This week with the National Championships approaching this is a plea to anyone who has any of the programmes and/or results from previous years as a full set is not held in the Archives. If you have any of the missing programmes or results I would be delighted to hear from you.

Any results would be welcome, whether from group stages, earlier rounds or indeed in semi-final matches in some instances. In the earlier days results were fully reported in Table Tennis News and the last few years a full set of results has been kept. It is mainly the middle years that reporting was not comprehensive and at times very sketchy.

If you are going to the National Championships any material can be left at the ticket desk, otherwise I can be contacted on [email protected] It would be brilliant to have a full set of programmes and results.

As the National Championships are starting next Friday there will be no ‘Friday’s Photos’ next week and the following Friday is Good Friday, so I will be back in April.

Missing Programmes

1982, 1983, 1986, 1990, 1995

The Draw


Missing Results

1971: MD
1973: MS, MD, XD
1974: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD.
1975: MS, MD, XD
1976: MS, MD, WS, XD
1977: MS, MD, XD
1978: MS, WS, MD, XD
1979: MS, MD, XD
1986: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, VMS, VWS
1987: MS, MD, WD, XD
1989: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD
1991: MS, WS, MD, XD, VMS, VMD
1993: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, VMS, VWS, VMD, VWD
1994: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, VMS, VWS, VMD, VWD
1995: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, VMS, VWS, VMD, VWD
1996: XD
1997: MS, WS
1998: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21MS, U21WS, VMS
1999: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21MS, U21WS, VMS, VWS, VMD, VWD
2002: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21MS, U21WS, VMS
2003: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21MS, U21WS, VMS
2004: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21WS, VMS, VMD
2005: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21MS, VMS, VWS
2006: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD, U21MS, U21WS, VMS, VMD

As it is the week before the National Championships I thought it may be of interest to see the development of the National Championships programmes and some of the artwork, particularly in more recent years as some of it has been very creative. A brief potted history with some of the people involved is also included.

January 1960

11.03.16 1 1960 NC Prog

The first English National Championships took place in January 1960 and the programme for this was fairly basic, the front cover listed essential details of venue, date etc as well as the officials involved. The draw was a straight knockout with 81 entrants in the Men’s Singles. Bryan Merrett won the first title, England ranked 2, defeating England’s No 1 Ian Harrison in the final. Diane Rowe, No 1 in the Ladies’ ranking beat the emerging Jean McCree, ranked sixth.

You may notice the name of Colin Clemett who was a member of the Championships Committee and jointly in charge of Umpires and Stewards. The Referee was Geoff James.

Price 1/6d

January 1970

11.03.16 2 1970 NC Prog

A change in format and the first year a picture was on the front cover. The Championships this year were sponsored by Coca-Cola. The playing format for the five individual events was still a straight knockout. Denis Neale and Mary Wright were the victors in the two singles events and Tony Chatwin was the Referee.

Price 2/-

April 1975

11.03.16 3 1975 NC Prog

Norwich Union were the sponsors of the National Championships for over 10 years.

In 1975, 126 players entered the Men’s Singles and 36 in the Women’s Singles. The Champions were Denis Neale and Jill Hammersley (Parker) respectively. Len Pilditch was the Referee.

Price Entry 50p adults, children 25p

March 1984

11.03.16 4 1984 NC Prog

Still being sponsored by Norwich Union this was the first time that a player was featured on the front cover. Desmond Douglas and Alison Gordon took the Singles titles. Veterans’ Singles were also in the tournament and were won by husband and wife, Derek and Doreen Schofield. The Championships Committee was chaired by Doreen Stannard, a position she held for many years.

Programme 50p

May 1989

11.03.16 5 1989 NC Prog

Another major sponsor in the form of the Leeds Building Society. Winners were Alan Cooke and Lisa Lomas in the Singles events.

Prize money was £1,000 for the Men’s Singles winner, going down to £60 each for the losing Third Round players. Nearly £6,000 in total.

Added extras in the programme were a crossword puzzle and a space for autographs.

Referee was John Jermyn, Tournament Organiser Harvey Webb and Umpires Control Di Jermyn.

Programme 50p

March 1996

11.03.16 6 1996 NC Prog

A full colour glossy programme featuring Matthew Syed on the front. Alan Cooke took the Men’s Singles title from Carl Prean, Matthew Syed, seeded 1,  did not play through injury. David Edwards was the umpire for the Men’s Singles final. Alison Gordon (Broe) beat Andrea Holt in the Women’s Singles. Prize money was £900 for the Men’s Singles Champion and £575 for the Ladies Champion.

Programme £1.50

March 1997

11.03.16 7 1997 NC prog

Alison Gordon is featured alongside Alan Cooke on the cover. Groups were introduced for the first time. There were 95 men in the group stages plus the 16 seeds who went straight through to the knockout stages. In the Women’s Singles the numbers were significantly less with only 17 ladies in the group stage plus eight seeds. Winners were Matthew Syed and Nicola Deaton.

The Referee was Mick Strode and Organiser Jill Harris.

Programme £1.50

March 1999

11.03.16 8 1999 NC Prog

A more creative cover this year which was a replica of the previous year. Nicola Deaton and Matthew Syed are the two competitors on the front cover. This was the last year that the National Championships were played in Bath before their 15-year run in Sheffield. U21 events were now part of the schedule. Men’s and Women’s Singles winners were Alex Perry and Nicola Deaton.

Mick Strode was the Referee again with Harvey Webb as the Organiser. Doreen Stannard, as well as being National Championships Committee Chairman, was the Umpires Manager in charge of the 20 umpires.

Programme £1.50

March 2005

11.03.16 9 2005 NC Prog

A change in style and size for the programme this year, it also had a loose leaf insert for the draw. Ponds Forge, Sheffield, which almost became the home of the National Championships and is synonymous with them over recent years, was the venue. The two youngsters, Paul Drinkhall and Darius Knight, graced the front cover. Singles Champions were Alan Cooke and Helen Lower.

Stuart Sherlock was the Referee with Graham Rogerson the Organiser and Liz Wilson the Umpires Manager.

Programme £1.50

February 2006

11.03.16 10 2006 NC Prog

An explosive cover and perhaps my favourite.  Alan Cooke and Paul Drinkhall face each other on the cover but never in the competition which was won by Alex Perry, who defeated Andrew Rushton in the final. In the semi-finals Andrew was the first Englishman to beat Alan Cooke in four years. Helen Lower again took the Women’s title.

There were 114 male entries and 41 women in total.

Programme included in ticket price of £4.00 (£2.00 Concession) Saturday and £6.00 (£3.00 Concession) Sunday.

March 2007

11.03.16 11 2007 NC Prog

Another change to the cover with our national flag on the front along with images of Paul Drinkhall, Darius Knight, Kelly Sibley and Alex Perry. Paul Drinkhall won the first of his, to date, four Men’s Singles titles whilst Helen Lower was the Women’s champion for the third time.

A full schedule, with the five main events, along with U21 and Veterans’ events plus an invitation Disabled Singles.

Steve Welch was the Referee and Dave Evans the Organiser.

Programme £1.00.

March 2013

11.03.16 12 2013 NC Prog

The sixth of seven years where the same background was used with an image of a leading player superimposed.

Winners of the two main events were Liam Pitchford and Kelly Sibley, the fourth of her titles.

Steve Welch again took the Referee’s hot seat with Jim Kenny as the Organiser, Margaret Calver was the Umpires Manager.

Programme £2.00.

February/March 2015

11.03.16 13 2015 NC Prog

A new era, a new image and a new venue. A sad farewell was said to Sheffield which had served the Association so well for 15 years.

126 men and 34 ladies entered. Liam Pitchford took his third Men’s Singles title and Kelly Sibley her fifth Women’s Singles.

Programme £3.00, the Draw if sold separately £1.00.

March 2016

What will be in store this year, only the second time our National Championships have had a restricted entry, team events have also been introduced.

Over the 66 years that the National Championships have been running there should be a special mention of two real characters of the game who have the longest history of playing in the Championships.

  • Paul Beck, who first played in 1967. I don’t think anyone who was there can forget the absolute joy on Paul’s face when he took the Veteran Men’s Doubles title in 2013 with Michael O’Driscoll. Paul last entered in 2015.
  • Nigel Eckersley, who first entered in 1970 and was still going strong in 2015, reaching the semi-finals of the Veteran Men’s Singles having been a winner on three previous occasions. Nigel was also twice National Champion in the Mixed Doubles, once with Karen Witt and once with Joy Grundy.

Two remarkable players with two remarkable careers.