Ayrshire Table Tennis League makes return after three decades

After a break of more than 30 years, Ayrshire has its own table tennis league once again.

The action got underway in Dunlop last week with 19 teams and around 60 registered players taking part in the inaugural campaign.

While there’s been plenty of table tennis clubs in the county, it hasn’t had its own league for three decades with teams competing in the West of Scotland Table Tennis League.

But for those new to the game, or just wishing to play more locally, there’s now an alternative as the Ayrshire Table Tennis League was launched.

Speaking to the Standard, chairman Martin Oestmann explained the thinking behind setting up the league and hailed its early success.

He commented: “There hasn’t been a local Ayrshire league for over 30 years. A few times people had tried and for whatever reason it didn’t work out. Maybe this time we just pushed a little bit harder.

“We want to bring people together and as much as it’s a competitive league there’s also a big social aspect.

“We’ve got three leagues with a total of 19 teams and around 60 registered players so we’re delighted with how well it’s been received and how quickly we were able to get it all up and running.

“There is a West of Scotland League and some Ayrshire clubs are part of that but we wanted something more locally for players and to try and attract new players to the sport.”

He added: “We have a great committee who have done a lot of hard work. We were delighted with how successful our first night of games was last week and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.

“It’s a summer league with four match nights across the season and we’ll also be running a cup competition as well.”

Oestmann also said that the league are running special sessions for those with Parkinson’s Disease, while there’s also a team of players with the illness competing.

He says it’s important that the league is open to all and explained the benefits of the sport for those with the illness, commenting: “We have Parkinson’s sessions and there’s a team in Division Three who all have Parkinson’s too. There’s a lot of studies about the benefits of sport for people with Parkinson’s and table tennis is good for the physical and cognitive elements of the sport and we often see these players leaving after a session with the biggest smiles on their faces.

“It’s great to see the positive impact that playing table tennis can have for them and it’s inclusion is something really important to our league.”

For more information, visit the Ayrshire Table Tennis League Facebook page here.

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