1981…

After a number of years of discussion for a stronger interclub competition, The Wellington and Hutt Valley Associations reached agreement to have a combined Premier Grade. The top 4 teams from each association were placed in the Premier 1 Grade and the next 4 teams into the Premier 2 Grade. Matches were played at the Newtown Stadium (Wellington) and the Empire Club (Petone).

The Premier 1 Grade was won by Empire, undefeated with 13 wins and one draw, who were 6 points clear off runner up Onslow. This was despite Onslow having the top 2 players in the singles averages, Peter Miller and Lloyd Richards. Lindsay Ward is the only player from Premier 1 still playing interclub today. Current Table Tennis Wellington Life Member and committee member Bruce Northover played for Waterloo B.

Premier 2 was won by Empire A. After the final Round Titan had 22 points and 110 Matches. Empire A had 20 points and 111 matches. Under the then rules, as Empire A had won the most matches, a playoff was necessary against Titan. Unfortunately for Titan their top player Murray Coppen was unavailable and Empire won easily. Tony Rutledge is the only player from Premier 2 still playing interclub today. Tony Radford (Johnsonville) was a future NZ Men’s Representative.

The result summary and singles averages are here: Premier 1 and Premier 2.

-Malcolm Wong

Thanks to the Empire club for these photos:

1981 Premier 1 winners Empire (Hone Ridley, Pat Low, Anthony Arraj)
1981 Premier 1 winners Empire (Hone Ridley, Pat Low, Anthony Arraj)

1981 Premier 2 Winners Empire A (John Lelliott, Chris Clegg, Tony Rutledge)
1981 Premier 2 Winners Empire A (John Lelliott, Chris Clegg, Tony Rutledge)

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