One of Scotland’s finest players, Malcolm Sugden, died last month at the age of 82. He was well known south of the border, representing Middlesex in the County Championships for many years and defeating England stars such as Chester Barnes, Trevor Taylor and Alan Hydes.

The below obituary is part of a tribute on the Table Tennis Scotland website. Click here to read more, including personal tributes from fellow Scotland internationals.

It is with a great deal of sadness I write to inform you of the passing of Malcolm Sugden, one of Scotland’s truly great players of the post war and modern era. He was born in April 1941 at Stanningley near Leeds in Yorkshire and following a healthy and very active life succumbed to cancer in October 2023 in Bushey, Hertfordshire, where Malcolm lived very happily all his married life. Malcolm is survived by his wife, Wendy and two daughters, Julie and Fiona. Malcolm and Wendy were married in 1971.

Malcolm was born into a talented sporting family. His mother was originally from Perth and his father was a cricket professional with Yorkshire County Cricket Club who subsequently moved the family to Musselburgh in the 1950’s to take up a job as a cricket coach at Loretto School.

Malcolm and his brother Roger, who died in 2018, both played for Musselburgh Cricket Club. Roger would go on to play senior football for Cowdenbeath and was part of their fine 1969/70 promotion winning side. Roger scored 43 goals in 229 games for Cowdenbeath in an 8 years spell.

Malcolm moved into Edinburgh in the late 1950’s having taken a job as a bank clerk. Around this period, he joined the Edinburgh YMCA and embarked on his remarkable table tennis career. Despite taking up the sport late – he did not play as a junior – Malcolm who was blessed with an exceptional talent, won the first of many Open Tournament Men’s Singles Titles at the East of Scotland Open in season 1962/3. He received his first cap for Scotland at the 1963 World Championships in Prague and won the first of 5 Scottish Championship Singles titles in 1964.

Malcolm moved to London in 1966/67 where he represented Middlesex in the County Championships with distinction consistently finishing close to top of the county averages until his retirement in 1972.

In 1969 Malcolm received a late entry to the Nissen Invitation Event at Crystal Palace and stunned everyone by taking the title and the first ever £100 prize fund, beating full time professional English Internationalists, Trevor Taylor, Chester Barnes and Alan Hydes. Malcolm had a quite remarkable positive win/loss ratio during his international career in major European and World Championships between the 1963 Worlds in Prague and his retirement from international play in 1972 at the European Championships in Rotterdam.

A further article will appear on the Table Tennis Scotland website soon, detailing his outstanding voluntary contribution as a coach and mentor following his retirement in 1972.