New Milton Pageant of Sport 21st July 2012
First proposed by Coun. Goff Beck, as reported in the “A&T” (13.09.08), as the big day grew ever closer, the long planned New Milton Pageant of Sport looked as if it could have been a washout, as probably “The wettest drought on record” seemed as though it would never end….Friday remained nervously dry….. and the sun came out properly on Saturday, rewarding the faithful with a beautiful day on the New Milton Memorial Recreation Ground.
New Milton TTC had a stall (ably staffed by Sybil Bartlett all morning) in front of which the two “PING” tables were in constant use, often with a queue forming for space on the tables! Our two slots in the “Indoor Arena” between 11:15 and 12:30 and 2:45 and 4:30 were also hugely popular; we had two tables there, upon which one had the robot – queues again – and the other featuring demonstration “matches” and casual coaches sessions. Brian Vibert and Steve Hemmings’ displays wowed the crowds; as usual, Brian attacking and Steve “digging” the ball back from yards back (I think the longest one was half way down Old Milton road).
Julie Smillie’s hands on coaching at the robot taught the eager youngsters how to do it right and pretty soon, with improved technique, they were looking light future stars (enough to make anyone improve – and a commemorative medal too!!).
Our club information leaflets had to be replenished, such was the demand and as usual, Bev saved the day with fresh supplies which Sylvia gave to the enthusiastic converts.
John Parkhouse knocked up with the suitably impressed young players, every now and again putting them in their place with one of his trademark smashes, just when they thought they might be able to outplay him.
It was great to see Bob and Sandy – and while Sandy chatted and looked at the good array of other sports on offer, Bob, Shaun, Brian and Steve took an early opportunity to sample the too-tempting range of home made cakes at the WI stand.
The central arena had fabulous displays of dance, junior girls’ football, junior tag rugby and other sporting disciplines constantly running, while the stalls surrounding this had further information from fishing to paragliding to Tai Chi available.
Malcolm Floyd helped by bringing in the robot and other equipment and he and wife Helen made a couple of visits – Helen looking most impressive on the robot (you should start playing again Helen!).
The young helpers from the local ACF were brilliant – looking after our equipment when necessary, helping us move the PING tables and enthusiastically helping and encouraging the youngsters get to grips with the game; one of these very pleasant young chaps suggested that it would be a great idea if we had outdoor tables permanently available of the “rec.” as he and his pals “were up here playing on them all the time”. I will speak with the town councilors at the “Wash up” meeting this Tuesday 24th at the Town Hall.
All in all a fantastic day – a great opportunity to promote our local sports clubs and to get people feeling better through sport. One couple I spoke to who were just in the process of moving to the area commented “What a brilliant idea – it’s made us feel instantly part of a lovely community and shown us where we can go to resume our sporting interests and to make new friends. Is this an annual event?” I for one would back a move for it to take place regularly, if not every year, at least every two years.
Thanks again to all those club members who helped out on the day – I’m sure we’ll pick up several new members as a direct result.
Look out for stories and pictures from former member and A&T sports reporter Dee Flannagan in their next edition.