The History of Watton Table Tennis 2001-2013. As told by David Miller.
When I moved to Watton with my wife Kate in December 2000, I asked about for Table Tennis in the town but there wasn’t any club. After speaking to a few people I was told to speak with Colin Froude, who ran a club in Attleborough. I managed to find him one night at the football ground in Attleborough, in a World War 2 Nissan hut, I won all of my games.
The hut was best described as dirty; It hadn’t been cleaned in years but there was a table tennis table, and about enough room to play, the lighting was poor and the heating was by two Calor gas stoves! I played there for that season. I cleaned up the floor and fitted some shelves, bought a new table, which cost us each £40. I got to know the league chairman David Simpson, and told him that I’d like to open a club in Watton. We got together and found that there was an evening available at the Saham Toney village hall. I managed to get a grant and bought some ex-tournament tables and barriers. Advertising locally got a big response; we had three teams in the bottom division of the Wymondham league. Our membership grew and we needed a larger venue. David Simpson and I went to the Watton Sports centre and were able get 2 nights, Wednesday and Thursday. Advertising again brought in new members and we had enough players for 5 teams. In 2003 I advertised for an over 50s group for the Thursday afternoon; we were flooded with players-25 the first week. This turnout continued for several years, only recently has it fallen away. Looking through the records it is surprising how few of the original players remain.
The main club grew; the next season we had seven teams in the Wymondham league, then eight the following season. Nine teams were the most we have got to so far. I then managed to get some more grants and bought eight better tables that we still have. Over the years the club has obtained some £23,000 in grants.
I ran the club for many years as Colin Froude spends half the year abroad but he still plays when he is back here. Colin remains a close friend. By the way CF on the club badge is due to him.
David Simpson and I have coached at Carbrooke junior school for several years, some of the players from there are still with the club, notable Kevin Dumble and Luke Walker playing in the top division. Some of the lads from the schools seem to find girl friends so their Table Tennis days get curtailed.
Another pair of good players were the Mahatme brothers but they have moved on to University and changed sports. Dr Mahatme is still the club Chairman.
I am often spoken to in the street by lads from the Carbrooke school days, unfortunately their faces are familiar but not the names.
Watton TTC has steadily risen and is now the largest club in the Wymondham league; I think we are the only club with three teams in the Premier division.