The North East Hills Table Tennis Association (NEHTTA) was formed at a meeting in the football clubrooms of the Memorial Drive Oval, Tea Tree Gully on Tuesday the 2nd April, 1957. Most of the seventeen people present at the meeting were members from the local tennis clubs.
Prior to 1957 there had been no organised table tennis competition in the area but some of the local towns played matches between themselves and also competed against social club teams from the Adelaide area.
The first Association President was Brian Gaskin from Hope Valley and the Foundation Secretary was Dick Philps of Tea Tree Gully. Dick was also the Treasurer and Results Steward.
Roy Pritchard from Cudlee Creek was the Inaugural Association Patron and presented the shield to the first winners of the A Grade competition.
In the competition’s first year, there was only one grade and comprised teams from Modbury, Chain of Ponds, Hope Valley, Hermitage, Tea Tree Gully, Golden Grove, Cudlee Creek United, and Cudlee Creek District.
In the following three years, Clubs from One Tree Hill (1958), Paracombe (1958), Houghton (1959), Athelstone (1960) and Stockade (1960) joined the Association. As time passed other clubs joined while some of the original clubs ceased to operate due to declining membership.
Teams consisted of eight men and six women with each player competing in one single and one double’s rubber per night. Matches in the first season of competition commenced on Wednesday 1st May 1957 with the Grand Final being played on Wednesday the 9th October. Approximately 150 players competed in that first competition. Hermitage defeated Modbury in the Grand Final to become the first premiers.
Match results were phoned through to the Advertiser each week by the Results Steward and appeared in the following Monday’s paper.
The competition created tremendous rivalry between teams but there was also a great social atmosphere due to a shared supper at the completion of matches.
Following the Grand Final, an Association Ball was held at which the Patron presented the Hermitage Captain (Allan Verrall) with the Roy B Pritchard Shield and the Association A Grade Pennant. The Ball became a regular event on the Association’s program for many years.
In 1957 NEHTTA hosted an international match at Modbury between the South Australian Women’s Team and the visiting New Zealand Women’s Team. In that same year, several NEHTTA teams competed in the Country Carnival held in Adelaide. NEHTTA’s participation in the Carnival became a regular event for many years, achieving great results in both team and individual events.
The first Inter Association match was held against the Adelaide Plains Association at Gawler in 1959. This also became a regular part of the calendar in future years.
Following the Association’s great success in its first year, saw the competition expanded to two grades in 1958 when a further two clubs joined the Association.
1959 saw the first Association tournament played with the inaugural Championship Singles winners being Ron Phillips and Evonne Pritchard both from the Cudlee Creek club. Approximately 100 players competed in the seven events conducted at that first tournament.
The enormous impact, that the formation of the North East Hills Table Tennis Association in 1957 would have on the local communities, could not have been foreseen. It provided both a sporting and a social environment for local people to enjoy.
The North East Hills Table Tennis Association became Incorporated in 1973