Representing England on the international stage is quite a feat – and Saltburn TTC from Teesside have done just that, despite only being set up 11 years ago for players aged 50 and over.

Saltburn was founded in 2012 by the late Bernard Storey, as a sports club and socialising hub for those aged 50 and over, and the oldest member is aged 90. Since its foundation, the club has grown to encompass more than 60 members, with sessions attracting 20-30 at a time. 

The club, which plays at Saltburn Leisure Centre every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, embarked on its debut European tournament when they travel to Troisdorf, near Cologne in Germany. 

The invitation to compete came about because Troisdorf and Redcar & Cleveland have been twin towns since 1990. Saltburn competed against nine other teams from the host club, ESV Troisdorf, and other nearby clubs in the Town Twinning International Competition. 

Despite their status as a relatively new and largely social table tennis group, the travelling squad of 13 players held their own and picked up a number of victories between them against younger and more regular players. 

Dave Foreman, from the Saltburn club, said: “Saltburn are a relatively new club and only play socially. I discussed this with Thomas Saour, the organiser from Troisdorf, and this was what he was hoping for, a competition for players of all ages and abilities, to promote the game itself and also the continuing friendship between these cities. 

“Needless to say, we didn’t make the semi-finals and finals, but we really enjoyed the experience which is what it was all about.” 

The club presented their opposing teams with pennants to mark the competition, as well as creating a club shirt for the first time, which the players wore with pride and which featured the English and German flags on the collar. 

Peter Wagner from Saltburn presenting a pennant to the ESV Troisdorf team captain

Dave said: “We ordered a spare shirt and presented this to young Bogdan, one of the ESV emerging stars who helped both days of the festival and basically was a great ambassador for ESV TT club, a lovely young lad.” 

It is hoped the competition will become an annual event and be extended to include teams from other countries which have a relationship with Troisdorf. 

Dave added: “Overall it was such a wonderful experience for us here in Saltburn, new friends have been made and we look forward to next year.” 

Saltburn players and opponents at the playing hall
Eileen Robinson and Peter Wagner with Thomas Saour, the organiser from Troisdorf