Maurice Simpson

Unhappily, I have only just learned of the recent passing of Maurice Simpson (87), hence I begin with an apology to his family and friends, for the lateness of this brief tribute.

Maurice was born in Rotherham and he soon demonstrated his ability with bat and ball at the Rotherham YMCA alongside Gerald Underwood and Ken Ansted. Having won two of his four Sheffield singles titles with the YMCA, his move to the Albion club provided him with a harvest of Sheffield table tennis honours. His exploits commenced in 1952 with a men’s doubles win in tandem with Underwood which they would repeat on four more occasions! Maurice’s last men’s doubles success was in 1961 alongside Doug McGarry, whose attacking style complimented Simpson’s defensive grit. In paying tribute to Simpson’s defensive resilience and his prodigious footwork, Ron Ridge recently described him as a “ballet dancer in pumps”. Simpson also took the Sheffield crown in 1966 and 1968 and only Stephen Horsfield (8), Clive Guest (6), David Rayner (6) and Mark Short (5), have exceeded Maurice’s four triumphs. In addition, he partnered Jean Ling to win the mixed doubles in 1954 and 1956.

The Wembley Pairs competition regretfully no longer plays a part in the Sheffield table tennis calendar, despite claims from some quarters that there is insufficient competition available! A litany of quality players adorns the “Pairs” roll of honour, which includes Jack Crookes, Ray Dove, Mick Askham, Steve Mills, David Rayner and the Horsfield brothers, but the player with the most “Pairs” wins is Maurice Simpson, whose eight successes were achieved together with Underwood, McGarry and Jim Coleman.

Maurice Simpson thoroughly deserves his place in the pantheon of local table tennis greats.

Rob Loxley

Press Officer - SYCTTA