There has always been a pattern with families doing it together for Welsh Table Tennis. Brothers, sisters, brothers and sisters, yes all those combinations and more.
Go back to the nineties where Wrexham brothers Paul & Adam Robertson were both Welsh Champions in the cadet categories. Adam went on to lift the Men’s titles in the current era 5 times and win Commonwealth medals for the men’s team. Another former Welsh champion Steve Ward was started by his father Roy in Newport.
Don’t forget the Davies sisters; yes that’s right four sisters in one generation. Meinir, Delyth, Siwan and Iona who all represented Wales at some point, with most of them playing at the World Championships in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. They owe parents Ron & Marian for paying out for their careers.
Other former and current board members to bring their children into table tennis is Phil Avery with Ben, Charlotte & David. Steve Heydon with son Tommy. Neil & Leslie O’Connell with sons Alex and Dan (former National Champion). Neil is still full involved with Ael y Bryn TTC.
More recently the Evans brothers are the main attraction for the current crop where Callum (current men’s champion) and brother Louie (current cadet champion) have also combined in the men’s doubles. There are also other examples such as David & Naomi Owen, Dave & Steve Buck, Nathan & Liam Thomas, Marc & Vicky Morrissey, Martin and Andrew Hopwood and twins Ben & Matthew Pearce.
Some other prolific family members who have played for Wales at Commonwealth Games would be Angharad & Megan Phillips, Patrick & Chloe Thomas and Ryan & Stephen Jenkins. All players mentioned would have competed either at the Manchester Games in 2002, Melbourne in 2006, Delhi in 2010, Glasgow in 2014 or Gold Coast in 2018. The Jenkins family also introduced Jac (Ryan’s son) & Soffi (niece) to the game to continue the legacy. All the Jenkins players must thank Norman (who runs Rhondda TTC) for starting the journey.
Another parent and child combo such as Judith Whitton (ex-Welsh National team player) and daughter Lara (who represented Wales in India this July). Don’t forget our officials as International umpire Jackie Williams would often take son Geraint to his competitions just as Barry Robertson did with Paul & Adam. Lowri Hurd is playing due to mum Natasha (Another Welsh champion) involvement.
Then you have the players who were introduced by their playing family members. Charlotte Carey often acknowledges that her grandfather was the source of her career. Larry Hursey is the force behind Anna. Paul Bamsey (Penlan Head Coach) made sure both Kallum & Grace held a bat too.
Others to mention are Simon & Ryan Oyler, Kevin & Stephen Gertsen, Wayne & Claire Ford, Dave & Cade Short, Beth Roberts & Jordan Price, Greg & Laura Price, Josh & Lauren Stacey, Harold & Julie Furber and what about the Allen’s! Dave, Jonathan & Ben all play still.
Then we look to the future with family members such as Evan & Elis O’Connor, Adam & Amelie David, Ruby & Lily Elliott, Piotr & Suzanna Wlodarczywk, Jack & Harri Palfrey and Bethan & Seren Jones, who will be the next?
Table Tennis, A sport for all for life. It’s also a sport for the family.