March 1st, 2023Table tennis for life
Words & image: Tony Sawrey
IT IS comfortable to assume that local sporting clubs are a permanent
part of the fabric of any town. As if they have been there since the
beginning and will never disappear.
However the social disruptions caused by Covid over the past few years has seen
many community organisations fall by the wayside. Daylesford has been no exception
with several sporting clubs closing their doors.
However the Daylesford Table Tennis Association has proved to be an exception.
It continues to have regular social and competition gatherings as it has always done
since the 1950s.
“Cricket, basketball and squash have all folded,” says club president Monty
Osewald. “It has been tough the last few years but we have survived.”
The club is located in Victoria Park in a shed built by members in 1985. It has six
tables and holds regular sessions servicing the table tennis needs of over 30 people of
all ages and genders. Though that number is down slightly from the 40 or more who
used to duke it out in the ’50s it is still an impressive number of players.
“We take all comers and our members range in age from teenagers to over 60s,”
“People can be a little isolated out in the countryside at times but our club is a
great place to meet and socialise, even over the winter months.”
Table tennis first emerged in the middle of the 19th century in Victorian England
and due to its compact indoor layout, it is now enjoyed worldwide and even became
an Olympic sport in 1988. And because beginners can engage with the game almost
straight away it has become a common recreational pastime among players of all ages.
At the Daylesford club the oldest player is Ron Hewson who says; “Table tennis is
a game you can play all your life.”
Another senior player is Jane Bradfield who came to the sport seven years ago. “It
is dead easy,” she says, “and I got into it through U3A. I was a horse rider previously. I
have coaching every week and there is a lot to learn.
“The most important technique is brushing up on the ball, you don’t just whack
it; it is all art. I mostly play doubles, simply and purely because I’m not a chicken
anymore and you have more time between the shots.”
As Jane mentioned, the association has initiated a professional coaching program
for players of all levels to improve their game skills, which commenced early February
and is running for five weeks. It was made possible by a Hepburn Shire Community
Sporting Grant and costs only $1 per session. And there are more opportunities to
“We are currently setting up a program in the second school term (early May) for
12- to 18-year-olds,” says Monty, “where we will have the participants bussed down
here to play and get coaching.”
If you are keen to have a go at table tennis, social play takes place every
Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 10am to 12 noon with a competition evening
held every Wednesday from 7.30 pm to 9.30pm. Annual membership is $100
otherwise the walk-in cost is $3 per session. For more information or membership
queries contact Monty on 0448 667 738,