Chippenham D 3-7 Key Centre B
Bath & District Div 2
Table tennis games rarely get much of a write up but this game encapsulates why I play in a local table tennis league.
Chippenham for me has always been a rival town for Bath since the football derby games in the early 2000s. The passion and excitement of these games as a teenager was infectious with comments flying around on internet forums and MSN (before facebook & twitter). There have been some classic goals and dramatic moments which really got me hooked on sport in general.
So when the captain told me I’d be involved with this game I couldn’t wait. We have a large squad for a 3 man team with 6 of us competing for a place each week in a very short season. Looking at the league table it looked like it was a great opportunity to add to our win percentage.
Chippenham were sitting in 9th place in a 10 team league, whilst we are ‘flying high’ in 4th place. Chippenham did have one decent player who had been keeping their points tally ticking over in James Wheeler. Wheeler again added 3 points for the hosts with his strong serves which threw all of us off; despite trying to figure out various different ways in dealing with it.
The doubles was also a close affair going to 5 sets but by not forcing the smash in the last set we managed to win the final set comfortably.
However it wasn’t the table tennis that was the main reason for writing this article. 3 images stuck out from that night which is something you don’t experience everyday. It’s moments like this when you travel 20 plus miles on a cold Tuesday night in December to play a minor British sport.
This first picture was on a display board in the village hall we were playing in. It was on a WW2 display looking at the part local people played at home and abroad. There is an enormous sense of local pride here in the West Country and it was great to read about local history whilst waiting for your next game.
Table Tennis England would probably recommend buying official dividers to stop balls going under pianos or chairs. To be fair they probably couldn’t imagine playing in a cramped village hall in the first place! However Chippenham used a very effective bit of card board that their table came in to stop the balls going under 50 or so children’s chairs.
I’m still undecided on whether the picture looks like Steve Claridge or not? You decide…
The final picture of the night is this lovely sign in the local pub. It’s these quirky things that makes you remember a trip out to a country pub and this particular pub had everything! Bar stalls made in the shape of giant hands, never ending back rooms, doors that lead to nowhere, friendly live in dogs and helpful bar staff.
A big thank you to Chippenham Table Tennis club for hosting this rearranged fixture so close to Christmas and for their hospitality. It was great to see most of them in the pub after the game for a Christmas pint, already looking forward to the home fixture next year.
So if you get a chance to play sport for a local team, whatever sport it may be, make sure you get involved. You’ll enjoy the competitive nature, good humour and you may even take in a few sites.
Much better than just watching sports on TV….