Come and try ... table tennis with Murray Bridge and Districts Table Tennis Association

Shane Denman, Des Short, David Schultz and Neil Jaunay invite you to come and play table tennis.

“Come and Try” aims to promote fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this fortnightly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email peri@murraybridge.news.

Association vice-president David Schultz is ready to get new young players keen for table tennis from Murray Bridge High School. Photo: Kurt Miegel

As a journalist you are told to remain independent and avoid involving yourself in a story.

So, full disclosure: having gone along to cover this story, I was drawn into a game by the friendly members of the Murray Bridge and District Table Tennis Association – and was comprehensively beaten by someone three times my age.

The association is about to start a new season following a shortened program in 2020 with a call out to players of all ability to come and give it a go.

Vice-president David Schultz has also taken it one step further with a program at Murray Bridge High School, commencing on Wednesday, to encourage the next generation to take up the game.

“It’s a six-week program where I’m hoping to put a face to the association and provide some tips so they go from simply hitting it over the net to having good competition,” Mr Schultz said.

“We’re also looking at possibly doing an after-school program and we’d love to help establish a competition between Murray Bridge High School and Unity College.”

Certainly talking with the members playing last Friday night there seems to be plenty of benefits to anyone who wants to pick up a paddle.

When did you first start playing table tennis?

Shane: I started as a junior in high school. I stopped playing for about 10 years but got back into it through a mate.

Des: I started in Middleton on a kitchen table. I moved to Murray Bridge in 1971 and began playing here in 1975.

Neil: I started in the early 70s and played pretty competitively. I was on and off but came back to playing regularly about five years ago.

What do you get out of it?

Des: Fitness mainly but also lots of fun and new friends.

Shane: Fitness and it helps to keep your mind active.

Neil: For me it’s the excitement in being able to get the ball back from anywhere on or off the table. Being more of a defensive player, it’s great to try and return any ball. And being nearly 70, it keeps you going.

What has been the greatest achievement of your table tennis career so far?

Shane: About seven or premierships in A grade and played at the Australian Masters in 2019.

Neil: I suppose it would be coming runners up at the locals doubles tournament with Ash. She had been playing a bunch of different sports and decided to give table tennis a go. Getting to see her get better every game and go on to win was pretty special.

Des: Being ranked number one for all of country SA in 2019. Technically still ranked that because we didn’t have country champs last year due to COVID. Also representing the state at veterans nationals in Bendigo and Adelaide.

How did you go last season?

Shane: It was shorter last season, just 10 weeks instead of the usual 20. Hoping that this season will be uninterrupted. We went down from about 75 to 50 members so we are hoping that can come back up.

Des: There was no country championships or big tournaments obviously, but we did have some internal ones.

What do you hope to achieve as a table tennis player?

Shane: I’m aiming to go to nationals at some point and hopefully keep winning more premierships.

Des: Stay fit and healthy.

Shane: Des doesn’t need to list anything because he’s done it all.

Why should people come and play table tennis?

David: We have good facilities here at the showgrounds that should be getting used more.

Shane: Have fun, good for your fitness, keep your mind active, get social with some good friends. You can play into your 90s and it’s very cheap.

Neil: You get a feeling of camaraderie, and the more that you play the more enjoyment you get from every shot.


“Come and Try” aims to promote fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this fortnightly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email peri@murraybridge.news.