TABLE TENNIS: Elliott becomes the Kettering League's best ever

Higham skipper Richard Elliott capped a memorable season by becoming the league’s most successful player ever.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 8:15 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 10:08 am
Richard Elliott has become the Kettering & District Leagues most successful player after racking up the 1,524th Premier Division win of his career

The 50-year-old, who has played in the top tier since he was a teenager, broke the record for the most career Premier Division wins with a fine treble against old foes Kettering Town.His hat-trick saw him overtake Steve West’s 1,522 wins with 1,524 to his name, 50 of which came this season as his side won the league for the first time since 2006.He said: “You never think you’re going to be playing for 35 years non-stop, let alone at the top of the game.“It’s definitely an achievement I’m proud of.”Needing two wins to break the record on the final night of the season the achievement never looked in doubt against a Town side missing John Fuller.After beating Mike Hawes 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, Elliott thumped Nigel Metcalfe 3-0 to take the honour before rounding off a fine night with a 3-1 win over Mick Allsopp.It was his 14th treble of the season with just one blank night against Westfield A, one of only a handful in the past 20 seasons.Elliott said: “I thought I’d give it a good push this year but when I started the season I didn’t think I would do it, it’s a tough ask to only drop 11 or so matches.”The veteran has played in the league since 1984 and has always played for Higham or one of their previous incarnations.He’s won the league 15 times, the annual league singles five times and went three years without losing a match in the mid-1990s.League records kept by Dennis Millman, who died a year ago, show he is one of five players to rack up more than 1,000 Premier Division wins.Below him are West, Millman himself, Geoff Atkinson who died in 2013 and Mark Nannery, who has been his team-mate since the 1990s.Elliott, who has no plans to step away from the court yet, could have broken the record even earlier had it not been for a series of injuries.Three hernia operations in the past six years saw him miss several chunks of seasons at a time.The new record holder was congratulated by league opponents on his achievement and he thinks it will probably stand forever without Millman keeping a statto-like watch on league records.He paid tribute to the late league stalwart, who was involved with the sport for 75 years and calculated how many wins Elliott had achieved in 2012-13 so he could see when he broke the record.He said: “Had it not been for Dennis we would never have known."

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