Week 29 – Saturday 15 December to Friday 21 December 2012
About twelve months ago I lost the inaugural and very much unofficial Williamstown over 50s table-tennis championship to my mate Walter.
You won’t find this game in any record books but it was played on a very hot summer’s night on centre court at the Williamstown and Newport Anglers Club and Fish Preservation Society. Walter won the best of seven/up to 21 points championship by four games to two. We both played bare-chested, given the heat, but my tactical decision to play barefoot on the floorboards was somewhat of a blunder. Each time Walter won a point during our epic match I felt the blisters on the balls of my feet. I had never lost to Walter barefoot in other games, but those games were on soft grass, in Walter’s backyard, between the tomato plants and the hydrangeas.
After the match Walter walked triumphantly to the crowded beach for a dip, while I hobbled on my heels to the healing water.
Official table-tennis matches in Williamstown used to be played in the Empress Theatre, about 100 metres from the beach in Garden St. The theatre is now home to the Williamstown Italian Social Club.I wonder if there are any table-tennis tables there. One man who’d probably know is Williamstown’s walking (well, running) encylopaedia of local sport, Geoff van Wyngaaden, husband of Willy Dolphin swimmer Karen.
I recently challenged my mate Walter to a table-tennis re-match but he is stalling, claiming he needs to recover from breaking his ankle after coming a cropper on his push-bike. Just because he has to use a moon-boot and crutches to get around at the moment.
Lately Walter’s been hobbling into the water at about six o’clock in the morning. It’s been good to have company on the way to and from the beach and then in the water. One of these days we may resume our table-tennis rivalry. If it’s on bareboards I won’t be playing barefoot.
Next week: 365 Swims has dips at Queenscliff, Jawbone, Williamstown and at beaches along the Great Ocean Road.