) 3-0 and Alana Mansfield defeating William Bettley (Bra), also 3-0, to set up a first round match between the brothers which William won 3-0. Only one match went to a fifth game decider, Zak Norman squeezing through 12-10 over Reece Harris-Griffiths (Sou) to go through to the KO Stage. The top four seeds all got through to the semi finals, Casey Mansfield having the toughest match to overcome Gracie Edwards (Cla) 10, 8, 7.In the semi he met No. 1 seed Rahul Jindal (Mossford). Saving two match points in the third game he went on to a narrow -3, -10, 10, 6, 9 win. In the other semi No. 2 seed Ray Yan (BATTS) met Jaden Aulakh (Mossford) and after a gripping match just managed a -9, 3, -9, 9, 9 win. The final also went the full distance with fortunes going one way, then the other before Ray eventually won 7, -4, 6, -4, 8.

Ray U13 Junoir closed winner

At this stage Gracie withdrew from the U15 and U18 Girls events leaving us with just three girls in the U15 event (Zoe Davies (Sou) first, Alana the runner up and Jaz Harvey third) and Zoe defeating Lauren James (Col) 3, 3, 7 in the U18 event.


There were 9 Groups in the U15 Boys event (7 of three players and 2 of four) but No. 2 seed Jack Stockdale(Havering) failed to arrive (more later). The remaining eight seeds all won their Groups although for Xudong Wang (Eastbury) it was on countback as the players all beat one another and he was the only casualty of round one losing to Jamie Morgan (Col) 9, -11, 7, 11. With some quarter finals having started Jack Stockdale arrived and it transpired that I had given him the same start time for both U15 and U18 events in error (first time that I can remember that I have done this). After discussions and after all it is a closed event and the mistake was mine it was agreed that Jack would be fitted in in his No. 2 position and the event proceed accordingly. In the top half No. 1 seed Sam Hume (Cla) had a 3-0 win over Jamie Morgan with Syed Hussain (Eastbury) defeating Casey Mansfield 10, 3, 4. The semi went to five games with Sam winning –6, 5, -8, 6, 4. Catching up with matches in the bottom half Jack defeated Matthew Stringer (Sou), Ray Yan and Ali Cangir (Eastbury) 3-1 each time to reach the final. In the final, which was played after the Groups of the U18 event were played, Jack won 10, 8, 7.

When Daniel Young failed to qualify from his U15 Group the U11 Open event was commenced earlier than scheduled with two Groups of three in play. William Bettley gained his revenge for his earlier defeat by Alana with a 3-0 win in his Group and with Alexander losing a five game thriller to Daniel Young 9, -10, -9, 6, 7, in the other Group the brothers met again in the semi final, William again the winner, this time 3-1, to reach the final. In the other semi Alana beat Daniel 8, 3, 11. The final was thus a repeat of the Group match and this time William had to come back from 2-1 down to take the U11 title.



For the U18 Boys event there were five Groups and as she only played one match in her U18 event Zoe Davies replaced the absent Adam Hill. Only seed not to win his Group was Jack Stockdale, defeated by Zoe Davies -8, 12, 8, 7 but in the quarter final she lost to Jonathan Ma (Col) 7, 8, 9. The other three quarters were all close, No. 2 seed Luke Jones defeating Matthew Nariel (Sou) 14, 12, 11, Jack defeating Justin Jeffrey (Sou) -3, -4, 10, 3, 8 and saving two match points in the third game, and Sam Hume struggling to beat Casey Mansfield -7, 4, 5, -13, 5. In the semis Sam gained his revenge for his previous defeat by Jack by winning 11, 4, 10 whilst Luke beat Jonathan 4, 10, 9. In the final Luke won 11, 5, 9.


The last event of the day was the U18 Boys Restricted Singles and seven groups of three. In the semis Casey beat Matthew Stringer (Sou) -9, 8, 9, 7 while in the other semi Louis Jones (Eastbury) beat Daniel Payne (Sou) -5, 9, 5, 6. In the final Louis beat a tired Casey 7, 9, 9


My thanks to Umpire John Jennings for his stalwart duties and Alan Wood for obtaining such nice trophies and Chairman Ken Field presenting the trophies. I think a good day was enjoyed by all


Arthur C. Clark
Junior Match Secretary and Tournament Organiser.






The first round of County Cadet Division 1B matches were played at Cippenham on Saturday 29 November 2014. The Division originally consisted of ten teams but Herts and then Middlesex 2 withdrew. To avoid two teams sitting out on each round of matches and adjacent Counties arranging one match between themselves the Fixture List for the Division matches was completely reconstituted (by me) so that there would be four matches to be played each round and original home and away fixtures maintained. It was agreed that four rounds of matches would be played on the first day. All matches would be played on two tables.

The selected team squad for the day was Sam Hume, Jack Stockdale, Joe Walker, Syed Hussain, Tiana Dennison, Zoe Davies and Gracie Edwards. Tania had to withdraw two days beforehand when she had no transport as dad John was competing in a Vets Tournament at Norwich. Stuart Gibbs was also there and he had persuaded Howard Grant to coach the team.

In the opening round of matches Essex had to play neighbours Suffolk. Jack had to play opposition No. 1 Kian Burgess ranked 68 places above him. They traded the first four games but Kian got off to a good start in the decider to win it 11-3.On the other table Joe played Alex King and won 6, 4, 12. Zoe and Gracie then played Hannah Page and Holly McGerty respectively. It took Gracie a game to wake up and both matches were then won comfortably. Sam then beat Daniel Shelley 3-0 but Jack struggled against Alex before finally winning 4, -8, 9, -9, 5 to put the Essex team 5-1 up. The two girls were then on, Gracie having no troubles against Hannah (3-0) but Zoe never really got going and lost three straight to Holly, who is ranked 66 places below her, a girl she beat 3-1 in the Regional Trials two months ago. In the battle of the number ones Sam, ranked 19 places below Kian, won 11, -6, 3, 9 whilst on the other table Joe lost to Daniel, ranked 179 places above him, 8, -8, -8, 5, -5. A 7-3 win was a good start for the team.

In the next round the East Anglian battle continued with a match against Norfolk. Syed, in his first match for the County, beat Cameron Verney in a very close match 10,6,12 whilst on the other table Jack lost to the Norfolk number one, Louis Moyes, ranked 22, 3-1. The girls matches were also shared, Zoe comfortably over Georgina Sunter 3-0 whilst Gracie had England No. 12 cadet Mollie Patterson to play. She did, however, take a game off her. Essex went 4-2 up when Sam beat Thomas Connelly 3-0 and Jack a comfortable victory against Cameron. With Gracie’s win over Georgina 10, 4, 8 Essex were assured a draw. Zoe had a very close match with Mollie, losing -9, 7, 9, 9. In the last two matches Sam lost 11, 6, -9, 6 to Louis and Syed to Thomas, ranked 53, by a similar 7, 8, -10, 9 games scoreline. Thus a draw it was and both teams dropped to equal third place in the Table

For round three Essex had to play early leaders Surrey 2. With Syed and Joe losing their opening matches 3-1 and 3-0 respectively to Kishal Patel and Matthew Hazell this was not a good start although both opponents were higher ranked. Once again the cavalry girls came to the rescue with easy wins over Federica Tazartes and Medha Verma and did so again later on in their reverse singles. In between Sam won his match with Ajithan Amurtherajan but Syed, after winning the first game, lost to Matthew. Sam gave Essex the win three straight against Kushal but after being 2-1 up Joe lost 11-8 to Ajithan. So the 6-4 win put the Essex team back equal top with three teams one point behind.

For the last round match Essex had to play Kent 2 who had only one girl and thus had to concede two matches to Essex.With it being Sam’s turn to rest and Jack to take on the number one position. In his opening mach he was taken all the way by Hammad Ansari and finally squeezed the last three points to win 11, -7, 7, -6, 8. Joe beat Mahmood Kelani 3-0 after a tight first game 13-11and Gracie, having surprisingly lost the first game to Scarlett O’Neil 11-9, heeded the pep talk and sailed through the next three. Syed although only losing his first game 13-11 with rising star Chamika Weerasinghe, younger brother of Helshan, was no match for him in the next two games. When Joe won his match against Hammad on four 8’s the match was won and with three 3-1 wins for Zoe, Jack over Chamika 10, 9, -5, 9 and Syed 11-9 the 9-1 win would help the sets difference.

Although equal top with Bucks 1 the Essex team are still behind on sets difference. However they still have Beds and Bucks 2 to play where on the evidence of the first day’s play they should achieve good wins. Before these two matches however they have the crunch match with Bucks 1 to play as the opener to Day 2 at the Ellenborough Table Tennis Club, Enfield on Saturday 21 March.

A great day for the Essex team and many thanks from us all to coach Howard Grant standing in for Stuart Gibbs.

Current Table

P W D L F A Pts
Bucks 1 4 3 1 0 31 9 7
Essex 2 4 3 1 0 27 13 7
Surrey 2 4 3 0 1 28 12 6
Norfolk 4 2 2 0 23 17 5
Suffolk 4 2 0 2 23 17 4
Bucks 2 4 1 0 3 15 25 2
Kent 2 4 0 0 4 12 28 0
Beds 4 0 0 4 1 39 0

Arthur C. Clark
Essex Junior Match Secretary and Cadet Division 1B Organiser.


Len Hoffman, Essex Life Time Achievement Award

Len (seated) surrounded by players ready for the presentation

Len (seated) surrounded by players ready for the presentation

On April 5th 2014, a packed Saturday morning @ the Mossford Table Tennis Club, Junior Section’s Meeting, at the Palmer Academy, saw the Essex County Table Tennis Association present Mossford’s legendary Len Hoffman with a Life Time Achievement Award.

There to join Len in his celebrations, were former International ranked Juniors and Seniors who Len coached: the Juniors of the impressive Mossford TTC; the Officials and helpers of the Mossford Table Tennis Club.

Len’s former pupils included Stuart Gibbs (former England No. 2 at Junior and Senior Levels and Vets No 1: Stuart reaching the last 16 of the World Men’s Singles), Skylet Andrew (former England Junior and Senior No 1; Skylet a Commonwealth Men’s Doubles winner)) and former Junior Internationals: Alex Abbott, Maxine Abbott and Leon Smith.


Hosting the Presentation were Mossford stalwarts David Humble and John Spero, together with key Mossford members: Phil Ashleigh, Tony Cantale and 18 year old Josh Dye.

From the Essex Committee were Essex President Stuart Gibbs, Essex General Secretary Jayne Johnson and myself.

Jayne and I arrived at 10.15 and the Hall was full of activity. The Mossford youngsters were all playing. Stuart, Skylet, Alex, Maxine and Leon were all knocking with the youngsters: a great atmosphere.

The Mossford Coaching Team, were all coaching and in the middle, was Len Hoffman, running a contest for the children, oblivious to what was about to happen.

With the Interval looming, David Humble called for everyone to gather around the area where Len was sitting. Dave introduced myself with some very nice words and I said some fitting words for the Lifetime of devotion to Junior coaching of Len, spanning an amazing 65 years.

I commented on Len’s Lifetime of Coaching and the high standards that those present today had reached: from Len’s early days with Chester Barnes and Stuart Gibbs, to the next generation of Skylet Andrew, Alex and Maxine Abbott, Shelley Ruocco and Grant Solder and many, many more. In his younger days, Len also coached Football and coached Harry Rednapp and Frank Lampard senior. Much of this information came from an article that Mossford’s John Spero had written for a Presentation last year that the Mossford Table Tennis Club made to Len: an amazing lifetime commitment to the enjoyment and skills of so many young people.

A nicely engraved Glass Tankard on a nice stand was presented to Len by Stuart Gibbs. Stuart added his appreciation: giving us all an insight into the fun times they all had as youngsters learning Table Tennis with Len and how much enjoyment they have all had throughout their lives. For many, success at the highest level: all emanating back to the early efforts of Len in creating a lasting interest in Table Tennis. Len as always was totally modest, accepting his Award with a warmth that everyone loved and eager to get back to the Tournament he was running during the Mossford Morning session

Stuart then passed the floor over to Skylet Andrew to heap more praise on Len. Skylet delivered a most exhilarating chat; joining Stuart in attributing much of his success in life, to those early days with Len. Skylet had the youngsters laughing as he recalled some of his young experiences. Skylet then went on to say how table tennis had played a major part in equipping him for the successful career he has had so far, attributing much of this to Len Hoffman.

After, Skylet joined the children and gave them some lessons on serving with his legendary high ball throwing: Skylet had the youngsters laughing, given them high fives once they had mastered his serves, with his help. He had the total attention of everyone; the sheer enjoyment was clear on all the youngsters’ faces.

Our thanks to the very successful organisers of the Mossford Table Tennis Club

And our thanks to Len Hoffman, the likes of which may never be seen again: an amazing Life Time Commitment to the enjoyment of youngsters: possibly thousands.

Ken Field
Essex County Table Tennis Association
14th May 2014