Cippenham Table Tennis Club was founded in June 1973 by Graham Trimming who has remained General Secretary ever since. By the start of season 1973-4 enough members had been recruited to place two teams in the Slough League (one on Division 2 and one in Division 5) and two in the Maidenhead League (in divisions 4 and 6). The chosen venue was St. Andrews Shared Church, the first church in England to be built as a joint initiative between the Church of England and the Roman Catholics. This was in Slough, within the boundaries of the village of Cippenham, from which the Club took its name. Two tables were purchased, a set of rules agreed, and off we went, hiring space in the Church (which in essence doubled up as a community centre) twice a week. Such was the progress of the Club that in its second season it operated nine teams, six in the Slough League (including two in the top Division 1) and three in Maidenhead (including one in the Premier). Although numerically the Club became strong and attracted some good local players five years elapsed before the Club first won a local league title when the Slough League championship was captured in 1978. Thereafter came the first, and unsuccessful, foray into the Ormesby Cup - the national club championship.
Entry into the British League
However, by 1980 the Club had grown in stature to a point where an entry into the British League was contemplated, and this became a reality in 1981. Thus commenced a four year flirtation with the British League during which time the Club acquired a reputation nationally for administrative excellence. The results on the table were not so good and the best position came in the ultimate season with fourth place in Division 3 South. Such was the strength of Division 3 at that time that this position was the best that could be achieved by a team that included three players within the top 120 in England plus two others who were currently men's singles champions of their respective counties. By 1985 the team had lost its local bias and therefore a decision was taken to pull out of the British League. Cippenham TTC had long been an advocate of the introduction of a pyramid competitive club structure so when the opportunity came along in 1987 to join the newly formed Southern Region League this was taken enthusiastically. This was a uniquely successful venture for Cippenham who won the both the men's and ladies' titles five times each in the ten year existence of the League.
Time to move
By the early 1980s the Club had outgrown its venue at the Church, which offered no developmental possibilities at all. After the Haymill School closed in 1982 a group of people, including representatives of the Club, got together to assist in re-opening the building as a community centre. This came to fruition in October 1984 when Haymill Community Centre opened its doors with Cippenham TTC as one of its first tenants. The gymnasium was equipped with grants to the value of £5,500, and four tables were used for match play and six for the new coaching scheme that was introduced. The Club was now a dominant force in local table tennis and was almost perennial winners of the Slough League title and for a decade, also six times winners of the Maidenhead championship. When the Buckinghamshire County Association introduced a team championship in 1983-4 Cippenham were duly crowned champions in the first season. The coaching scheme started to get results and Anna Watton became the first Cippenham member to gain international honours when representing England Schools, and she was followed later by ETTA recognition for Gareth Herbert and Terry Young, both of whom received much of their early coaching at Cippenham. In 1994 coaching activities were extended with the founding of the Slough & Maidenhead Advanced Coaching Centre (SMACC) at Cippenham, a forerunner of the Club’s current advanced coaching scheme.
Who will give us £500,000?
In early 1992, inspired by the amount of funding possible from the newly created Foundation for Sport and the Arts, Cippenham drew up imaginative and elaborate plans for its own purpose built facility. A Building Sub-Committee was formed, and in the summer of 1992 an application was submitted to the FSA. A year later the news that this had been rejected came as a blow but was not unexpected. By now the bandwagon was rolling, agencies such as the local council, Sports Council and the ETTA were extremely supportive and gave the Club encouragement to pursue the project further. Meanwhile The Westgate School in Cippenham had been identified as having the necessary attributes to become a successful partner with the Club and a company limited by guarantee was incorporated to be the legal lessee. After four years, intense work and not a few tears, came the news in December 1995 that a National Lottery grant for £255K had been awarded to add to the £70K secured by then from the FSA via the ETTA. However, when the tenders came in at £100K over the estimated cost it took a further award of £105K from the Funding Agency for Schools and considerable goodwill from the English Sports Council for the project to become viable.
Building work commenced in March 1996 and on 1st October 1996 Cippenham Table Tennis Centre was opened, the first ball being struck by Graham Trimming, mainstay of the Building Committee and the Club's founder 23 years previously. Since that time the Centre has acquired a reputation as being one of the best in the country and is the envy of visitors. In recognition, the Club was named as the ETTA Club of the Year three times, in 1996, 1997 and 2010 as well as runner-up in 2001 and 2003. Five international matches have been staged and the Centre became the established home of the National Junior/Cadet Masters for a period of several years and has hosted Senior British League weekends and County Championships Premier Divisions on numerous occasions.
Coaching at the Club increased substantially after the opening of the Centre and produced a plethora of national champions in the younger age groups. The Club's Head Coach, Ken Phillips, received the accolade of being named ETTA Male Coach of the Year in both 1999 and 2000 and the NCF Coach of the Year Award in 2001 while the ETTA Female Coach of the Year Award has been won by Sue Hayes in 2001 and 2008 and by Jan Chapman in 2007. In the summer of 2004 the Club's facilities were upgraded with a new suite of changing, shower and toilet facilities and enlargement of the existing lounge and kitchen areas.
Back into the British League
Cippenham is committed to establishing a competitive team structure to provide a pathway from the lowest junior leagues right through to the top. With this in mind, the Club sought to establish a presence in all of the British leagues starting with a boys' team in 1995. In the current season the Club is running two teams in the Senior British League, two in the Women’s British League, three in the Veterans' British League and one in the Junior British League. A total of nineteen divisional titles have so far been captured included the Girls’ Premier Division on three occasions.
Also Slough teams, comprised entirely of Cippenham players, won the Leach Cup (national boys' under-14 team) in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000, the Carter Cup (national boys' under-17 team) in 1997, 1998 and 2001 and the Hammersley Cup (national girls' under-14/15 team) in 2002 and 2003. Also consisting entirely of Cippenham players, Maidenhead won the Bromfield Trophy (national girls' under-17 team) and Hammersley Cup 1999 and repeated this double with teams of nearly all Cippenham players in 2000. Cippenham has also made its mark in the national women's knock-out Gainsford Cup in recent times with a hat-trick of wins between 2002 and 2004 plus a fourth in 2006 and added the men's equivalent, the Ormesby Cup, in 2005.