A little known fact is that the Club, under its original guise of Temple Fortune Town, had links to a different sport altogether!
In December 1966, the Kyte family, some of whom went on to become so influential in the running of TFFC, decided to use their back garden in One Oakfields Road (which was located next to Princes Park where TFT virtually evolved) for summer games of badminton. The necessary equipment was purchased and the sport began to be played in games between the family. The court was marked out with string and lines were painted carefully with whitewash. To begin with, the net was supported by the trunks of bushes either side of the lawn before proper net posts were purchased later.

The new past-time turned into a craze and friends started joining in. With enthusiasm increasing as the summer months flowed by, the family agreed to hold a badminton tournament. From there, the Oakfields Road Badminton Association was formed, with Jack Kyte named as Chairman and his wife Ruth as Vice-Chairman. Middle son Nigel was the Organiser. The competition was called the Oakfields Road Badminton Championship and twelve competiors entered the first tournament held during June and July 1967, including all four TFFC founders-to-be. Infact, seven of the 12 participants went on to play for the Club which was founded a year later in 1968. Stephen Melzack, later to feature in a few of TFT's earliest matches, beat Steven Kyte by 2 games to 1 (9-4, 7-9, 9-6) in the inaugural Final, held on Sunday 19th July 1967. The first trophy presented to Stephen Melzack was a cup but a rather inglorious one... it was a black coffee cup with a white inside!

Nigel produced an eight-page handbook typed up on Ruth Kyte's typewriter, inwhich the following opening message featured after the title page. "Looking back at this first Championship, there is only one word which sums it up completely. The word, which fulfilled my aims in starting this competition, is "success". The first Badminton Championship attracted twelve people who eagerly battled it out in knockout style on the green back lawn of the Kytes. The tournament flowed by fluently without any hitches; even the weather kindly remained perfect in order that we completed the matches! With our aim of entertaining people, the main reason why the Championship was formed this year, we hope that it will continue for many years to come, and we look forward to the 1968 Badminton Championship which everyone hopes will receive equal success and, in return, supply entertainment and good sportsmanship".

Also inside the Oakfields Road Badminton Championship handbook were the rules, the results of the 1967 tournament, competitors' playing records, a short history, Championship news and the dates for the 1968 Championship. Sadly, in complete contrast to the inaugural event, the 1968 competition was literally a wash-out. The opening two rounds were completed without any problems but "torrential rain" (as reported in the '68 handbook) ensured that the tournament did not proceed past the semi-final stage.

The late sixties were a sporting time for the Kyte family, what with TFFC being formed in December 1968 and the badminton already underway, and the first Table Tennis Tournament (TTT) was held during the summer of 1969 on an old table which had "previously been rotting away in our garage", according to Nigel in the 1968 handbook!

By the time the third Badminton Championship was held during the summer of 1969, commencing on Sunday 1st June and culminating in the final on Saturday 28th June, Temple Fortune Town FC had been founded some six months earlier. A new trophy had been put together from a mixture of artifacts belonging to the Kytes! An old two-handled silver sugar bowl formed the 'cup' and upon it sat a beautiful silver-plated emblem from a Bentley car, appropriately sporting a large letter B with adjoining wings on a circular base. Mounted on a black plinth, the intriguing concoction made a very handsome trophy indeed and this continued to be presented to the annual winners for quite a few years.

The Oakfields Road Badminton Championship (and the supporting TTT) became the summer activity once the football season ended, and the collective name for the sports was ORBATTA, the Oakfields Road Badminton and Table Tennis Association. In 1980, the new decade marked a new name and a new trophy. The Badminton Championship became known as the Woodside Invitation Badminton Championship Challenge Cup and a lovely brass-coloured cup was donated by Nigel Kyte and engraved with all the winners. The name 'Woodside' was taken from the name of the Kyte's house at One Oakfields Road.
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Left: The Oakfields Road Badminton Championship Cup. The trophy was presented to the annual champion between 1969 and 1979 inclusive. The Bentley insignia was donated by Jack Kyte and fitted the supporting silver cup exactly. Above: The mounted winged 'B' lid in more detail. Below left: The covers of the original ORBA handbooks, produced for the inaugural 1967 Championship and the ill-fated 1968 one. Below right: The 1984 Final programme.

Left: The 1968 ORBA handbook title page and below it, two pages of the 1969 edition. Above: The inside spread of the four-page 1984 Woodside Invitation Badminton Championship Challenge Cup Final programme. Stephen Melzack is pictured holding the old 'Bentley' trophy, with Peter Kyte and Howard Levy posing prior to the 1972 Final which Howard won. Below left: The Woodside Invitation Badminton Championship Challenge Cup, first presented in 1980, together with the plinth in greater detail (pictured below). The Cup is 265mmm in depth (approximately 10.5 inches).

The Badminton Championship records (full list of winners at the bottom of this page):
Semi-Final appearances: 12, Peter Kyte* and Michael Rook*; 10, Nigel Kyte*; 7, Steven Kyte; 6, Stephen Melzack*; 4, Jeremy Solnick*; 3, Massaud Karimzadeh*; 2, Julian Anders, Jack Kyte, Howard Levy* and Robert Silverstone*; 1, Lionel Collins, Dave Combes, Dave Landau*, John Lee, Brian Melzack* and Len Wyse*.
Final appearances: 8, Michael Rook; 7, Peter Kyte; 6, Stephen Melzack; 4, Nigel Kyte; 2, Howard Levy; 1, Julian Anders, Dave Combes, Massaud Karmzadeh, Jack Kyte, Steven Kyte and Jeremy Solnick.
Winners: 5, Stephen Melzack and Michael Rook; 3, Peter Kyte; 2, Howard Levy; 1, Dave Combes and Nigel Kyte.

*Temple Fortune FC players.

Entry figures: 1967: 12, 1968: no record, 1969: 12, 1970: 11, 1971: 16, 1972: 14, 1973: 14, 1974: 16, 1975: 16, 1976: 16, 1977: 19, 1978: 20 (most), 1979: 10, 1980: 11, 1981: 7 (least), 1982: 16, 1983: 8, 1984: 16, 1985: no record.

< Continued • Nigel Kyte went on to organise no fewer than 17 Badminton Championship tournaments in total between 1968 and 1984. The first twelve competitions, including the abandoned one in 1968, were all played on the knock-out basis. But with participants dwinding in numbers between 1979 and 1981, 'round-robin' groups were introduced to increase the number of matches played. The tournament in 1982 returned to straight knock-out, as did the one in 1984, but the troubled competition in between reverted to requiring qualifying groups. The 1983 Championship was badly delayed for one reason or another and four matches were actually played on a hard court at Swiss Cottage Sports Centre. The Final was not completed until May 1984, virtually one year later! The knock-on effect resulted in the 1985 Championship having severe delay issues too, which was the reason it was eventually abandoned. And that proved to be the last tournament to be held.

Stephen Melzack won five Championships, including the first three in succession, with Michael Rook (one of TFT's founders) also going on to win it on five occasions. Peter Kyte took the prize three times and Howard Levy (later to become Kent) twice, whilst Nigel Kyte won once in 1984, which proved to be the last tournament. The only player to win the Championship who had nothing to do with Temple Fortune FC was Dave Combes who was victorious in 1982.

Just as he has kept records for TFFC, Nigel Kyte has the results sheets for each tournament in his possession, all hand-written on sheets of A4 paper, together with various old handbooks and programmes, as a permanent record of the ORBATTA's main event, the annual Badminton Championship – a little known part of TFFC's earliest history! Below are listed all the Finals with scores (in best of 3, 5 or 7 games), the dates of each Final and the semi-finalists.

Some forty years on, Nigel Kyte still remembers the tournaments fondly. "They were great times. A family interacting with each other by playing summer sports, be it badminton or table tennis. I enjoyed organising things and, of course, it was around the time that TFFC was beginning to take off." Nigel created a form of four-a-side table football on a chalked board with 'Rolykins' Daleks (little figures with a ball-bearing underneath) and 'Lego' goalkeepers on wires! "It was the predecessor to Subbuteo which came a year or two later... I wish I had patented 'Rolykins' as we called it! I'd probably be rich now!" he mused. "Peter was very good at Rolykins and used to win the Rolykins Amateur Cup with his team Arcernal! He used three red Daleks against my one black and two grey ones. Oh, and we had a team of "World Cup Willies' (the official 1966 World Cup mascot) which were little painted lions in Union Jack shirts on green bases! The fun we had trying to control the players let alone the ball on a warped board... it was an achievement to score a goal because it was so hard!"

"Subbuteo became very popular and I ran numerous competitions plus a form of 'It's A Knockout' which was very popular on TV in those days with Stuart Halls and Eddie Waring. Michael Rook, a lifelong friend, was very much a part of these fun past-times, as was Peter, Brian Melzack and Robert Silverstone. It all got very competive at times but was very entertaining. The outdoor tournaments in the summer gave us a respite from playing football all the time! I remember cutting the lawn and marking out the badminton court several times each summer, working out the dates and fixtures, covering bald patches on the lawn overnight with boards and plastic sheeting as protection from rain... certainly not Wimbledon but we did the best we could!"

"The Badminton Championship Final was mostly attended by my parents and the neighbouring family friend June Melzack, who all acted as line judges. I used to umpire most ties along with my older brother Steven; we sat at the top of a step ladder by the net. Stephen Melzack was the Pete Samprass of the time, winning the competition five times, but along came Roger Federer in the form of Michael Rook to dominate! And we had Peter 'Andre Agassi' Kyte winning the odd title! It was great fun and to have kept it going for seventeen years showed how popular the event was. Yes, memorable times indeed!"

Below: This picture more than any taken at the time captures the Badminton Championship as it was in the back garden of the Kyte family home. Howard Levy (left) opposes Peter Kyte in the 1972 Final held on Sunday 16th July 1972, complete with line officials! More pictures from the 1972 Final here.


Year Winners Runners-up Score Final date Semi-Finalists
1967 S.Melzack S.Kyte 2–1 a 9 July 67 J.Kyte & N.Kyte (9)
1968 Competition abandoned
1969 S.Melzack J.Kyte 2–1 a 28 June 69 N.Kyte & R.Silverstone
1970 S.Melzack P.Kyte 3–1 b 8 July 70 M.Rook & Silverstone
1971 P.Kyte M.Rook 3–1 b 1 June 71 N.Kyte & B.Melzack (11)
1972 H.Levy P.Kyte 3–1 b 16 July 72 N.Kyte & M.Rook
1973 H.Levy M.Rook 3–2 b 8 July 73 P.Kyte & S.Kyte (15)
1974 S.Melzack P.Kyte 3–0 b 14 July 74 S.Kyte & M.Rook
1975 M.Rook N.Kyte 3–0 b 13 July 75 M.Karimzadeh & S.Kyte
1976 M.Rook S.Melzack 3–1 b 13 July 76 M.Karimzadeh & P.Kyte
1977 S.Melzack P.Kyte 3–2 b 11 July 77 N.Kyte & S.Kyte
1978 M.Rook J.Solnick 3–1 b 16 July 78 P.Kyte & J.Lee
1979 P.Kyte M.Karimzadeh 3–0 b 28 October 79 J.Solnick & L.Wyse
1980 M.Rook N.Kyte 4–2* c 3 & 10 Oct. 80 J.Anders & J.Solnick
1981 M.Rook J.Anders 2–0** c 4 October 81 P.Kyte & S.Kyte
1982 D.Combes M.Rook 4–3 c 1 August 82 N.Kyte & J.Solnick
1983 P.Kyte N.Kyte 4–2 c 6 May 84 S.Kyte & M.Rook
1984 N.Kyte D.Landau 4–0 c Date unknown L.Collins & P.Kyte
1985 Competition abandoned
a = Final best of three games. b = Final best of five games. c = Final best of seven games.
(9) = Games up to 9 points (1968-1970). (11) = Games up to 11 points (1971-1972). (15) = games up to 15 points (1973-1985).
* = Match replayed. First match drawn 3-3 and abandoned during deciding game due to bad weather.
** = Match abandoned during third game due to J.Anders refusing to continue. J.Anders disqualified and M.Rook won by default with score of 2-0 standing.