HISTORY OF MORETON TABLE TENNIS CLUB

The club is formed
Moreton Table Tennis Club was established during the summer of 2000 under the name of North Moreton Table Tennis Club. Several factors combined to make the setting up of a club timely. The ESSO Tigers (Milton Hill) Table Tennis Club, whose players included North Moreton parishioner Roger Haycock, was looking to relocate following the closure of the ESSO Sports and Social Club at Milton Hill at the end of the 1999/2000 season. Its Table Tennis Club had funds it wished to dispose of to support good table tennis causes and a table tennis table to give away. South Moreton School had a table that it had obtained from the Didcot & District TTA for school coaching which had been carried out by another parishioner, Roger Templeman for some years. However, the school suffering from lack of storage room, brought on by its success in attracting more pupils was happy to see the table go on a loan basis. Another factor was that the North Moreton village hall had recently been refurbished after previous fire damage, and its owners, the Parochial Church Council, were promoting its use for village activities. An old table tennis table was kept at the hall.

Roger Templeman was then Vice Chairman of DDTTA and playing for Sutton Courtenay TTC in the DDTTA league. He was keen to expand table tennis in the Didcot district and to provide a sporting facility in the Moreton villages. During July 2000, the two Rogers discussed possibilities of setting up a village club. They consulted with Keith Hutchence, the Chairman of North Moreton Parish Council, to explore use of North Moreton Village Hall as a venue and the possibility of financial support from the PC. As a result of these discussions and the interest expressed by another parishioner, Bob Price, the North Moreton Table Tennis Club was formed at an inaugural meeting on 4 September 2000. Bob was appointed Chairman, Roger T Secretary and Roger H Treasurer. Club rules were written. A bank account with Barclays Bank was opened on 21 September.

The 2000-2001 Season
The first session of the club was held on 18 September 2000 by which time the ex-ESSO and South Moreton School tables had been acquired. Those playing were Bob and James Price, Roger Haycock, Marion Shipton, and Roger and Sam Templeman. In the following weeks more villagers and pupils form South Moreton School attended sessions. In mid October a donation of £300, which ensured the club's financial viability, was received from the ESSO club via its treasurer, Malcolm Guthrie. Coaching continued with help from the DDTTA Coaching Secretary, Keith Walton, and several juniors attained Dunlop Skills Awards at Rookie level.
Although NMTTC did not enter a team in the DDTTA league for the 2000/1 season, it affiliated to DDTTA. Some friendly matches were arranged with teams of novice players from the BRSA and Abingdon clubs. On 14 December the first DDTTA match was staged in North Moreton: a Handicap Shield match between Sutton G and NPD C. During the 2000/1 DDTTA season Roger T continued to play with Sutton and was a member of the team that won the Division 1 championship. Roger H and his former ESSO team-mates became a team within the Letcombe TTC, playing in Division 3.

The 2001-2002 Season: A start in the Didcot League
North Moreton entered a team in DDTTA Division 4 in 2001/2. The registered players were Richard Redding (the captain), Bob and James Price, and Nick Redding, all new to the league. They were joined by the experienced Bert Butterfield, formerly of the Hagbourne club. The first league match was at home to RAL E on 20 September 2001. The team of Richard Redding, and Bob and James Price achieved a 5-5 draw. 4 days later the team won 6-4 away at Drayton F. An undefeated run of 8 games was completed before a 10-0 defeat at Wallingford on 26 November. Paul Cheong, an experienced player who had recently moved to Didcot, was recruited to strengthen the team. The team finished close runners-up to champions Wallingford, with Paul winning all 12 games he played. The other adults finished with similar records to each other: Bert 64% (23/36), Bob 61% (31/51) and Richard 60% (34/57). In the handicap competitions the team showed its inexperience: the first game in the Handicap Shield was lost 7-2 at Division 2 Howbery A. The club got a bye into the quarter final of the Bidmead Cup, a game they lost 9-0 to Howbery.

The 2002-2003 Season.
At the 2002 AGM, the club decided to adopt the name Moreton Table Tennis Club, and to transfer to a hall being built at South Moreton School (SMS). The North Moreton Village Hall was only big enough for one league match, the floor tended to be slippery and there was the inconvenience of having to store the tables on the elevated stage between sessions. Moreton entered two teams in the DDTTA 2002/3 league: Moreton A in Division 3, and Moreton B in Division 4. The A team comprised Paul Cheong, Bob Price, Richard Redding and Roger Templeman (transferred from Sutton), and two appearances by Bob Templeman. Moreton B was the juniors Joe Cheong, James Goldsby-West, Nick Redding and James Price. Roger Haycock remained playing for Letcombe.
 
As the SMS hall was not completed on schedule, games were played at North Moreton until 25 November 2002 when Moreton B lost 9-0 to Drayton C in a pool round match of the Handicap Shield. The two good tables were transferred to SMS on 1 December. The first match there was another Handicap Shield group match defeat: this time of the A team by 5-4 to Drayton A of Division 1. In the league, Division 3 was won by Abingdon E, but the A team finished third just behind RAL D. Paul Cheong finished with the second best individual record in the division winning 84% (43/51) of his games and Roger Templeman eighth with 77% (37/48). The B team finished 8th out of 11 teams, but it was a year of improvement for the youngsters. Joe Cheong finished on 47% (24/51) and Nick Redding on 43% (23/54). Moreton A recovered from their initial Handicap match reverse to win their other two group matches (7-2 against Sutton D, 6-3 against Drayton D) and so progressed to the knockout stages. In the first knockout round they beat Abingdon D 7-2, then Drayton C 6-3 in the semi-final. The Shield was secured in the final with a 6-2 victory over Sutton E. The victorious team was Richard Redding, Paul Cheong and Bob Price. The club also had a good run in the Bidmead Cup, winning in the first round 9-0 against Grove, the quarter final 6-0 against RAL before losing 4-5 to Crown in the semi-final. During the season Paul Cheong qualified as a Level 2 ETTA coach, and in January 2003, the club acquired a third table, a gift from Didcot Power Station.

The 2003-2004 Season
At the 2003 AGM, Paul Cheong took over as Treasurer from Roger Haycock. It was decided to enter 3 teams in the DDTTA league for the 2003/4 season. These were an A team in Division 3 composed of Paul Cheong, Roger Templeman, and Ian Royle (transferred on loan from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory). The principal players for the two Division 4 teams were: B team - Mike Dawes (from Sutton), Richard Smith, and James Goldsby-West; C team – Bob Price, Roger Haycock, Joe Cheong and Jamie Thompson. Junior coaching sessions were set up for pupils at SMS and Nicholas Leeks, who nominated table tennis as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award. Joe Cheong gained recognition as part of the Southern Region Junior Squad and represented DDTTA in the national Carter Cup competition. It proved to be a successful league season. Moreton A comfortably won Division 3 with Paul Cheong finishing as best player in the Division with a 92%(47/51) record, and Roger Templeman returning 75%. Moreton C won Division 4 with Joe Cheong the Division's best player on 94% (51/54) and Bob Price on 77% (30/39). Moreton B came second with Richard Smith winning 86% (44/51). More success came Joe Cheong's way in the DDTTA Closed Championships: he won both the Cadet and Junior championships, and beat Roger Templeman in the final of the Senior Handicap. The club purchased a new table, giving it four.

The 2004-2005 Season
It was decided to enter 4 teams in the DDTTA league, with the three promoted teams all going up one division, and a new Division 4 team being formed. The decision was a bit of a gamble as far as the division 3 teams was concerned: Joe Cheong was promoted into the Division 2 team joining Paul Cheong and Roger Templeman and replacing Ian Royle who was reclaimed by RAL; Mike Dawes elected to stay in Division 4 and captain Moreton D. However player shortage was relieved when Tim Raby joined the C team having previously played in the Reading league: the others in C were Richard Redding, Bob Price and Roger Haycock. The B team was Richard Smith, Nick Redding and James Goldsby-West. Nathan and Jessica Cheong signed on for the D team and played the first match at Abingdon with an unregistered Sam Templeman. It was a tough baptism and they lost 10-0. Cameron Bowen, Andy Cook and Luke Sherratt then joined the D team from Wallingford and the team fared better. In December Cameron was promoted to the C team as Tim went travelling and Tak-Wa Yau signed on for D. The A team swiftly established itself in 3rd position in Division 2 despite poor form from Roger Templeman who was allowed to re-register for Moreton B in February as James Goldsby-West was given a chance to develop in the A team. An additional table was purchased leaving the club with five tables.

Junior coaching continued and Paul set up an Advanced Coaching group with weekly sessions with Joe Cheong, Nick Redding, Cameron Bowen and James Goldsby-West. These members, with the exception of Cameron due to his age, combined together with Sutton’s Paul Oakley to form a National Cadet team playing at Chesham. The team finished a creditable 4th place in the competition, remaining in the top division throughout the 4 weekends play.

Conclusion to the 2004/2005 season will appear here shortly.