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News Release - BSMTTC News 36
Dateline: 9 December 2015

Santa seen early!

Christmas came early to Bath Street Table Tennis Club, when Santa himself called into the Club Christmas party today bearing gifts for all. The unexpected visitor proved a real hit with members and guests gathered for the party. And he stayed around to make the draw for the Christmas prize board, ably helped by his two 'littel elves', Lesley and Doreen.


First things First


Of course, the day began with table tennis. After all promoting the sport of table tennis is the main aim of the Club! An impromptu 'hard bat' tournament was staged, organised by two more of Santa's elves, Keith Dudley and Albert Parker. 22 members took part on the day. The tournament was a straight knock out, consisting of 1 game of 21 points played on a handicap basis and using a provided 'hard bat', so that all competitors used the same bats. The handicaps were set by the elves for each game. And competition was fierce with the crowd of spectators getting closely involved - especially in supporting any perceived underdog! A combination of using the unaccustomed bats and the handicap led to some very even and closely fought matches. There are a few pictures of the competitors in the clip below. Apologies for the poor quality of the shots - not the table tennis shots that is - however both of our regular photogrphers 'forgot' their camera's!


Players of all standards took part, but inevitably it was 'quality' that shone through. They don't call Ken Jackson, the Club's No.1 player, 'relentless' for nothing! For when it comes to handicap matches Ken is truly relentless in working away at a handicap and being no stranger to a hard bat is also well able to continue playing his own brand of aggressive table tennis even with a strange piece of equipment. In his route to the final he dispatched Migs Morris, Dave Noden and Colin Mitchell. In the other half of the draw it was the organiser elf Keith Dudley. a late entrant, who fought his way through to the final, dispatching Liz Adams, Sam Pierce (just 21:20!), Billy Clayton and finally Billy O'Hara who had played fantastically up to this point. 

The Final


Although Keith started the final with a handicap advantage of 9 points, there were few present who would have been prepared to put money on him finishing ahead. It was doubtful whether his 'elf magic' would stretch that far, and Keith himself spurned suggestions before the start that his handicap should perhaps be a point or two higher. However Keith started well, and to a loud cheer from the crowd, went to 10:0 up. But 'relentless' just put his foot down a little harder and gradually the handicap difference started to roll back. By the end Ken was in complete control having recovered the handicap by the time Keith reached 15. Once again Ken proved why he is the No.1 at Bath Street and fitting applause greeted both players at the conclusion. Santa presented the awards to both players a magical end to an excellent competition.

Ken (left hand picture) and Keith receive their Winner and Runner-Up prizes from Santa for their success in the Hard Bat competition. 

A short clip of some of the members taking part in the Hard Bat competition, finishing with the winner and runner-up and presentation of their prizes by Santa himself. Apologies for the quality of these pictures! 

Time to party


With the playing done it was time for a differnt kind of 'playing'! So, once the awards were presented for the Hard Bat competition, Santa together with his elves made the draw for prizes for the prize draw board. Some 25 prizes had been donated with the winning numbers being drawn from Santa's sack by Club President Billy 'the legend' Clayton. Santa acknowledged the effort put in by the tournament organisers Keith Dudley and Albert Parker and by all those who had prepared a first class buffet - entirely free of charge - for everyone gathered. And of course the odd bottle or two gained in the prize draw was also opened to help wash the food down! There was no doubting it was another great occasion for the club, excellently organised and managed by Santa and his band of helpers. There is certainly more to Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club than just table tennis. Santa was also delighted to announce that the Club has for the first time started a regular youth section and activity through its partnership with St Mary's school. Proving that table tennis is a great sport for all ages 8 - 80 are now in evidence at Marine!

Santa's elves, Doreen Smith and Lesley Blanchard look up the winning numbers on the prize draw board, and Club President Billy Clayton helps Santa present awards, here acknowledging the work done by Albert Parker in organising the Hard Bat tournament.

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