Dateline: 28 March 2015
The W Stamp Cup is a knock out cup competition for teams in Division 5 of the L&DTTL. And this year's final pitched the current outright leaders of Div 5, Waterloo TTC, against Wavertree Labour E sitting 9th in the division. There was no doubting therefore that Wavertree Labour was very much the underdog for this match. But they have a large squad, and their rotation policy means that they don't always field their strongest team for league matches. The cup however is another matter so all the stops had been pulled to field the strongest team possible. Perhaps a surprise could be on the cards?
The cup matches for this division consist of 9 sets, 8 singles and 1 doubles, with the first to win 5 sets winning the match. On the toss of a coin by L&DTTL Competitions Secretary Keith Bird (the match official for the evening) Waterloo won the toss and elected to be the 'away' team which meant they would be able to choose the first set on. And no surprises here, their first choice was their No.1 player Gavin Minnett who has had an outstanding season so far in the league. His opponent, the Wavertree Labour No.2 Dave Williams.
Marine hosts Final!
On Friday the 27 March the Peter Ross Table Tennis Room at Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club was the host venue for the final of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League W Stamp Cup.
This is what it's all about,
The W Stamp Cup, being looked after by L&DTTL Competitions Secretary, Keith Bird.
as Waterloo 'stamp' their authority on the cup
Not only was it immediately obvious that there was a marked contrast in playing styles between the two players, there was also a clear contrast in ages! Right from the start Gavin showed his range of fast serves and attacking shots on both forehand and backhand wings. By contrast Dave displayed his guile, soft hand defence and dogged determination. But the truth was that without a 'winning' shot Dave was no match for the younger more adventurous player. And although Dave made Gavin work for every point a crucial miss, from an attempted attacking shot, when he had a 10:9 advantage in the third game just about summed up the difference. Gavin went on to win the deuce game and take the set 3:0, first blood to Waterloo.
The Wavertree Labour captain, Gordon Langshaw then called himself on for the next set against the Waterloo No.4 Geoff Metcalf. This was a really funny see-saw set that went the full distance. And to be frank Gordon will have been really disappointed to have lost a set that he could, and perhaps should have won! Gordon took the first game with a decisive 11:3 victory only to see the lead slip away with Geoff winning the next 2 games 9:11, 9:11. Back came Gordon winning game 4 11:2. The final end was going to be a case of 'who dares wins' and that was certainly true when the scores were tied at 10:10. In the end however it was a missed serve that proved decisive allowing Geoff to take the decisive game 10:12. Gordon will rue not using his excellent forehand top spin more and also the lack of variation on serves. 2:0 to Waterloo.
Next on was Eric Spencer for Wavertree Labour and the Waterloo captain and No.3 Phil O'Mullane. Eric showed from the start that he was at least prepared to 'have a go' and raced through the first game 11:8. But although Eric was adventurous, he was also somewhat inconsistent! Phil on the other hand may have started slowly but gradually his superior range of shots and very strong backhand took its toll enabling him to take the next 3 games 5,6 & 6. 3:0 to Waterloo and the writing seemed to be on the wall.
If anything was to be salvaged it was therefore up to the Wavertree Labour No.1 Stan Clarke. Stan is still a force to be reckoned with when he gets the shots right. But that just didn't happen in the first game as the Waterloo No.2 Jeff Hornby raced away to a 1:11 win. It wasn't so much that Jeff played better or had a considerable age advantage, rather it was that Stan seemed to try and run before he could walk. Going all out for shots before he was fully warmed up with dire consequences! A better effort in game 2 saw Stan back in the set with a narrow 14:12 win. But Jeff was in no mood to surrender and there was no doubting who wanted this set more. With both players putting in some very good positive shots Jeff just seemed to have a little more gas in the tank and a little more desire taking the next two ends 9, and 9 to make it 4:0 to Waterloo. Jeff's delight was obvious!
In an open and sporting gesture the Waterloo captain then called on the doubles for the 5th set. Stan and Dave for Wavertree Labour against Gavin and Phil for Waterloo. Some very good early shots from the Wavertree pair gave them the opening game 11:7, perhaps there was hope yet? But a couple of school boy errors from the Wavertree 'old boys' when they had a winning position in game 2 gave the advantage to Waterloo who duly took the second end 11:13. They say the 'sun shines on the righteous', so Waterloo must be extremely righteous, as there was no doubt the sun was shining on them in the next two ends, just no luck at all for the Wavertree pair. Both ends going to Waterloo 8 & 8.
So it was game set and match to Waterloo 0:5. A comprehensive win to put them in pole position to secure the double this season when they eventually add the divisional title to the Divisional Cup.
The League Competitions Secretary Keith Bird officiated throughout and called up the teams for the presentation of trophies which was made by the Bath Street Club Secretary, Graham Turner.
Congratulations to both teams on a final played in an excellent spirit.
The Peter Ross Table Tennis Room at Marine AFC,
the home of Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club
Empty and inviting, ready for the Cup Final
All of the players.