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East Lancs Table Tennis League & Hyndburn Table Tennis Centre Update on re-opening July 2020


You may be aware that Sports Centres have been given permission from the Government for a limited re-opening from July 25th but that the majority of centres are having a phased re-introduction of activities. Harry has been in regular contact with the Sports Centre Management about the re-start of table tennis. 

The Committee has been holding meetings on Zoom and this week a small number of the Committee Postholders have had a socially distanced outdoor meeting in my garden to act as a Steering Sub-group. This involved Ged Simpson, Ian Pickles, Harry Rawcliffe, Fred Holden, Martin Ormsby and myself. In preparation for this meeting Harry & Ian met with Joanne, the Sports Centre Manager to discuss preparing a Risk Assessment for the TTC & also an Operational Plan.

It needs to be said that the situation is very complex, with there being a lot of hurdles to jump and measures to be put in place before we are allowed to open the TTC for play. The situation is fluid and things may change very quickly. If there is an outbreak of the virus we may be closed back down immediately.

At the moment they have scheduled a limited start of TT from the middle of August sometime. However this is strictly limited and contingent on us following government guidelines and creating a Covid Secure environment. Harry Rawcliffe has volunteered to be the ELTTL Covid Officer. Whenever we open two Committee members must be present to ensure that Covid guidelines are strictly followed.

If everything goes OK the plan is that at some stage the opening times will expand. Currently we have no indication of when this might be.

Initial arrangements for HTTC

HTTC will probably open at the following times:

Monday    11.00 – 14.00

Thursday  11.00 – 14.00

Friday Evening until 20.00 for Micky Moir’s Junior Coaching only

Saturday  12.00 – 14.30

There may also be the possibility of some Sunday opening during the day

Please note that there will be no evening table tennis sessions available in this initial opening

We will only be allowed to open when we have a table booking system in place. We are currently looking at a system recommended by TTE. This is complicated for us as these systems are designed for clubs with members – as you know ELTTL currently has no such thing and we have a lot of casual members from other leagues who practice at HTTC as well as our own Bat & Chat session players. We have been advised that players must book a session in advance, and cannot just turn up to play. We are currently trying to decide what a session will be.

We must have contact details of those who play in case anyone subsequently tests positive for the virus. We must submit these details for every session to the Sports Centre, who have the responsibility to pass on details to the Government Track & Trace authority. Anyone who plays must agree to inform the Sports Centre if they develop the virus.

There will be various hygiene measures in place such as hand sanitising, cleaning of tables between each session, wearing of face masks when not playing. Full details of these will be given later.

Only 6 tables can be used for play with every table area separated by barriers. There will be no changing of ends and doubles matches are prohibited. There will also be a one way system operating with entry to the centre being through the fire exit and not through the doors by the Office.

The changing rooms will be locked but there will be a toilet available. All towels and drinks must be kept in players bags when not being used.

Notices relating to Covid related rules will be placed around the Centre, along with guidelines for playing safely.. There will be further details about fees for sessions and the handling of cash. Sessions will probably cost £2.00 but further details will follow.

We have been informed by the Sports Centre that people who refuse to follow the Covid Guidelines will not be allowed to use the facilities.

The ELLTL 2020-21 Season

As you can imagine at the moment we are a long way off being able to make plans for next season, if we can in fact have one. You have read the difficulties in operating from HTTC and every centre we use will be going through similar difficulties. We are grateful for Trevor Elkington sharing with the Committee developments at Kay Street Baptist Church TT Centre.

It is difficult to envisage us being able to operate in our usual way. We are seriously considering scrapping the Fred Holden Trophy and other events for next season to concentrate on some kind of League. This probably won’t include any doubles at all. We may look at having a season of two man teams for a shortened season. These are decisions that we are not in a position to take at the minute. We will continue to be advised nationally by TTE and locally through our other partners who operate the buildings that we use to play.

Best wishes

Mike Turner

ELTTL Fixtures Secretary