History of the league

A note from Brian Poytress

Bob Goodman, whose idea it was of compiling a handbook for the League, has done a marvellous job.  Along with the many helpers and informants he has spent a good number of hours researching information to complete the years from 1932 when the League was founded to the present time.

I hope the reader will find the book invaluable and interesting, especially to those who have been members of the League for a number of years.  Reading through the pages will no doubt invoke memories and talking points over past glories.  One item that came up with the research that surprised me was that in Bury before the war there were two table tennis leagues.

Also how times have changed from the hard bat era to the sandwich bat and of course the many varying bat rubbers that can now be purchased as well as the change from five to four players in a team down to the present three in a team.

Many teams from the local churches have disappeared from the game; St Johns, one of the founder members, Brunswick, Birtle, Castlecroft, Heap Bridge Methodist, All Saints and Woolfold St James to mention a few along with teams from the town's industry such as Bury Felt, Wiggins Teape, John Wilds, Transparent Paper, Hargreaves, General Engineering and most recently Beloit Walmsley and Bonar Bibby & Baron.

The League grew steadily after the Second World War and at one stage a ladies’ division was in being.  Although one or two hiccups were experienced the League grew during the 1960s and 1970s to reach an all-time high in 1979/80 with 155 teams competing in 13 divisions.  This was around the time of the World Championships in Birmingham.

Unfortunately table tennis has never reached the height on television of some other sports and hence the popularity in Bury & District has not been sustained, probably due to the lack of venues.  Having said this, the League can still boast of the fact that it is the largest in Lancashire and around fourteenth in the country.

In recent years ideas of change have been aired to boost the popularity of the sport.  For example, changing the traditional green tables to blue, reducing the number of points in a game to 11 instead of 21 and a different colour of net.  Whether or not these ideas will come to fruition remains to be seen.

I trust the reader will enjoy the book and, if so, all the hard work put into the publishing of it will have been worth while.

The 1930s

1932/33 SEASON

From an idea put forward in April 1932, a meeting was held at the YMCA on Friday 11 November 1932, which constituted the foundation of the Bury & District Table Tennis League.  There were four clubs who were the original applicants to join the league, these being Stand All Saints, Heap Bridge Methodist Sunday School,

Bury Junior Unionist Association and Bury YMCA.

Mr J M Thompson and Mr W H Kerfoot agreed to be joint honorary secretaries and the YMCA was to be the headquarters.

From the initial meeting until the league started in January 1933, there were two additional teams who joined, Bury St Johns and Bury Lads Club.  The first results from matches played on Tuesday 10 January 1933 were as follows: Heap Bridge beat Bury Juniors; Bury St Johns beat Bury Lads Club and Stand All Saints beat YMCA. Despite the setback of losing the first match, YMCA became the first champions of the league with Stand All Saints as runners-up.

1933/34 SEASON

The league had grown to nine teams for its second season with the format of each match being that a five person team each played one game against each of the opposition, making each match the best of 25 games.

Stand All Saints reversed the previous season's final position when winning the title from YMCA, although winning fewer games.

At the end of the season the champions played the Rest and won 14-11, the teams being:

Stand: R Ashworth, J Briggs, F Binns, G Orrell, A Raynor, reserve: R Crook.

The Rest: W Howarth (YMCA), J Wright (Brunswick), F Howarth (Heap Bridge), G Day (St Johns), K Butterworth (Bury Lads Club), reserve: G Bridge (St Pauls).

 

 

P

 

Pts

 

Games (F/A)

 

Stand All Saints

16

30

292 - 108

YMCA 'A'

16

28

308 -   92

Brunswick MC

16

26

293 - 107

Heap Bridge

16

20

 

St Johns 'A'

16

14

 

St Johns 'A'

16

12

 

St Johns 'B'

16

8

 

Bury Lads Club

16

4

 

St Pauls LC

16

2

 

The first individual event also took place at the end of the season in the form of a handicap tournament.  After beating Briggs (Stand) in the semi-final, Raynor (Stand) beat Dawson (YMCA) to become the first Bury champion.

1934/35 SEASON

A second division was formed in the league's third season due to the number of teams increasing to sixteen.  

One of the new clubs, Buckley Wells, distinguished themselves by winning both divisions.  During the season, there was a casualty when the Cobden Club withdrew from the first division.  The better players in the first division were Cunningham, Layton, Binns and Ward, with Oldroyd, Smith, Hardman and Piggott being the pick of the second division.

The league also started to play inter-league games in the Lancashire League, with a typical team being Oldroyd (Buckley Wells), Layton (Buckley Wells), Binns (Stand All Saints), Howarth (YMCA), G Holt (Johns) and reserve Yates (Heap Bridge).Wells).

1935/36 SEASON

The two divisions continued in year four of the league, with Buckley Wells retaining their division one title but losing out to St Pauls LC in the second division.

1936/37 SEASON

After a slight reduction of teams in the previous year there were now 19 teams competing in two divisions, with new clubs being such as Cellar Club, Derby Club, Bury Corporation Transport, Holcombe Brook, Limefield and St Pauls.

The secretary at the time, Mr J R Thompson, spoke at the AGM of the need for observance of the league rules as there had been some laxity and that a league management committee should be set up to deal with disciplinary matters.

The president at the time was Mr Sam Taylor and the chairman Mr F MacDonald.

A new scoring system was adopted for the season in that each team was to be handicapped with this being taken into account at the end of each match when all 25 games had been completed.  With this method being used, the new champions were Stand All Saints and Heap Bridge in their respective divisions.

The end of season championships attracted an entry of 130 players and Vernon Peatfield became the first person to win the men’s senior and junior titles in the same year.

1937/38 SEASON

Two new national rules were brought into force that was to change the game dramatically.  The first was to reduce the net height from 6.75" to 6" and the second was to outlaw the use of spinning the ball before contact was made with the bat.

During an inter-league game between Bury and Bolton, the league president (Sam Taylor) received a cup from Mr F MacDonald which was to be played for on a knock-out basis each year.  Initially a handicapping system was to be used but not the same figures as used in the league system.  The first custodians of the trophy were Derby Club of Division One who beat Heap Bridge of Division Two in the final.

A proposal that the Bury closed championships should incorporate the Bury & District League, the Workshops League and the Radcliffe League was passed resulting in an entry of over 200 for the championships.

W T (Bill) Barlow was to win his only singles championships in the Bury league in this year because he was to die serving in the RAF.  He did, however, go on to win many other championships elsewhere including being Yorkshire champion in 1938/39.

Representative players of this year included W T Barlow (Stand All Saints), H Olive (Derby Club); K Gardner (Stand All Saints), T Marsh (Derby Club), W Yates (Heap Bridge) and Ron Clough (Heap Bridge).

1938/39 SEASON

The handicapping of teams was abolished for the season and the new system was that a team should have players' abilities ranked from one to five.  Each player was to play two games (best of three sets) and each match result was out of ten games.

Due to the increase of interest of females in the sport, a ladies’ division was formed which had seven teams competing and the first winners were St Johns.

The registration of players took place for the first time and a handbook was given to each player.

The MacDonald Cup was to be played on a scratch basis and it has remained that way ever since.

Notable players for each team were as follows:

Stand All Saints had W T Barlow and P K Wilson.

Heap Bridge had W Yates and J Piggott.

Derby TTC had A Newton, H Olive, T Marsh, H Greenhalgh and G Leach.

St Johns had the Bostock brothers and E Proctor.

YMCA had F Ward, K Gardner, R Clough, W Kerfoot, T Cunningham and Lawrie Butterworth.

The Bury & District League arranged an exhibition by four of the world's best players at the Co-op Hall on Tuesday 7 February.  Those players were Vana, Bergmann, Barnaand Bellak and unreserved seats were available at 6d and reserved seats at 1s 3d or 2s 6d.

The end of season championships brought the return of the men’s singles title to Vernon Peatfield who defeated Bill Barlow in the final.

The 1940s

1939/40 SEASON

The outbreak of war meant that the league had to be reorganised and it was decided that a team would

consist of four players and not five as previously played.  Also matches should start at 7 pm and not 7.45 pm as before the war and that the ladies' teams were to be given an advantage of one event over their opponents.

There was only one division of 12 teams which included newcomers Transparent Club and Squires Club.

The Stand All Saints premises were commandeered for war services but W T Barlow came to their rescue and allowed them to play their matches at his home under the name of Huntroyd TTC.

At the end of the season a tournament was arranged but because of circumstances a different format was used.  Teams would be made up of three persons drawn out of a hat who would play all the other teams of three, as in an American tournament.  The teams with the best results would play off in a final.

As it worked out, the team of J Taylor (Huntroyd), E Holt (YMCA) and Miss Wardle (YMCA) beat E Proctor (St Johns), Miss Barnes (St Johns) and H Goldsmith (Transparent) in the final.

1946/47 SEASON

Resuming after the war with one division of 14 teams and playing the same format as previously (teams of five players playing two sets each), the YMCA team went through the season unbeaten.

The ladies, whilst not having their own league to play in, nevertheless had a competition in which Walmersley Road beat St Johns in the final.  The Bury representative team played in the Lancashire League together with Altrincham, Blackpool, Radcliffe, Bolton SS and Urmston and players included G Lonsdale (YMCA), A Ridings (YMCA), A Barcroft (YMCA), R Holland (NFS) and V Peatfield.

 

Players from the Bury league made two visits to the POW camp at Warth to play matches arranged by F MacDonald (Chairman of the League).

 

 P

Pts

 

 

 P

Pts

YMCA 'A'

26

 52

 

Walmersley Road

26

 25

St Johns 'A'

26

 46

 

St Pauls Social

26

 24

NFS

26

 45

 

Bolton Road ‘B’

26

 13

Ashmeadow

26

 33

 

YMCA ‘B’

26

 13

Bolton Road ‘A’

26

 30

 

St Johns ‘B’

26

 10

Besses

26

 29

 

St Pauls Lads

26

   7

Transparent

26

 29

 

St Peters

26

   6

1947/48 SEASON

The league had grown to three senior divisions (two men’s and one lady’s) and a junior division, as play became popular once again as a means of recreation.

Bill Barlow, a Bury champion pre-war, had died in August 1944 serving in the RAF and a cup was given by A (Vernon) Peatfield in memory of a fellow competitor.

The league entered a junior team in the Lancashire League and in the first match against Stockport was represented by G Hedley (YMCA), N Wolstenholme (YMCA) and R Coope (Besses) with reserve D McPherson (YMCA).  Inter-league matches were popular with as many as 100 spectators turning up to watch.  A BuryFC footballer, Reg Halton, played regularly for RAFA who had entered the league with both male and female teams.  Bury staged a County second team match between Lancashire and Yorkshire at the Co-op Hall in January 1948 in which Lancashire included Mrs Beryl Hardman and won 6-3.  A Riding (soon to become Bury champion) beat Russel Algie of New Zealand when competing in the North of England Championships.  AIgie had not been beaten in his own country for three years.

Individuals were chosen to represent their clubs on a knock out basis for the MacDonald Cup which eventually led to A Ridings (YMCA) beating P Ingham (Bolton Road) in the final.

1948/49 SEASON

There was an extraordinary league meeting before the season started to discuss whether promotion and relegation between the divisions should be introduced.  It was decided that it was necessary and settled for a two up two down system.

A ladies’ team was entered in the Lancashire League and Bury were represented by C Moore (RAFA), K Dean (St Pauls) and A Rostron (St Johns).  Jim Freely made his first appearance for the Bury junior team and during the course of the season the league secretary (A Kenyon) became ill and was replaced by Dennis Bostock.

The RAFA club had a particularly successful second season in the league being runners-up in Division One, runners-up in the MacDonald Cup, champions of Division Two and also ladies’ champions.

The 1950s

1949/50 SEASON

Tottington Methodists joined the league and started by playing in Division Three.

Derek Hutchinson was to join Jim Freely as a member of the Bury junior team with Irving Cordwell as reserve.

The ladies of the Bury league were represented by L Dawson, C Moore and K Dean with the men’s first team normally consisting of A Ridings, A Barcroft and H Ashworth.

At the AGM which took place at the end of the season it was decided that instead of four players in a team, who had each played two games and a doubles match making an event of nine games, the format for the next season would be a three player team, each member playing each other, together with the one doubles being retained.  This now meant that a match would consist of ten sets and a draw would be possible.

1950/51 SEASON

The Bury & District league were asked to stage the zonal heats of the 'Evening Chronicle' Championships and players from the areas of Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Burnley, Leigh, Heywood and Darwen would play until the last four were left in the tournament.  These would then go into a central play-off in Manchester.

Bernard Dwyer (later to give a cup to the league) was a member of the Bury junior league.

The Bury ladies’ team won promotion and for the first time will play in Division One of the Lancashire & Cheshire League.

In January 1951 the death occurred of Mr F MacDonald, a previous chairman of the league who had been a life member in recognition of his services to the league.

In a junior match against Oldham, a certain Geoff Pullar was to give all the Bury players a beating.  At the time he was in the running for junior international table tennis honours, but as a career he later turned to cricket and made many appearances for Lancashire and England.

1951/52 SEASON. The 20th Year of the League.

Fines were introduced for non-attendance of clubs at the monthly meetings and set at 1 shilling.

Holcombe Brook SC asked to play all their games away and also changed their name to Athenian TTC.

John Reddy began playing for the junior team.

At the end of the season, the leading players in each of the divisions were as follows:

Division One: G Collier, E Siddall, H Moore, D Hutchinson

Division Two: S Hilton, D Taylor, R Pickering, R Standring

Division Three: R Johnson, C Steward, R Haydock, W Gray

Ladies: C Moore, J Broughton, M Smith

1952/53 SEASON

The ladies who represented Bury for most games during the season were Connie Moore, Sybil Threlfall and P Driver.

In an inter-league match against Manchester in January 1953 the result was a draw and Sybil Threlfall won her three games, including the scalp of Beryl Hardman who at that time was still playing for Manchester.

The men’s team normally consisted of Derek Hutchinson, E Siddall and J Mather.

1953/54 SEASON

Beryl Hardman started to play for Bury ladies and became the mainstay of the team for many years.

There was a disappointing turnout at the AGM in April 1954 when only five clubs attended.  The meeting was adjourned until August and the secretary, R Standring, wrote to all clubs asking them to attend.

1954/55 SEASON

The meeting which took place in August was attended by only three clubs and there was talk of the league being disbanded, but this was decided against as the league had outstanding debts which had to be settled.

The "fees for each team were set at: Division One - 17s 6d; Division Two - 15s 0d; Division Three - 12s 6d with a registration fee of 2s 0d per person.

There would be three men’s divisions and a ladies’ division which would be run in two halves - one to finish at Christmas and one to begin after Christmas.  If different clubs were to win the separate competitions, there would be a play-off at the season's end.

The monthly meeting of clubs was better attended in September when 12 clubs were present.

Prestwich Cricket Club announced that they were to hold a table tennis match and exhibition on Friday 3 December 1954 at the Conservative Club in Prestwich when international and county players would take part.  With St Pauls winning the first half of the ladies’ competition and St Johns the second, a play-off was held which St Johns won.

The Lancashire Championships were held in Bolton and Connie Moore of Bury lost in the ladies’ final to Adele Wood of Manchester.

1955/56 SEASON

The men’s team who played in the Lancashire League was chosen from N Wolstenholme (YMCA), A Barcroft (RAFA), Eddie Siddall (LCFB), Derek Hutchinson (YMCA) and Jim Freely (YMCA) with the ladies’ having a stable team of Connie Moore (RAFA), Beryl Hardman (RAFA) and S Threlfall (LCFB) and finishing runners-up to Manchester.

St Pauls 'C' team resigned from the league due to players being called up for national service.

The YMCA 'B' team were injured when returning from a match against Heyma in March 1956 when their car slid on an icy road.  Of the players involved, E Sutherst was out injured for the rest of the season whilst Keith McPherson and Tom Rothwell, although hurt, were able to continue playing.

1956/57 SEASON. The 25th Year of the League.

The season began with the league having £62 4s 7d in hand which was the largest ever amount with which they had started a season.

It was decided that handbooks were to be brought back, as against printed sheets used in the previous three seasons, necessary due to the lack of funds.

Limefield Methodists (later to become Seedfield Methodists) joined the league.

The ladies’ team struggled in the Lancashire League due to Connie Moore and Sybil Threlfall not registering to play.

Derek Hutchinson missed part of the season with a fractured wrist but had sufficient time on returning to regain form and retain his singles championship.

1957/58 SEASON

The ladies who played inter-league for Bury were selected from B Hardman (RAFA), J Hopkinson (Transparent), J Nuttall (St Johns) and M Salmon (Limefield).

When the Bury 'A' team went to play an away match against Barrow in January 1958, a coach load of supporters went along; included in the team was Brian Poytress (Limefield) who later became a leading official of the league.

At the AGM in April 1958 it was decided to hold an individual championship for players in the second and third divisions in December of the following season (this was never to take place).

1958/59 SEASON

The men’s team who represented Bury at inter-league level all came from the YMCA club, these being Derek Hutchinson, Norman Wolstenholme and Jim Freely.

In January 1959 at the former Bay Horse Hotel in Higher Lane, Whitefield a new table tennis club was formed.  Gordon Lomax, the chairman of the Whitefield Judo and Table Tennis Club, decided that insufficient facilities were available to local youngsters and, together with helpers cleared the ground floor of the old hotel in order for table tennis tables to be installed.  An official opening took place on 23 January when Lou Laza (Australia) and Ken Stanley (Lancashire & England) played an exhibition match.

In July 1959 the International Federation decided to follow the ETTA and banned the sponge bat and so brought unity to the specification.

Vernon Peatfield (a former Bury champion) corresponded with the league to say that, although living in Northampton, he still followed the fortunes of the league.  B Johnstone of St Johns was killed in a road accident whilst serving in the forces and, as a mark of respect, the persons in attendance at the AGM stood in silence.

The 1960s

1959/60 SEASON

At the October monthly meeting of club representatives, the question of sponge bats was raised and it was reiterated that they were illegal.  The best two teams in the league were YMCA 'A' and Tottington Methodist 'A' who were represented by Derek Hutchinson, Norman Wolstenholme and Jim Freely for the YMCA and Irving Cordwell, Sam Hilton and J Birtwistle for Tottington Methodist.

There was a play-off to decide the winner of Division Three where Walmer TC of Division 3B beat Hargreaves 'B' of Division 3A to be crowned champions.

 

1960/61 SEASON

Castlecroft asked to enter another team in Division Three after the season had started.

A new division was created by putting the top half of divisions 3A and 3B from the previous season together into Division Three and the remainder into Division Four.

Wilf Ainscow, the editor of Bury Times, was asked to present the trophies at the end of season championships.

Bob Hamilton regained the singles title at the championships having won it 13 years previously.

1961/62 SEASON. The 30th Year of the League.

A traumatic season for the league administration in that several clubs withdrew after the season had started and caused havoc with the fixtures and league tables. MacPhersons resigned three teams to affect Division Two, Division Three and the ladies’ division, together with Tottington Methodist withdrawing two teams and also St Pauls 'A' team also pulling out.

The YMCA 'A' team, having gone over four years without being beaten, lost to Royal Insurance 'A' in October 1961.

At the end of season championships a first round clash between the holder, Bob Hamilton, and a previous winner, Derek Hutchinson, produced an exciting encounter which Hamilton won at 24-22 in the third game.

He eventually lost to his team-mate, Brian Rostron, in the final.

1962/63 SEASON

Having won the Bury junior title for the previous two years, Terry Bickerdike was ranked at number six for the county.

Jim Freely was injured and the YMCA team was without his services for the season.

At Christmas, the leading players in their respective divisions were as follows:

Division One - R Hamilton, A Jones (YMCA), Derek Hutchinson and Terry Bickerdike

Division Two - J Forrest, Beryl Hardman, T Rothwell and W Siddall

Division Three - H Fisher, J Nockels, J Pearson and R Yates

Division Four - K Bennett, A Jones (Christ Church), M Horrocks and Alan Wright

Terry Bickerdike reached the final of the Cheshire Junior Open under­15 tournament where he lost to G Birch of Liverpool.

1963/64 SEASON

Terry Bickerdike was registered for Lancashire juniors and also took part in the 'News of the World' finals which were held annually at Bognor Regis.  He remained unbeaten in Division One until February 1964 when, in a match between YMCA 'A' and YMCA 'B', he lost to Ted Foster.

The inter-league team for most of the season consisted of the YMCA 'A' team of D Hutchinson, A Jones and Terry Bickerdike, but later in the year A Jackson of Walmer also played.

Bernard Dwyer presented the league with a cup he had inherited from a relative which was to be played for in forthcoming seasons on a handicap knock-out basis.

Leading players at the end of the season were:

Division One - Terry Bickerdike, Derek Hutchinson, J Deakin (Royal Insurance) and A Jones

Division Two - J Forrest and A Blomley (both St Pauls), B Dwyer (GEC) and A Wright (YMCA)

Division Three - B Johnson (Limefield), N Oakes (Walmer), I Smith (Royal Insurance) and P Jones (Bury SC)

1964/65 SEASON

Prestwich TC joined the league in Division Five.

The men’s inter-league team consisted of J Reddy, E Foster and A Barcroft to start the season but several other players were introduced as the season progressed.

The Dwyer Cup competition started with the points span varying from a Division One team having a scratch handicap to a Division Five team having a plus 14 point start in each game played.  After semi-finals in which Prestwich TC beat Seedfield Methodists 'A' and Bury & Masco beat White Eagle 'A', a scratch final (both teams were in Division Five) ended in Prestwich TC winning by 7 sets to 2.  The Prestwich club was represented by Arthur Hibbert, Len Flew and Geoff Shaw.

1965/66

The holders of the Macdonald Cup, YMCA ‘A’ suffered an upset in the third round of the cup, loosing to the eventual winners, Greylands.

Sybil Williams (LCFB) was chosen to play for Lancashire County, second team.

1966/67

YMCA ‘A’ completed the double of the League Championship and Macdonald Cup and only just missed the treble, when Gordon Lomax beat Ted Foster in the deciding rubber of the Dwyer Cup final.

Beryl Hardman was selected to play for Lancashire County, second team.

Bob Hamilton wins the Men’s Singles Championship for the third time having won it 19 years previously.

1967/68

YMCA ‘A’ again completed the double of the League Championship and the Macdonald Cup.

The Dwyer Cup competition was played on a team handicap basis dependant on the division played in and varying from scratch for division one to 320 points’ start for division seven teams.

NALGO ‘A’ (division three) overcame a 100 point handicap to win the final of the Dwyer Cup against J.Wild (division five)

1968/69

The Bury and District League hosted a youth International match between England and Federal Germany at Elton Secondary Modern School on 4th January 1968. England were represented by Ian Robertson (Northumberland), Tony Bosman (Lancashire), Simon Heaps (Cheshire), Jennifer Cornock (Warwick) and Christine Mann (Middlesex) but lost 5-3.

There was a problem with the venue for the Bury Closed Championship but Bank Street Church Hall came to the rescue and saved the event.

The 1970s

1969/70

The League had grown to 104 teams making it the third largest in Lancashire behind Manchester and Liverpool Leagues.

The youth training scheme was started for table tennis at Elton Youth Club in February 1970 with the services of Cliff Booth being employed as official coach. Twenty players were chosen for coaching in facilities where there were six tables.

1970/71

The YMCA first team split up with Ted Foster and Mike O’Regan leaving to start a new club at Little Lever Cricket Club.

A postal strike in early 1971 caused problems but the league decided that all match cards were to be left at Bostock Footwear shop in Bury, during the period of the strike.

1971/72. The 40th Year of the League

Little Lever Cricket Club were suspended for one season for late payment of subscriptions. Greenmount Youth Club in the form of the Hoy family (Jim, Mike and Graham) joined the league and won the eighth division.

In a league match between Greenmount CC and YMCA ‘A’ Mike O’Regan eventually beat Harold Nixon by a score of 2-21, 21-19, 46-44!

Colin Barrett of Prestwich Tennis Club (ranked sixth in the county) was called upon to make his debut and played for Lancashire Juniors against Northumberland.

1972/73

A new points system was used for the league matches instead of the old two points for a win and one point for a draw. A team winning 10-0, 9-1 or 8-2 received four points with the losers receiving nil points. A 7-3 or 6-4 win gave the winners three points and the loser’s one point and a 5-5 draw meant that there were two points for each team.

An exhibition table tennis match was played at ELPM club in February 1973 in which England ranked players Alan Hydes and Dennis Neale played together with Ted Foster, Graham Hoy and Alan Walkden of the local clubs.

Michael Hoy (Greenbrook TTC) became the second Bury and District player to be ranked in the county, when he appeared at number four behind Donald Parker, Graham Young and Nigel Hallows.

Susan Thompstone of Bibby and Barons was chosen to play for Lancashire second team against Northumberland seconds.

1973/74

Little Lever CC ‘A’ won three major trophies, beating Greenbrook ‘A’ in both cup competitions and in the process won every single game in division one of the league.

Dennis Neale, the number one player in England was appointed coach to the Bury Inter league players.

The ELPM club staged two county matches in January 1974 in which Lancashire played Yorkshire at senior level and Lancashire played Staffordshire at junior level.

The winter power crisis meant that clubs could change their match nights whilst the problems continued.

 

1974/75

The ELPM club had grown to twelve teams (a record for the league) whilst the league had 118 teams, making it the second largest in the county.

Dennis Neale signed on for Greenbrook ‘A’ who also had Kevin Forshaw available if required together with the Hoy brothers and Alan Walkden. They won the division one championship.

The League introduced two new inter division competitions, based on the Macdonald Cup format for the divisions not playing for this trophy. The sections were spilt by division’s three to six playing in one event and divisions seven to ten in the other event.

The Bury team playing for the Norman Cook Memorial Trophy in the Lancashire and Cheshire league beat Hyde 7-2 in the final and were represented by Ted Foster, Graham Hoy and Sue Thompstone.

1975/76

There were three Bury and District players listed in the county rankings: Graham Hoy (5th in the seniors), M.Shonick (10th in the juniors), and Carol Bladen (4th in the junior girls).

For the first time over 500 players were registered in the league with Robert McMinn of St. Francis being the 500th registered.

The men’s first team playing in the Lancashire and Cheshire leagues won promotion to start the next season playing in division one for the first time. The team of Mike Hoy, Graham Hoy and Ted Foster played in all inter league games during the season.

Graham Hoy playing for Greenbrook in division one won all 66 sets played during the season.

1976/77

The Bury and District closed championships are to be sponsored by the Skipton Building Society for the first time.

With the World T.T Championships being played at Birmingham in 1977 the National team of Israel played a match at the ELPM club in which the host team assisted by other local players, Nigel Hallows and Kevin Forshaw.

1977/78

Graham Hoy was ranked three in the senior county listing for Lancashire.

Ian McLoughlin of ELPM was chosen to play for the Bury inter league junior second team to play at Rochdale although still only 111 years old.

The Bury F.C manager Mr. Bob Stokoe agreed to do the presentation at the end of the season championship.

1978/79

The Bury and District league had grown to 142 teams playing in twelve divisions.

September 1978 marked the first win in only her second appearance for Ramsbottom CC ‘D’ team of seven year old Andrea Holt. By the end of the season she had managed a top ten appearance in division twelve.

The county junior boys ranking had four Bury players listed. Phil Hoy at three, Chris Freely at six, Howard Whitworth at eight and Ian McLoughlin at nine. Helen Frost was ranked at five in the junior girls list.

In a league match between Little Lever and Gen Rad, Ron Durose beat Bob Freely at 39-37 in the third game.

The 1980s

1979/80

The 1979/80 season saw the league reach 155 teams playing in thirteen divisions.

In the county ranking for juniors Bury players represented were; Chris Freely and Ian McLoughlin for the boys with Helen Frost and Beverley Hoyle for the girls. In the seniors list were Graham Hoy, Nigel Hallows and Stephen Scowcroft.

At the end of season AGM the Chairman of the league for the last fourteen years Mr. Gordon Lomax decided not to stand for re-election and his place was taken by Mr. Brian Poytress.

1980/81

After competing in the England junior trials Ian McLoughlin was ranked at number four whilst Helen Frost and Beverley Hoyle were placed in the ‘A’ list.

The men’s first team were relegated from the first division of the Lancashire and Cheshire league.

1981/82. The 50th Year of the League.

The league responded to it being the Golden Jubilee Season by holding a Dinner dance at Radcliffe Civic Hall on Friday 23rd April 1982 with Canon J.R.Smith being the guest speaker.

The handicap points system as used in the Dwyer Cup was introduced into the League Cup Competition, sections one to three.

To celebrate the Jubilee Season an individual divisional competition was held for each division.

A member of the Bury and District TT league since the very early days, Mr. Jack Bostock was to present the prizes at the end of season championship.

1982/83

Andrea Holt, now eleven years old, was called to play for Lancashire Juniors against Staffordshire in October 1982. She was also given a ranking of twelve in her age group over the whole of England.

Warren Hegg of Marauders ‘D’ team who lost the final of the League Cup section three was later to make a name for himself as a Lancashire County Cricket player.

1983/84

The League Cup competition reverted back to a non-handicap after a two year experiment with handicapping.

At the AGM the league voted to stay affiliated to the ETTA although there had been a dramatic increase in affiliation fees.

In the Lancashire and Cheshire league the Bury junior first team won the division one championship for the first time and were represented by Howard Leigh, Peter Holt, Nigel Greenwood and Andrea Holt at various matches. Also in the same season the Bury Junior third team won their respective division and were represented by David Carse, Graham Jeffries and Rod Hamilton.

1984/85

Bury FC joined the league with eight teams which were mostly ex members from the ELPM club who still retained twelve teams in the league.

The junior team retained their first division title in the Lancashire and Cheshire league and those playing included David Carse, Nigel Greenwood, Peter Holt and Rod Hamilton.

Martin Dobson the Bury FC manager was guest of honour at the end of season championship.

1985/86

John Hilton a former winner of the European singles championship was playing for Sutherland High School in selected games and was beaten by Steve McNicholas in a Sutherland HS vs. Bury FC fixture.

Skipton Building Society completed ten years of sponsorship for the league closed championship.

1986/87

The league decided to hold a new event, an individual handicap open singles based on the Dwyer Cup rules and an entry of 128 was received for the January 1987 tournament. The first winner was Ben Armstrong of Beloit who beat Andrew Leigh of AIR at 19 in the fifth, in the final.

Trustees Savings Bank became the new sponsor of the league closed championship.

1987/88

The team from Red Hall Restaurant lost a league match after going 45 games without a defeat. They joined the league for season’s 1985/86 and went through their first two seasons without being beaten.

A drawn doubles event was to be included in the handicap event which was inaugurated in the season 1986/87. The winner of the singles was Steven Lomax who had beaten his brother Andrew and his father, George along the route to the title.

Ramsbottom CC resigned from the league with the season almost completed over a decision made by the League Management Committee of which they disagreed.

Ted Foster was given a presentation to mark his twenty five years loyal service to the league, especially his participation in the inter league team over that period.

1988/89

A firm of Bury based accountants; Peat Marwick and McLintock were announced as being the new sponsors of the league closed championships.

For the end of season championships a new format was used in that the better players did not enter the competition until the later stages so ensuring that players compete against their own standard in the early stages of the event.

The 1990s

1989/90

Tottington Methodists celebrated their fortieth year in the league with Sam Hilton having played for them throughout that period.

Robin Faulkner, following from a very successful season in the Bury League, was also awarded the Stan Parr Trophy by the Lancashire and Cheshire league as the most improved player in the league.

He also won the junior and senior championship and was runner up in the first division top ten.

Ronnie Durose retained the first division top ten.

Robin and Glynn Faulkner plus David Wheeldon represented the Bury league in the junior inter league team.

Seedfield CC; Paul Ramlaul, Dave Smith and Ian Boyle became the first team to win the Dwyer Cup in two successive seasons.

A NOTE AT THE END OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE BOOK

BY BOB GOODMAN

Whilst gathering together the information that you will now have read, I have had many long conversations with present and past players, discussing their recollections of matches, of stars of the different eras and of how much enjoyment and comradeship they all received from players in the League.

This is one of the most endearing features I have found with very rarely a bad word said about any individual, although we all know a few who take the word of ‘sportsmanship’ to the brink.

Several persons whom I have contacted are no longer involved in the League, but once I explained what I was attempting to do, they all wished me good luck with the project and passed on any memorabilia which they still have.

I have also had many helpers without which this book would not have become a reality and I thank them for this. Those closely involved were John Henderson, Harry Hardman, Steve Hathaway, Bob Hinchcliffe and Vinny Breslin.

A great deal of thanks is also due to the advertisers and to the Bury Times who have printed the League’s progress with weekly reports of results since its inception in 1932. Without this information taken from micro-fiche held at Bury Library, the book would not have been possible.

As you will probably gathered, it has been a pleasure collating all the information and meeting old friends again as well as making some new ones.

I hope you have enjoyed the read and who knows in another 58 years someone may decide to update the results again. May you all get many more nets and edges as well as satisfaction from having played or still playing this superb game of table tennis.

Robert Goodman.

 

PART TWO begins here with the 1990’s continuing

1990/91

Andy Leigh won the first division top ten and was undefeated in the first half of the season.

Ramsbottom A, Graham Hoy, Ian Mayall and Steve McNicholas won the Macdonald Cup for the second year in succession. They beat Little Lever, Ted Foster, Ronnie Durose and Phil Riley.

Seedfield CC, lost 1-8 in the final of the Dwyer Cup for the first time since joining the league three seasons ago. Ramsbottom ‘F’ comprising of Duncan and Derek Edwards plus Brian Hunter were the winners.

Red Halls Lindsay Thornton was selected for England against Scotland, Wales and Ireland in a British Primary Schools Tournament.

Little Lever have won the Macdonald Cup 8 times and runner up 5 times up to the end of this season.

2 teams were undefeated all season. Seedfield CC in the 5th division with 81 points.

Seedfield Methodists in the 8th division shared 78 points with the winners ELPM ‘J’ but lost out on points with 177 for ELPM and 173 for Seedfield.

Peter Mears of Seedfield Methodists D in the 8th division only lost one set all season.

Derek Edwards of Ramsbottom F in the 7th Division won 58 out of 60 to take the top ten medal.

In the 1st division Bury FC ‘A’ shared 78 points with Ramsbottom ‘A’ but won on sets with 167 against Ramsbottom’s 163.

1991/92 The 60th year of the League

The Handicapped Singles was played by two sixth division players. Ian Spencer of Seedfield CC beat Ian Huggin of Holmar at 16 in the fifth.

The Doubles went to Mark Hodgson of Seedfield and Brian Shaw of Holcombe (who was runner up last year!) who beat Duncan Birch of Nomads and Phil Wardle of Holmar.

Andrea Holt of Ramsbottom Town was selected for the Barcelona Olympics playing in the doubles with Lisa Lomas. Andrea and Lisa are ranked 1 and 2 in England.

Lindsay Thornton played in International schools events throughout the season.

Seedfield CC won the Dwyer Cup in 1989, 1990, runner up in 1991 and won again this season!

For the first time ever there was a play off for the first division title between Ramsbottom ‘A’ and Nomads ‘A’. They were tied on 66 points each and 149 sets each. Ramsbottom won the play off where Andy Jackson won his three. Graham Hoy and Ian Mayall played with Andy and the Nomads team was Steve McNicholas, Graham Jeffries and Howard Leigh.

Another play off for the third division top ten between David Poytress and Mark Reading who both had 53 wins each. Mark won -6, 19, 22.

In the Closed Championship Graham Hoy beat Andy Jackson to win the singles title for the fifth time; the first being in 1975,

Ted Foster and Phil Riley won the doubles; a title Ted last won in 1973 also with Phil.

Cliff Booth continued his coaching at the Seedfield Community Centre on Tuesday and Friday evenings.

1992/93

15 year old Glen Payne of Red Hall became the youngest ever winner of the Individual Handicapped Singles event when he beat Stuart Hough 13, 14, 18.

In the Closed Championships Andy and Howard Leigh won the Open Doubles for the 7th time.

Carolyn Jones from the 7th division Unsworth team was without a win all season until she finally beat David Rawcliffe at 17 in the third in the season’s last match.

The Chairman’s Cup was played for the first time and was won by Unsworth CC who beat ELPM F, 7-2. Betty Poytress, the wife of Brian Poytress presented to Cup.

Cliff Booth’s coaching was moved to Bury Church High School and was available every Tuesday. Phil Wardle was coaching officer.

1993/94

Seedfield Methodists ‘F’ team lost all 18 matches last season and played out their first draw at Holmar ‘D’. Andy Whelan, Chris Abel and Stuart Telfer are all very young players.

In 1964 Bernard Dwyer who was a former player in the league presented a cup which was to be played in his name. Prestwich TTC were the first winners but haven’t won again since. They were finalists in 1987. 1964 was also the first season that Prestwich played in the league. This is now the 30th seasons of playing for the cup and, so far 25 different clubs have won it.

The ruling International Table Tennis Federation are considering a proposal that, if passed, will mean that games are reduced to 11 up instead of 21. Serves are to alternate every three points.

In the Handicapped singles Andy Leigh overcame giving a 17 point start to beat Vic Clough

 (-) 11,19,19,20.

Andy Leigh then teamed up with Joe Walk in the handicapped doubles but lost to Peter Mears and Ross Barton, 17, 21.

Unsworth CC who won the inaugural Chairman’s Cup last season continued their good form this season by winning the Dwyer Cup. Len Lott, Graham and Frank ward was the same team as last year.

1994/95

Looking for a 100% win record this season Ramsbottom ‘A’ was well on their way until the last match half way through the season. They were held to a draw by their ‘B’. They finished the season unbeaten but were held to one other draw.

Harold Nixon, one of the longest serving players in the league collapsed and died whilst taking part in the Individual Handicapped Tournament in January 1995. Harold played for Carlton Club and was known by everyone as a tremendous character and will be sadly missed. As a mark of respect the tournament was cancelled and will not be replayed.

Another long serving player and committee member of the league died in March 1995. Brian Johnson was the league’s vice chairman from 1980 to a 1987 and was a member of Seedfield Methodists.

Ronnie Durose of Little Lever won the first division top ten for the fifth time. Phil Riley was second, seven wins behind and Little Lever were also runners up to Ramsbottom ‘A’.

Andrea Holt won a silver medal at the English Open and is top of the English rankings. Lisa Lomas is second and Alison Gordon third. Matthew Syed heads the men’s and Chen Xiahua is second.

Julian Nuttall, Seedfield won a playoff for the 5th division top ten, beating Trevor Candler of Holmar, 12, 11. (Julian also won a play-off for the 3rd division in 2006-7 beating Chris Sutcliffe)

Carlton Club ‘C’ won the Dwyer, League Cups plus the 4th Division title.

1995/96

The Woolwich Table Tennis League was formed for players under the age of 17 and open to all beginners. Two players in a team and matches to be played at St. Monica’s High School.

The end of season tournament for the juniors was won by Jonathan Berens beating Steven Ross 15 and 19.

1996/97 The 65th year of the League

For 26 years Cliff Booth has been the official coach to the League. Escalating costs and the lack of available premises has forced Cliff into retirement. Cliff has been responsible for coaching to local, National and International levels many top class players and will be sadly missed.

Manchester hosts the World Table Tennis championships. 105 countries have entered which makes it the largest entry for any sporting event in this country since the 1948 Olympics.

Dave Newton, Acrebottom in the first division wins the top ten and drops only 4 sets all season.

In the second season of the Woolwich league Matthew Kormonick beats Zara Chadowitz 19 and 24 in the end of season tournament.

Graham Jeffries beats Magnus Alexander 13 and 16 in the Handicapped singles Tournament where Magnus was giving a 9 point start.

1997/98

A Special General Meeting was called to make a decision whether to start a Premier Division next season. It was decided by a majority vote from the clubs attending. One amendment to the rule was that no doubles were to be played and one point will be awarded for each set won. All matches to be played at St. Monica’s on the same night and teams are invited to take part. Any team not entering will be placed in the new first division. The only rule not adopted was that the Premier teams did not play in the Cup Competitions.

Mitchell Charlesworth sponsored the league for the first time.

The League was stunned by the death of Chairman Brian Poytress. He was 69. Brian had been chairman since 1980 and Vice Chairman since 1970. He was still a playing member of Seedfield Methodists. Brian had been on trip to Llandudno with the Seedfield Methodist Church. Brian was a founder member of the North Bury Junior Football League

Manchester Maccabi achieved a treble in their first season in the league. They won the Dwyer, and League Cups plus the third division title.

Matthew Kormonick again won the Woolwich junior Singles tournament beating Gary Freeman 12 and 18.

1998/99

After 33 years as Match Secretary and also Treasurer and League player for most of that time John Henderson decided to retire. John’s contribution and meticulous attention to detail was well renowned and his paper records that he left the League are a testament to that. Every round of all of the Cup matches and Closed Championships have been recorded and the production of this book would not have been possible without these records. His organisational skills helped to keep the League one of the strongest in Lancashire. John was subsequently made Honorary Life Member of the League.

Marlene Faulkner took over as Match Secretary for the League. Marlene also plays for ELPM.

George Lomax, President of the League from this season is still in winning form when he helped his team to a 6-3 win in the 2nd round of the Dwyer Cup beating Ramsbottom E.

The Woolwich Junior League started the season with 10 teams. They were split into Group A & B. Group A had 4 teams comprising of Maccabi A, Saint Gabs, Woodhey Whitesox and Cosmos. Group B was Ballistics, St. Monica’s A, Bury Juniors, Ramsbottom, Maccabi B and St. Monica’s B. Playing for Ramsbottom was Luke Phillipson, son of Les.

The Bury Inter League was represented all season by Graham Jeffries, Phil Riley and Jim Chadwick. They ended the season as champions of Division 2 North in the Lancashire and Cheshire League.

Michael Moir was representing Ramsbottom B this season, not yet good enough for the A team!

In the Norman Cook Trophy Carol Mitchell joined the regular Inter League team and played Liverpool but lost 4-5.

Division 1 winners, Acrebottom won 22 out of 22 matches and only dropped 6 points all season.

Jim Chadwick won the top ten with 60 wins out of 63. The 5th Division top ten tied 51 each between Duncan Birch of Nomads and Nick Metcalf of BGSOB but nick won because of fewer losses.

The Finals night was held at ELPM Social Club and the Mayor of Bury attended with guest of honour, 7 times Men’s Singles Champion, Derek Hutchinson.

The 2000s

1999/2000

The newly promoted Inter League team of Jim Chadwick, Graham Jeffries and Mick Dore met tough opposition in their first match when they lost to last year’s divisional winners Liverpool, 0-10. Phil Riley also played during the season.

Jim Chadwick followed up last year with a division 1 top ten medal winning 57 out of 60. Michael Moir won the Men’s Singles Final for the first time when he beat team mate Mark Ramsbottom. Guest of honour at the Finals Night awards was John Reddy who himself played in the Mixed Doubles final between 1959 and 1967. John holds the record of 8 titles all with Beryl Hardman. The Mayor of Bury also attended and it was held at the ELPM Social Club.

2000/01

The League was sponsored by Mitchell Charlesworth.

Ramsbottom had 4 teams in the 1st Division and their first clash saw the results go according to their ranking. The A team beat the D team 10-0 and the B team beat the C team 8-2. The Inter League players were again Graham Jeffries, Jim Chadwick, Phil Riley and Mick Dore. They played Blackpool in their first match and won 8-2.

Andrea Holt, ex England International and past number one ranked Ladies player was offering coaching for all players.

A familiar face a few years ago, Howard Leigh signed to play for Ramsbottom. Andrea Holt also played the occasional match.

Ramsbottom A won all 22 matches in the 1st Division. Michael Moir won 64 out of 66, 10 wins ahead of Phil Riley.

Joe Cross from Bolton Road won 58 out of 60 in the fifth Division.

2001/2002 The 70th year of the League

The League was sponsored by Century Seal Conservatories.

The Inter League was again represented by Graham Jeffries, Jim Chadwick and Phil Riley. A second team was entered which included Tim Ternent, Mick Dore, George Brennand and Andy Kaye.

Andy McCheyne returned to the League after a few years absence playing again for ELPM A.

Andrea Holt, 31, former England International is considering playing matches to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. The current England number one Lady Player is ranked outside the top 100 in the world whereas Andrea was 40 or 50 in the world when she was number one. Andrea got to the semi-finals of English National Championships later in the year.

At the half way point in the season Michael Moir had won 33 out of 33. In the other divisions Keith Cheyne of Carlton in division 4 had won 23 out of 24. Division 5 saw Daniel Sheldon winning 26 out of 27.

Reported in the Bury Times 50 years ago in 1952 were the following;

‘Bury B lost 4-6 to Radcliffe at the YMCA. W.Crossley was in best form winning his 3 though twice forced to 3 against D.Farrar, 21-18/27-29/21-18 and R.Coope 19-21/21-14/21-19. His other victory was against R.H.Gordon 21-16/21-18.’

Ramsbottom A were again undefeated in division 1 win 22 out 22 wins. Michael Moir equalled Graham Hoy’s 1975/6 seasons record of 66 individual wins out of 66.

The Finals night presentations were at ELPM Social Club with guest of honour Ted Foster attending with the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury.

2002/2003

This season the League was again sponsored by Century Seal Conservatories. Howard Leigh in the first division was playing for Little Lever. At the half way stage in the season Julian Nuttall of Seedfield, division 4 and had a 100% record with 27 out of 27 wins. He only lost two sets in the second half. One of Michael Moir’s few defeats in the first division this season was against Colin Boardman of Carlton Club who won at 16 in the third.

In the final Inter League matches of the season the first team was represented by Phil Riley, Ronnie Durose and Graham Jeffries. The second Inter League team missed out being promoted by just one set. The team was Mick Dore, Dave Smith and Vinnie Croft.

Alan Ransome and Alex Murdoch are the two candidates for the post of Chairman of the ETTA. They both made presentations to local leagues at Hollingworth and South Conservative Club on Thursday 6th March 2003. All players were invited to attend.

Despite giving 15 points start Ramsbottom A (Michael Moir, Mark Ramsbottom and Andy Jackson) beat fifth division Prestwich F (Bob Mottershead, Peadar McKinstry and Ross Barton) to win the Dwyer Cup 7-2. The following night Ramsbottom A beat The Cricketers by the same score line in the Macdonald Cup. Prestwich F featured in the League Cup section two final but lost again 2-7 against Seedfield B, (Stephen Siddall, Julian Nuttall and Andy Hamilton) from the forth division.

Amir Khan won the Bury Young Sportsman of the year award!

First and Second in division two, Mosses B and Seedfield A played each other where David Poytress of Seedfield  beat Vinnie Croft 25-23, 32-30!

The top ten winners were as follows;

Division 1         Michael Moir, Ramsbottom Town TTC won 63 out of 66

Division 2         Dennis Buckley, Ramsbottom Town TTC won 51 out of 60

Division 3         Chris Sutcliffe, Stand won 51 out of 54

Division 4         Julian Nuttall, Seedfield won 52 out of 54

Division 5         Peadar McKinstry, Prestwich won 54 out of 56

In the season ending Closed Championships Mark Ramsbottom won the Men’s Singles, Veterans and the Doubles titles.

2003/2004

The season started with a change to the scoring system from the best of three, twenty one up to the best of five, eleven up. Each player now has two serves instead of five. The Cup Competitions remain at twenty one up because of the handicapping system.

Paul Cichelli joined the League and played for Mosses A and beat Michael Moir and Dave Newton in his first match of the season.

A change also to the Inter League matches where they played three matches on one day and some players found the going ‘tough’. The first team of Jim Chadwick, Graham Jeffries and Ronnie Durose lost two and drew one. The second team of Andy Kaye, Mick Dore and Paul Cichelli lost all three. In the second round of matches Jim Chadwick Graham Jeffries and Paul Cichelli won two and lost one to stay in division one. Dave Kaye, Mick Dore and Dave Smith played in the second round of matches and finished fourth in division two.

Long-time player in the League John Reddy is still playing for Seedfield in Division four. John still holds the record of eight (seven in a row) mixed doubles titles partnered with Beryl Hardman between 1959 and 1967.

The first division top ten wasn’t decided until the last week of the season. Jim Chadwick and Michael Moir tied with 55 out of 60 wins. A play off was not arranged so they shared the top spot.

The top ten winners were as follows;

Division 1         Michael Moir, Ramsbottom Town TTC & Jim Chadwick, Radcliffe CC won 55out of 60

Division 2         Dennis Buckley, Ramsbottom Town TTC won 58 out of 66

Division 3         David Hall, Elton Vale won 41 out of 56

Division 4         Alan Crompton, YMCA Sports won 53 out of 60

Division 5         Trevor Candler, Holmar won 61 out of 63

The end of season Finals night was held at ELPM Social Club with earlier rounds played at the Hilton Centre.

2004/2005

The League was sponsored by Burning Desire Fireplace Centre. A new format was tried in division 1 with only 8 teams but playing each other three times. As expected in division 2 the early leaders were the division 1 teams from the previous season which were Burning Desire B, Hamer, St.Philips A and Ramsbottom D.

The Inter League teams were represented by Paul Cichelli, Jim Chadwick and Steve McNicholas for the A team and won 2 and lost 1 in their first round matches. The B team was Kim Barnard, Dave Smith, Andy Kaye and Mick Dore who won 2 drew 1 and lost 1.  A Veterans team was entered and was represented by Dave Smith, Mick Dore and Andy Kaye and won all 6 matches to be promoted to division 3.   Shawfield joined the League from Rochdale in divisions 3 and 5 with 3 teams. Shawfield B won division 5 and also the Poytress cup in their first season in the League. Ian McPherson won 64 out of 66 to win the division 4 top ten. 
The end of season finals and presentation of trophies was at Ramsbottom Cricket Club with Ben Armstrong of the League Sponsors, Burning Desire and President of the League, George Lomax presenting the awards. Michael Moir/ Ramsbottom Town won the Open Singles 4-2 against Graham Jeffries/Radcliffe. Mark Ramsbottom and Michael Moir of Ramsbottom Town beat Ben Armstrong and Vinnie Croft of Burning Desire 3-0. Kim Barnard/Burning Desire beat Dennis Collier/St.Philips in the division 2/3 final. Father and son Frank and Alan Carse played in the division 4/5 final where Alan won 3-1. In the Veterans Mark Ramsbottom beat Ben Armstrong 3-1.

2005/2006

The League was again sponsored by Burning Desire Fireplace Centre. Division 1 was back to 11 teams. Newcomers to the League were Milnrow in Division 2 and Wardle Conservative Club A in Division 2 and the B team in Division 5. Shawfield added the D team to Division 5. In an early start to the season Ramsbottom Town A had four consecutive 10-0 wins in their first matches. The Veterans Inter League were promoted to Division 1 this year after their success last season. Dave Smith, Andy Kaye and Mick Dore played in the matches. The A team was Graham Jeffries, Mick Dore, Paul Cichelli, Kim Barnard and Charles Musa and retained their position in the Premier Division. The B team was Dave Smith, Andy Kaye and Dennis Collier finished in the top half of Division 1.

Lindsey Thornton made a welcome return to the League playing for Burning Desire and won her three in her first match against Little Lever. 

Dave Watts won Division 5 top ten with 51/54.

2006/2007 The 75th year of the League.

Burning Desire Fireplace Centre continued sponsoring the League. After 8 years as Match Secretary Marlene Faulkner ‘retired’ and the position was taken by Keith Warrington. It was his fourth and last season as Chairman for David Poytress.

A website was created for the League and was favourably received by the players who accessed it.  There were on going difficulties with the Bury Times in getting a regular write up published; one of the reasons given being the number of available sports pages are dictated by the number of adverts published.

A play off for the third division top ten took place between Julian Nuttall of Seedfield Methodists and Chris Sutcliffe of Stand. Julian won the play off.

The finals night and presentation of prizes was held at Ramsbottom Cricket Club and the guest of honour was Jim Freely who won the Junior Championship in 1949 and father of Bob Freely who won the Men’s Singles in 1978. President of the League George Lomax also attended.

2007/2008

Burning Desire Fireplace Centre again sponsored the League. The League was without a Chairman so Frank Sheldon volunteered as ‘acting Chairman’.

The production of the League handbook was brought ‘in house’ when Secretary Keith Butler obtained the handbook from the printer and converted it to a ‘WORD’ document in Microsoft Office. Match Secretary Keith Warrington assisted with the detail in the handbook which was then emailed to the University Press in Manchester who photocopied the pages and produced the handbooks for around £120. Printing previously cost £450.

Adam Bleakley joined Ramsbottom Town TTC towards the end of the first half of the season. Adam, son of John Bleakley who played in the League in the 70s and 80s was returning to playing after being diagnosed with glandular fever and was ranked number 5 in England  as a junior last season.

A play off was required to decide the relegation place in Division 2 between Elton Vale and Maccabi A.

The finals night and presentation of prizes was held at Ramsbottom Cricket Club where Ted Foster was guest of honour.

Michael Moir of Ramsbottom Town TTC lost the chance to equal Derek Hutchinson’s tally of 7 Men’s Singles titles when he lost 2-4 to Graham Jeffries of Radcliffe. Derek won his seventh title in 1963. Michael also eclipsed Ronnie Durose’s 6 top ten wins when he won his 7th this season.

2008/2009

Burning Desire Fireplace Centre continued as the sponsor for the League. No Chairman was appointed again this season so Frank Sheldon of Maccabi kindly continued as acting Chairman for the League and Committee meetings.

League President for the past 10 years George Lomax died at the beginning of 2009. George had a long association with ELPM and in the boom time of the League in the late 70’s and into the 80’s ELPM had 20 teams in the League. George was instrumental in bringing many juniors into the League and he will be sadly missed.

Long-time player in the League Ellis Pressman also sadly died this year.

Defending Champion Graham Jeffries of Radcliffe CC retained his title when he beat fellow club mate Wayne Renton 2, 4, (-) 7,10,2. Graham did the double and took the Veterans Title as well when he beat Dennis Collier 3, 7, 6.

Ramsbottom Table Tennis Academy was formed by League Match Secretary Keith Warrington (Secretary) and Ramsbottom Town TTC Secretary Bryan Edwards (Chairman). The Academy is a registered club in the League though they haven’t entered a team. This gives them ETTA affiliation. Based at Ramsbottom Civic Hall on Friday evenings the Academy built up a membership of 24 with ages ranging from 7 to 16 years. They were successful in their funding bid to the Awards for All Lottery Grant for new tables and other equipment.  Adam Bleakley was coach for the year and obtained his UKCC level coaching certificate during the first year. The Club was working towards ETTA PremierClub accreditation and was being helped by the North West ETTA Development Officer Andrea Holt to obtain this accreditation. Players in the League Michael Moir, Graham Young and Mandy Winskill were volunteers in the club and also obtained their UKCC level coaching certificates. The club is provided coaching and practice for juniors in the Bury area – a long overdue facility. 

2009/2010

After 5 years sponsoring the League, Ben Armstrong of Burning Desire Fireplace Centre decided not to continue with his sponsorship. Graham Jeffries of Radcliffe CC and current Bury Closed Champion arranged for his employer Perrys to take over sponsorship of the League. Ken Crimes of Prestwich TTC took over the vacant position of Chairman. Simon King replaced David Ternent as Tournament Secretary after 11 years in this role. David was also responsible for organising Finals Night and all the trophies and a parting gift of some bottles of fine wine were presented to David at last season’s finals night in appreciation of all the work he had done in the 11 years in this role. Another new appointment to the League Committee was Mandy Winskill as Coaching/Development Officers. Mandy is a coach at Ramsbottom Table Tennis Academy and one of that clubs aims is to introduce more junior players into the League.

Because there is not ‘criteria’ in the clubs rules for appointing Vice Presidents it was decided at a League Committee Meeting that no further appointments would be made for this position.

Ramsbottom Table Tennis Academy moved from Ramsbottom Civic Hall to Castle Leisure Centre in Bury in June 2009. Tables increased from 4 to 7. Several of the Academy young players registered to play in the League for Ramsbottom Town TTC. The Academy also entered a team in the ETTA National Cadet League.  Players in the League Michael Moir, Graham Young and Mandy Winskill took over as joint coaches after Adam Bleakley returned to University. All three players are taking the UKCC level 2 coaching certificate. Andy Jackson and Paul Wood from Ramsbottom TTC plus one of the junior’s parents, David Allen are taking the UKCC Level 1 coaching certificate.

In November 2009 the Club attained CLUBMARK status after 12 months of the accreditation process. The Chairman of the club and long-time club secretary of Ramsbottom TTC, Bryan Edwards was awarded Development Officer of the Year by the ETTA.

After a number of seasons with the Cup Competitions having a ‘team’ handicap it was decided to try an Individual Handicap system based on the one used by the Oldham League. At last year’s AGM it was agreed by all clubs attending that the Committee could get on with creating an Individual Handicap system.

Oldham only use their system on a ‘divisional’ basis whereas the League wanted a system to cover across all 5 divisions. The new League Tournament Secretary, Simon King volunteered to do the calculations which were time consuming and complex. Simon had assistance from the League Chairman Ken Crimes. There were further refinements to the system after each round to try and get the most accurate calculations possible.

Simon also took on another huge task of improving the website and changed the look which has been well received by the players. The history of the League from the book that Bob Goodman produced in 1990 was retyped by Match Secretary Keith Warrington and the content was brought up to the current year. All the results from Championships and Cup Competitions were retyped into Spread sheets and where possible Christian Names were added to the winner’s names. A section was included for individual players belonging to the League including all of Andrea Holt’s tournament wins.

2009/2010 cont’d

The Table Tennis League and beyond mourned the recent loss of BOB HAMILTON at the age of 84. In his younger days he was a successful player with several clubs including Greylands and ELPM. On three occasions in 1948, 1961 and 1967 he was the Bury League’s Closed Champion and in 1973, 1974 and 1976 was the Veterans Champion. He represented the town team, Lancashire and had trials for England. Bob was an all-round sportsman who captained Radcliffe Cricket Club when both Frank Worrell and later Gary Sobers were club professionals. He was also a founder member of Radcliffe Borough F.C and in later life was a respected crown green bowler with Tottington. Bob was a perfect gentleman and a popular team mate and opponent and will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of his company.

JIM FREELY, long time player in the League died in January 2010 after a short battle with cancer. Jim was one of only a few successful ‘father and son’ teams to play in the League with Chris and Bobby. Listed below are Jim’s ‘achievements’ as a player in the League and only stopped playing in 2002 after a long struggle with his hip.

Junior Final

1949

Gordon Hedley

Jim Freely

Doubles Final

1950

G.Collier & Bert Moore

Alan Barcroft & Jim Freely

Men’s Final

1955

Eddie Siddall

Jim Freely

Doubles Final

1956

Jim Freely & Derek Hutchinson

E.Hope & J.Howarth

Doubles Final

1957

Jim Freely & Derek Hutchinson

H.Ashworth & Alan Barcroft

Doubles Final

1958

Jim Freely & Derek Hutchinson

J.Rawson & Norman Wolstenholme

Doubles Final

1959

Jim Freely & Derek Hutchinson

Irving Cordwell & Sam Hilton

Doubles Final

1960

Jim Freely & Derek Hutchinson

Alan Barcroft & E.Hope

Doubles Final

1961

Jim Freely & Derek Hutchinson

Bob Hamilton & Bert Moore

Veterans Final

1980

Peter Kerr

Jim Freely

The Closed Championships returned to Castle Leisure Centre in Bury after an absence of 15 or more years. An excellent entry of 86 League players entered the Men’s Singles, Handicapped singles, Doubles; Over 40’s and over 60’s (previously one competition called the veterans) and for the first time since 1996 a junior event.

The divisional handicap events were played through to the final on the day and the remaining competitions were played on ‘Finals Night’ on Tuesday 20th April at Elton Vale Sports Club; a new venue for the event. Councillor Michael Hankey presented the prizes.

Juniors

To attract a good entry of junior’s players who attended the Ramsbottom Table Tennis Academy were invited to play and a field of fourteen juniors in three groups played. The winners of each group progressed to the semi-finals plus the ‘best loser’. Callum Stott an Academy player played Dean Clyne of Maccabi who won in 4.

Over 40’s

The preliminary round was in a group format with winners and runners up progressing to the knockout stage. Mark Ramsbottom progressed through to the final and faced Mick Dore of Radcliffe CC and Ramsbottom won the title for the fifth time.

Over 60’s

Players could enter the over 40’s as well as the over 60’s if they qualified on age. Again the preliminary round was in groups so players who had played in the over 40’s as well will have got plenty of matches played on the day. Derek Watmough, reigning champion won through to the final but lost to Tommy Ryan of Adelphi.

Doubles

This event was a straight knock out and after some ‘reshuffling’ of pairs because a few players didn’t turn up. Derek Watmough progressed through to another final paired with Dennis Collier and faced Tony Bates and Tony Smith of BAE, a new team entered this season from the Oldham League. Bates and Smith won the doubles.

The Divisional Handicaps were played to a conclusion on the day. They would be using the same handicaps that were used for the first time this season in the cup competitions. Results are in HISTORY section on the website.

Open Singles.

The big event on the day was on a group basis in the preliminary round to then progress to a straight knockout to progress through to the semi-finals which will be played on Finals Night. Gary Newton (Carlton Club) won his place in the semi-final for the first time as did reigning champion Graham Jeffries of Radcliffe CC.  Marek Maraszkiewicz from the new club to the league in division two ‘Grubba Fans’ had an excellent day to get to the semis and faced team mate Lukasz Serdiuk. Lukasz had an even better time causing the upset of the day by beating Mark Ramsbottom in the second round. A thrilling final which went to the seventh game. Lukasz appeared to have a commanding 3-0 lead only to see the reigning champion claw his way back and to win the vital seventh game to take the title for the third successive year.

2010/11

The League sponsor for one season Perrys did not wish to continue so the Treasurer Graham Wardle arranged with his son Philip for his company Hands on Computer Solutions Ltd to take over the sponsorship.

Simon King stood down as Tournament Secretary/Website Development because of a new business venture.

62 teams entered for the new season which made the division formatting difficult. Two new junior teams from Ramsbottom Table Tennis Academy entered so division five became fourteen teams and divisions one to four twelve.

At the last minute George Brennand Hilton Bury withdrew their team from Division one because he was to become of family commitments in becoming a father for the second time. David Poytress of Seedfield A requested to stay in division one after being relegated last season so division two has only eleven teams.

The Academy entered a squad of ten to cover both new teams and included the father of two girls in the team. Two teams entered from the Academy in the ETTA National Cadet League. 

Though the Closed Championships at the Castle Leisure Centre was a success it was too expensive to continue. The Radclyffe School in Chadderton was sourced which is where the Oldham League have held their championships and is only 11 miles from the centre of Bury.

The season saw a start of the ETTA Individual Memberships and each player had to register direct with the ETTA rather than through the League.

 

2011/12 The 80th Year of the League

JOHN REDDY Vice –President of the League died in January 2012 aged 74 years. John holds a record in the Bury League that is unlikely to be beaten. John partnered Beryl Hardman to no less than eight Mixed Doubles Championships between 1959 and 1967; seven on the trot. It would have been nine but for losing in the 1960 final. John continued playing for Seedfield Methodists until 10 or so years ago and was a regular at the season end Finals Night and will be sadly missed.

Seedfield E has kept mostly the same players and it was 5th February 2007 when they last won a match; almost 5 years! It shows their resolve to have continued playing despite the results which is a credit to them all.

The two bottom teams in this division faced each other and the first four sets were very close. Seedfield E is in bottom place so had a fifty one point advantage over the junior team Shawfield G at the start of the match. All of the sets were close and even drew set four but Seedfield were slowly increasing their lead. Barry Simpson lost twenty nine forty four to James Aadahl of Shawfield and Seedfield still led by forty two points. In a very strong set from Jim Murray of Seedfield in beating Dean Walmsley forty six points to twenty five which put the match out of Shawfield’s reach with a set to go. Andy Wood consolidated Jims result and beat Sam Burgoyne of Shawfield by eight points to put the match score 651 to Seedfield and 580 to Shawfield.

8 year old AMIR HUSSAIN won his place through to the final of the junior singles. He faced 18 year old Dean Clyne who was back playing in division two after a year’s absence through illness. Amir showed fantastic skills for someone so young and though he took a game of Dean it was Dean who won on the night.

Michael Moir won the Men’s Championship for the record equalling seventh time to match Derek Hutchinson’s record that has stood since 1963. Derek was due to come to the Finals Night presentation but a hospital appointment for a procedure on his eye meant that he was unavailable.

Michael represented the Bury and Bolton Leagues as Champion in a ‘Champions Challenge’ winner takes all (£100) event organised by Jim Bolton of the Wigan League. The Keith’s Butler and Warrington represented the League at the Challenge held in a fairly new sports facility in Hindley, just outside Wigan. There were six League Champions who played in two groups of three and the winner from each group played the final. Michael got to the final but it was Thomas?? from the Liverpool League who won.

At the AGM Ken Crimes stepped down after three years as Chairman to be replaced by FRANK GREEN who plays for Elton Vale Sports Club. All other Officers and Committee Members were re-elected.

2012/13

The entries for the League for the coming season resulted in twelve teams in Division 1, eleven in Divisions 2 and 4 and ten teams in divisions 3 and 5.The League season will run from Monday 3 September to Good Friday.

Based on the ETTA Individual Membership database there were 293 players registered in the Bury League for the season.

League Secretary Keith Butler explained at the League meeting in July 2012 of the proposal made by the ETTA to increase membership fees and their plans for using the additional income.  The consensus of the meeting was to oppose the proposal and KB was requested to vote accordingly.  KB noted that he would also communicate the League’s concerns about some of the proposed uses of any additional fees.

The Individual Handicap calculation automation was created by Treasurer Graham Wardle which was an improved Excel spread sheet that should reduce the workload and calculations at each round.

Chairman Frank Green stated that the date for the change of the new style table tennis ball had been put back again and is now July 2015 before it will be launched.

There were 73 entries for the closed championships which were held at The Radclyffe School, Chadderton for the third time. Sixteen tables were used which were set up including all surrounds, electric score boards and all TT balls for the championship. They were provided by the Oldham Table Tennis Club, Dave Griffiths, who have their club based at this venue.

Finals Night – Tuesday 16th April 2013 at Elton Vale Sports Club

Junior Final

Having played each other in the group stage of the championship eleven year old Daniel Olsberg from Maccabi Table Tennis Club was looking to repeat his fine win over fifteen year old Dominic Siddall from Ramsbottom Table Tennis Academy. Daniel fought his way back from a two game deficit in the group match to beat Dominic, the top ten winner this season for division five having lost just five matches all season. Daniel and Dominic won through the group stage and their respective semi-finals to prove that their numbers one and two seedings for the event were correct.

It was clear that Daniel was suffering some nerves as was to be expected for an eleven year old playing in front of an audience for the first time. Dominic appeared a lot more settled and was in to his attacking game straight away and soon had the first game tied up, winning it eleven three.  Dominic continued his strategy of ‘getting in first’ in the second game to take time away from Daniel who looked more settled and was playing better table tennis with less errors. It was a close game but Dominic always had his nose ahead and took the second eleven points to eight.

Daniel had it all to do if he was to lift the junior title and he started the third game very positively. He held a lead until part way through the game when Dominic played a string of winning shots to just edge out Daniel to take the third game and junior title for the first time by eleven points to nine.

Singles Semi-Finals

Playing for Prestwich Table Tennis Club and for the first time in the Bury League this season current champion of the Oldham League Darren Lindley faced another new comer to the League. Jeff Craighill who played this season for Ramsbottom Town had a ‘flying start’ to his match in an error strewn first game for Darren. This wasn’t to be unexpected after his long journey from Yorkshire. Darren was delayed over an hour as a result of a road traffic accident en route to the venue. Jeff raced away to the first game winning it eleven points to four. Darren then found his game in the next taking it eleven points to five and continued his strong attacking play to close out the match comfortably wining the next two games eleven seven.

In the second semi-final current champion Mick Moir from Ramsbottom Town faced another new comer to the League, Paul King who plays in the same team as Darren at Prestwich. In two up and down games Mick managed to just ease past Paul taking them both eleven points to nine. Mick ‘lost his way’ in the next game when he made several mistakes plus Paul was winning some impressive points to close out the game eleven points to seven. Mick was always ahead in the fourth game and crossed the winning line by eleven points to eight and a place in his tenth final. This is one more than Graham Hoy managed in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Singles Final

Played over the best of seven games rather than the usual five the final promised to be the best standard of table tennis in the area where reigning Bury Champion Mick Moir was looking to break another record in winning his eight title. This would put him one ahead of Derek Hutchinson who won his seven in the 1950’s and 60’s. Mick’s opponent is the reigning Oldham Champion, Darren Lindley, a title that he won just last month. Having got over the traffic delays that hampered his semi-final match Darren got a fast start to his match taking the first game eleven points to six. There were some spectacular shots from both players whose attacking games sometime led to very short points. The longer points on both the forehand and backhand sides, again by both players showed their tremendous hitting skills off both wings. Mick kept his nose ahead in the second game, winning eleven points to nine to draw level. An even closer third game went the way of Mick twelve points to ten. Two one to Mick. Darren had plenty of chances in the next game to draw level in the match but Mick won it seventeen points to fifteen. Obviously annoyed at letting the last game slip Darren hit back and comfortably won eleven points to five. Mick had a very fast start to the sixth game and he could sense the winning line which he crossed comfortably eleven points to three to be Bury Champion for the eighth time.

Over 50’s Final

The current over 50’s champion Mark Ramsbottom from Ramsbottom Town having won the title on six occasions took on the 1996 and 2002 champion Phil Riley from Little Lever. Mark had the quickest start to his match taking the first game eleven points to six but Phil soon hit back by taking the second eleven seven. A very comfortable third game went Mark’s way eleven points to three. Could Phil mount a challenge again? It wasn’t to be and Mark rounded off the match by winning eleven seven and the title for the seventh time.

Over 60’s Final

Dennis Collier from Little Lever was able to reverse his result from last year’s final where he was runner up to three time previous champion Tommy Ryan who surprisingly lost to Dennis in the semi-final. Dennis took on the champion from 2009, Derek Watmough who plays for Coburg. Derek was unable to get into his usual game because Dennis, normally a defensive player went on the attack. Derek had trouble with the speed and consistently was pushing the ball long to give Dennis easy points. The match was over rather quickly when Dennis won four, four and three to take the title.

Doubles Final

Two new pairings faced each other in the final. From Ramsbottom Town Mark Ramsbottom joined team mate Jeff Craighill who had beaten another team mate, Mick Moir with his partner Dave Cain in the semi-final. Darren Lindley and Ian McLean from Prestwich Table Tennis Club beat 2010 and 2011 champions Tony Bates and Tony Smith in their semi-final match. The first game was very close with either pairing looking likely to win it and it was the Prestwich pair who just nicked it twelve points to ten. With the first game under their belt Darren and Ian seemed to flow a bit better and were always ahead in the next two games to take them relatively comfortably six and eight to win the title for the first time.

Prize Presentation

At the conclusion of all of the finals the League Chairman, Frank Green was assisted by Guest of Honour John Hilton, 1980 European Table Tennis Champion to present the prizes and trophies.

2014/15 The 83rd Year of the League

Unfortunately not many records kept throughout the year except to say the Committee was almost unchanged from the previous season.
Wayne Renton won the men’s championship beating Mark Ramsbottom 4-0. Tommy Ryan won the over 60’s when he beat Dennis Collier 3-0. Daniel Olsberg retained his junior title when he beat team mate from Maccabi in the fifth game in a very tight match. Ramsbottom Town won division one and have won every year since 1990 except in 1991 when Bury FC ‘A’ won.
In the League handbook the names behind the leagues cups are detailed as follows:

Dwyer Cup
In 1965 the League wanted to introduce a handicapped competition and Bernard Dwyer, a player in the League, kindly donated a cup for the competition. (If anyone in the League reading this knows which club Bernard played for please contact Keith Warrington).
Macdonald Cup
The 1936/7 Chairman of the League was Mr F MacDonald. During an inter-league game between Bury and Bolton in the 1937/8 season the league president (Sam Taylor) received a cup from Mr F MacDonald that was to be played for on a knock-out basis each year.  Initially a handicapping system was to be used but not the same figures as used in the league system.  The first holders of the trophy were Derby Club of Division One who beat Heap Bridge of Division Two in the final of 1938.
Poytress Cup
Brian Poytress played for Seedfield Methodist and was Vice-Chairman of the League from 1970 until 1980 when he took over as Chairman until his death in 1998.  Brian’s family expressed a wish to donate a Cup Competition to the League, which was first played for in 1999.
Ellis Pressman Cup
Ellis played for Prestwich Hospital in the 1960s then later for Prestwich Tennis Club and his last club was Maccabi.
Sam Hilton Cup
Sam was the losing finalist in the Bury Closed Championships of 1969 and only ever played for one club, Tottington Methodist.
George Lomax Cup
George was the long-time secretary of East Lancashire Paper Mill which grew to more than 20 teams in the League in the 1980s.  He was instrumental in bringing youngsters into the League and even when he moved away from the area was an enthusiastic and active President from 1998 until his death in 2008.  George’s family wished to donate a cup to the League in his memory.
There is also a ‘Barlow Cup’ which is presented to the men’s Singles Champion. See next year for full details.

2015/16 The 84th Year of the League

After a 25 year break team mates Dave Cain, Keith Howarth and Ian Lloyd teamed up and played in Division 3 of the league. In only their second match they won by a health 8-2 margin. 12 year old Amirul Hussain became just the seventh player to win the junior and senior title in the same year. Amirul has already been to China twice with his dad Khamal to further his game of table tennis. Amirul is currently ranked number 1 in England in the boys under 13 Table Tennis England rankings.
The cup that the men’s singles gets presented with, the Barlow Cup is in a sorry state of repair. There are dints, it’s distorted, the colour is poor and the base is ‘sad’. The engraving on the cup says,

“The Barlow Cup. Men’s Singles Championship. Presented to The Bury and District Table Tennis League by A.V. Peatfield. In memory of W.T. (Bill) Barlow who gave his life for his country on 12th August 1944 whilst serving with The Royal Air Force.”

  Match Secretary Simon King and past Match Secretary Keith Warrington decided to research A.V.Peatfield and W.T. (Bill) Barlow.
It took a week or more of intense detective work and linked one of the names to the other side of the world in Australia.

  BILL BARLOW – The Barlow Cup

Named William Thomas Barlow, He was born in 1921 the son of James Barlow (born 16th Nov 1891) and Florence nee Cunliffe (born 13th March 1893) who had married in 1920.
He won the Men’s Championship in 1938. He won the doubles with ‘J.Taylor’ in 1939. William married Vera Gibson in 1943. They didn’t have any children.
He was killed on 12th August 1944 and is buried in the Alexandria (Chatby) War and Military Cemetery in Egypt. Bill did not die in combat; he died in an accident when his plane crashed.
Vera remarried in 1946 to Thomas Clutterbuck but she died in 1951 aged just 29.
Bill had a brother Edward Stanley Barlow, Sergeant, W.Op/Air Gnr, 1450108, 431 (RCAF) Sqd, RAVR who died on 5th January 1944 aged 20 years. Commonwealth War Graves show his next-of-kin as his parents so we assume he was unmarried and without a family.
There was also a sister Dorothy May Cunliffe Barlow born in 1933, she married Gordon Lomax in 1957.
Gordon Lomax was Chairman of the League from 1966 to 1980.
Gordon hosted two teams ‘Greylands A and B’ at his home. The A team of Ronny Coupe, Donny Wainwright and D. Berry won the Macdonald Cup in 1966. In 1967 the B team of Gordon, John Henderson (Match Secretary from 1965 to 1998) and Brian Cooper won the Dwyer Cup.
Dorothy and Gordon Lomax had one child - Kenneth Lomax born in 1959 and attended Stand Grammar School in the 1970s. Kenneth now lives in New Zealand and has two daughters.
Dorothy died around 1982.
Gordon, brother in law to Bill is now 82 and has lived in Spain and Florida, was a tennis coach from 1986 to 2007 and lives in Bognor Regis. He remarried to Jytte (pronounced UTA) who is Danish.

ARTHUR VERNON PEATFIELD

Born Arthur Vernon Peatfield in 1921, the same year as his long time and closest friend ‘Bill Barlow’.
He married Marjorie Naylor in Bury in 1948.
It was Vernon who taught Marjorie to play and together then won the mixed doubles in Bury in 1947.
Vernon with Bill were a doubles team together but on the occasions when they did play against each other they would both give everything they had to beat each other. They both originally lived in Whitefield.
 Vernon wanted to sign up to fight in the war but as he had lung problems he was not able to do so. When Bill was killed in 1944 Vernon was devastated and he again tried to sign up to fight but again he was rejected on health grounds. Vernon helped with the war effort in an administrative role and was at one time commissioned to Eritrea and also to Cairo.
Whilst in Cairo, Vernon would represent the Cairo Area Forces team and this was a team made up of the finest players from all aspects of the Allies.
After the 2nd World War Vernon presented the Barlow Cup to the Bury League in memory of his dear friend and it was first played for in 1948 when Bob Hamilton beat R.Holland
Vernon had an incredible record of Bury Championship wins.

1937. He became the first of currently 7 players to win both the Junior and Senior Championships in the same year.
1939 he beat Bill Barlow in the Men’s Final
1947 he won the Men’s title again.
Vernon and Bill played in many doubles matches at County level and above. Sadly no records.
Vernon won the Mixed Doubles with Marjorie Naylor who was to become Mrs. Peatfield. 1948 Vernon and Marjorie lost the mixed doubles.
Vernon & Marjorie moved to Northampton in the 1950's as Vernon's work took him there - he was an accountant for British Rail. They moved to Derby after 8 years in Northampton and spent 25 years living in Derby before moving to Australia in 1987.
Australia was not there first choice, America was but they could not get a Visa. They wanted to go somewhere warm so it would improve Vernon's lung condition and improve his quality of life. It did indeed improve his quality of life and Vernon & Marjorie had many happy years in Australia before Vernon passed away in 2005.
Marjorie Peatfield is alive and well, 90 years old, sharp as a tack with a great memory and only gave up playing table tennis herself just 4 years ago. Both Simon and Keith have had telephone conversations with Marjorie who is going to see if she can find a photograph of Vernon and Bill to send to us.