Blast from the past 20 years ago 1997 Wellington Autumn A Grade remembered
by Malcolm Wong
In 1997 there were 8 Teams in the February-April competition. A round robin was followed by 3 knockout rounds to determine the winner. Onslow A (Greg Smith, Stuart Cordue, John Cordue) were top after the round robin and they made the final. Te Rama, 4th after the round robin, hit form to beat Titan A 9-2 and Titan B 11-0 to make the final. A close final was expected. However Te Rama (Malcolm Wong. Bob Bell, Matthew Hobbs) beat Onslow A 9-2. Malcolm Wong won all his 3 singles for Te Rama, continuing his good recent form where he had won his last 12 singles. Greg Smith won 2 singles for Onslow A
Malcolm Wong has been in 4 Te Rama winning interclub teams. 1986 C Grade (with Brian Hearfield, Jeff Larsen, Olaf Leijon), 1989 B Grade (with Brian Hearfield, Henry Anastasi), 1991 A Reserve Grade (with Martin Young, David Robinson) and 1993 A Reserve Grade (with Martin Young, Brian Neale). Martin Young was in the following Ling Tse winning Teams. 1986 C2 Grade (With Lewis Young, Kee Yee) and 1988 C Grade, Division 1 (with Martin Gee, Chuah, Glen Douglas). Bob Bell had been the following winning Newlands A Reserve Grade Teams. 1986 (with Brian Neale, Kaz Witko, Chas Wong), 1989 (with Adrian Sutton, Pam Sutton, Brian Neale) and 1992 (with Ray Hardy, Brian Neale, Kerry Duggan, Ross Fisher). Matthew Hobbs was in the winning 1992 C Grade Titan B Team (with Mike Winsborough, Geoffry Hobbs). Malcolm Wong (12) and Martin Young (18) were Te Rama Club Singles Champion. Malcolm had also won the 1995 Titan Club Singles. Bob Bell was the Newlands Club Singles Champion (1995). Bob (2011) and Matthew Hobbs (2012) would win the Onslow Club Singles.
Onslow A’s top player was Greg Smith, who was in the NZ Under 17 Boy’s Team to Australia (1995 &1996). His Wanganui City College Team won the NZ Secondary
Schools Open Teams Championship in 1995 (with Ben Chapman and James Chapman) &
1996 (with James Chapman and Michael Purvis). In 1996 his Gonville 2 Team (with Jonathan Spring and Larn Sweeney) finished 2nd in the Wanganui A Grade (2 person teams) Interclub behind Wanganui East 1 (Lee Mummery, Jared Smith, Nelson Tizard). He was the top ranked Wanganui Junior Boy and 3rd on the Men’s list, behind Shane Wilson and his brother Jared (Top ranked Man). Stuart Cordue was a former ranked Wellington Junior Boy (4th in 1974) and the father of John. He was in the winning 1974 A Reserve Grade team with Onslow B (with Lloyd Richards, Murray Bordignon, Ruth Futter). John Cordue (1996 NZ Under 14 Boys Rep) would be the Onslow Club Singles Champion in 1999 and 2000. He won the 2009 South Island Men’s Singles. John would become a future NZ Men’s Representative, playing in the World Championships (2005, 2009-2014) and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. At this years World Masters Games Table Tennis, John won the Over 30 Men’s Singles and was in the winning Over 30 Men’s Team with Simon Wallace. He was also runner up in the Over 30 Men’s Doubles with Chen Rong.
New players to Wellington were Kel and Marilyn Smith, the parents of Greg, who had moved from Wanganui. Aroha Tam (1993 NZ U14 Girls, 1994 NZ U15 Girls and 1996 NZ U20 Women) had moved from Dunedin. Liam Orange travelled from the Wairarapa with his grandparents Des and Rose Orange.
7 players (Martin Young, Matthew Hobbs, David Buckrell, Bryan McConnochie, Phillip McConnochie, Win Nguyen, Andrew Budden) were still playing Wellington interclub in 2017.
1997 Autumn A Grade
Place Team 1 Te Rama (Malcolm Wong, Martin Young, Bob Bell, Matthew Hobbs) 2 Onslow A (Greg Smith, Stuart Cordue, John Cordue) 3 Titan B (Jake Yang, David Buckrell, Alvin Wong) 4 Onslow E (Kel Smith, Marilyn Smith, Aroha Tam) 5 Onslow B (Bryan McConnochie, Phillip McConnochie, Blair Duckett) 6 Titan A (Win Nguyen, Geoff Fletcher, Alan Cliffin) 7 Onslow C (Paul Escott, Liam Orange, Steve Dunn) 8 Onslow D (Mark Freeman, Andrew Budden, Cameron Gordon)
Place Wins Games % 1 Jake Yang 17 18 94 2 Greg Smith 27 29 93 3 Win Nguyen 25 29 86 4 Bryan McConnochie 20 27 74 5 Martin Young 18 25 72