Table tennis league aims to attract new players

Marcus Hookham has been involved with Castleford, Pontefract and District Table Tennnis League for more than 70 years.
Marcus Hookham has been involved with Castleford, Pontefract and District Table Tennnis League for more than 70 years.

Veteran table tennis player Marcus Hookham hopes more people will join the local league.

Marcus, who is in his 83rd year, was presented with the Cliff Darley Trophy for service to the Castleford, Pontefracxt and District Table Tennis League at their recent awards night.

He will continue to play in the league as Knottingley B team captain but he is standing down as league chairman and committee member.

He has been involved in the administration of the league and playing table tennis for more than 70 years.

He started playing at the age of 12 years at Micklegate Methodist Youth Club, Pontefract, with other local youths.

Shortly afterwards, he joined the local league with Pontefract TT Club, based at Halfpenny Lane (now the CISWO Centre).

Pontefract was a thriving club in those days with seven teams in the league’s three divisions, each with eight teams.

National Service took Marcus away for a couple of years and on his return he found that interest had waned and the Pontefract club no longer existed.

He returned to table tennis and immersed himself in the sport and its administration.

Together with others who shared his interest and enjoyment, he assisted in rebuilding local interest, so much so that table tennis venues sprung up virtually everywhere in local factories, businesses and other work places including fire stations, police stations and post offices, and many other occupations and walks of life, including doctors and solicitors.

They all had a common interest in the sport, the fitness that it maintained, the pleasure it gave to those participants, and the friendships that sprung up some of which have continued ever since.

In recent years, however, players have left the sport at local level for a number of reasons, in the main when factory and other work venues have closed, together with the lack of local authority venues.

The sport has been reduced to one division of only eight teams.

Three venues currently support the league, YMCA at Castleford, Ferrybridge C Power Station and Knottingley Sports Centre, with an additional one hopefully to be added next season at Hemsorth Sports Centre.

Marcus has launched an invitation, which the league wholeheartedly supports, to anyone who wishes to engage in his favourite and lifelong sporting pastime of table tennis and to enjoy a degree of fitness, agility, competitiveness and friendship, hopefully for as long as he has.

The invitation extends to anyone interested in playing, of any age, gender or experience. They can contact league officials via the league’s website at www.tabletennis365.com/castlefordandpontefract or league press secretary Dennis Shaw at d.shawcpanddtabletennis league@hotmail.com or league secretary Nigel Brook at Nigelandanne.brook@gmail.com or telephone 01924 254263. Every attempt will be made to match those making contact with a club venue near to their location, when further details will be given of club captains.