Waterside TTC’s involvement in Ping! Hampshire in July and August was a great success in bringing outdoor table tennis to the people of the Waterside. Tables at Hythe and at Lepe beach have been well used by a great variety of locals and visitors.
HYTHE HIGH STREET
The launch was on a very wet Saturday. Christos Hannides and Glenn Wilshere did their version of Ping!ing in the Rain. We had a quite a few participants having a go in between the showers. Further Saturday Exhibitions followed by ‘Come and Play’ sessions were a great success, thanks to Brian, Trevor, Jonathan, Jeff, Peter, Albert and Tony for being present.
Initially we followed the Ping! ‘ rules’ and left the bats and balls out overnight, but the late night visitors soon depleted the stock. So we came to an arrangement with Costa Coffe, that they would take in the bats and balls at the end of the day and put things out the following morning. Well done ‘Costa’ – you were brilliant!
A great variety of people took part over the weeks. One of our past table tennis legends, Peter Thorne, who was passing by – picked up a bat for the first time in many years. On another occasion, Local Councillor Brenda Smith showed off her TT skills and was a great supporter of our cause.
The table that was installed at Lepe Beach, next to the café, has been a resounding success. When the official Ping! Hampshire project ended, they asked us if the table could stay there a little longer. In fact it will probably stay there until the end of their summer season, the end of October.
Every time I have been down to Lepe the table has been in constant use – by young and old. Debbie and the café staff have really supported the project, they have put the table out at the start of every day (weather permitting) and taken it in at night. They would really like to keep the table permanently.
HARBOUR LIGHTS SOUTHAMPTON
We were asked to provide a table at the Harbour Lights Cinema for the duration of the screening of the documentary film PING PONG. This was about the over 80’s world championships in Outer Mongolia! John, Colin, Shaun, Ian and Jon B attended the first night and then hit some balls afterwards. Two tables squeezed in between pillars and plate glass windows were quite a challenge to play on. It was a very enjoyable evening and we took the opportunity to advertise our club. As a result of this we did get some new members who went along to see the film.
As soon as our Waterside tables were up and running we decided that on Thursday 26th July that we would investigate and play on the rest of the Ping! Hampshire tables. This is what we found:
Jonathan, John and Colin went first to New Milton. The tables were situated in the corner of a large recreation ground. No one was about, but the bats and balls were still there. One of the tables legs had been bent as people had probably been jumping up and down on it. The location was a pleasant spot, but if the original location in the shopping centre had been allowed then I’m sure more would have played.
Abbey Gardens Winchester
We then went to Winchester and met Cameron who gave us a tour of the locations. At the Abbey Gardens the bats and balls were all in place and there were a lot of youngsters playing. They were quite young as it was situated in a play park with swings etc…
In the grounds outside the Cathedral the two tables there were in constant use. It was a great spot, there was a variety of adults playing here.
The table in the street location outside ‘Shakeaways’ was being used, but this was more of a side street than the original choice in the main part of the precinct.
Riverside Leisure Centre
This was the most disappointing location of all, it was stuck in a remote corner of a play park, well away from the Leisure Centre. No bats or balls available, staff didn’t seem to know much about it.
Tony Huggett, James and William Stevens had a long day covering the table in Eastleigh. Tables at the Fleming Park Youth Centre proved difficult to find and perhaps the maps provided by Ping! did not help.