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LADIES LEAGUE THRIVING

The Halifax and District Table Tennis Association have become pioneers this season
with the introduction of a 5 team ladies league who have been playing regular weekly
matches since September and it is the brain child of founder and keen player Helen
Smith.

After 27 years in Belgium working by day and playing squash and tennis the rest of the time
Helen arrived back in Halifax in 2011, the place of her birth, to look for new ventures.
One of her first outings was to the Halifax Table Tennis Club where she was immediately
hooked and having played as a youngster with brothers and sisters mostly for fun she soon
found her competitive edge and wanted to improve and win!


Helen was recruited to play in the third division and rose to the challenge since she had played
league squash for many years and was one of the top ten lady players in Belgium. But the
third division is mainly male dominated and she became a little disillusioned.

She was struggling to win any of my games and wondering whether turning out on a winters
night and having no chance of winning was the best use of my time but she was hooked on
the game!


After a conversation with Alan Dickinson regarding a ladies division and with his support, she
got the bit between my teeth and started recruiting for a lady players. Many of her tennis
partners were keen to give it a go and with notices in local supermarkets we soon had enough
ladies to field five teams by September. A ladies league was formed!

The ladies league is through the first half season and it has been very successful. There is a
certain amount of rivalry between the teams, Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubies, Aquamarines and
Amethysts but on the whole they are all friendly and supportive to each other.
One of the most amazing things is the improvement all the players have all made. This is
partly through playing more regularly but it is also due to the commitment Alan Dickinson has
made towards their training. The ladies have had several training sessions to date...the last
being their Christmas training last Saturday when 14 ladies turned up to be coached in a fun,
friendly but informative manner. They consider themselves so lucky to have Alan as their
coach as he understands every one of their foibles and is able to keep them focused on what
they need to do to improve.
Two of the lady players travel from Barnsley to play league games and there are also a couple
of complete beginners.

The aim of the ladies league is to build on this impressive start and possibly increase the
number of teams to seven or eight next season and Helen would like to appeal to all would be
lady table tennis players to come on board. ( it has been proven that Table Tennis keeps the
mind active and stems the onset of dementia!).


Helens other role is as a Social Convenor at Queens Sports Club, Halifax she has now
initiated Table Tennis as a competitive sport at the club and currently they have 20 plus
players on a singles ladder and at least 7 doubles partners on the doubles ladder.
Table Tennis is alive and well and if anyone is interested in playing or would like any further
information please contact Helen Smith on graysmithhc@gmail.com

Helen is seen in the photograph along with Halifax head coach Alan Dickinson
and the rest of the ladies league players at their Christmas coaching session

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