Keith was a true gent

by Brian Croasdale

Keith Ponting, who has died, was president and National League chairman of the English Table Tennis Association.

One of the true characters of the game, I got to know him through his involvement in the Senior British League of which the Whitworth Academy are part. I only spoke to him just a few weeks ago and regarded him as a firm but a fair and just man.

Our condolences and thoughts obviously go to his family, with best wishes from the Whitworth Academy squad, who will observe a minute’s silence when they resume training.

I never get tired of watching table tennis because of the very different characters involved in the sport and leaders of the Cromford Summer League Burtons are no exception.

They seem to take everything they are put up against in their stride and still manage to come out on top. This week was no exception as they beat Balls of Fury 5-0. Steven Cooke and Steve Molyneux did manage to win a game each but that was the sum total of their success.

The May B’s seem to be finding life a little bit tougher as they lost again, this week to the yougsters of the Crow Kings 1-4. Three matches, six sets and four wins is the record of young Lucas King (two) and who knows how far this lad can go.

He may have to quell the internal voice that says doing well in the Cromford Summer League is sufficient and perhaps play in the Matlock Winter League next season to confirm his progress.

The Mikes, one point behind the Burtons in second place, continue to nearly match them for results. This week, represented by Mick Padley and Stuart Morris, they beat Cavaliers 5-0.

Mick has a marvellous fluency to his play that makes him compulsive to watch. Backed up by veteran Stuart, these two are going to take some beating and, talking to Ian Dunsmore after the match, he regards Stuart as “an awkward person to play against as he returns everything on both wings”.

Whitey’s were on the wrong end of a 5-0 drubbing. That is now three matches played, all lost by the maximimum score, although they have played some class teams. This week it was the Young Guns that inflicted the damage with father and son Tim and Jon Denby in ruthless form.

Pat Thorley, Matlock’s Level 2 ETTA coach, is taking a course especially for ladies at the Whitworth Academy this Friday. Her aim is to improve and develop the number of female players taking up the sport, so if you are interested then get yourself down there. Proceedings begin at 7.30pm.

Keith Ponting had both personality and energy to burn and he will be long remembered. Never a truer gentleman has been seen.