News Release - BSMTTC News 37
Dateline: 9 January 2016

Happy New Year!

First of all our best wishes to all our readers for a very Happy New Year!

 

The first week of 2016 has been a busy one for many of our league players because of the opening round of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League's Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup competition in which the Club had its highest ever entry with 7 teams taking part and all 7 in action in Round 1. The Frank Murphy Cup is a team competition for L&DTTL players of all ability who are over the age of 40. Teams can be a combination of any three eligible players whose individual league handicaps are combined to give an overall handicap score for the team. A match comprises of 9 sets of singles, each set comprising 2 games played up to 21 points. Each teams 'handicap' is added to or taken away from the points scored and the team with the highest points taking into account the handicap is the match winner. It probably sounds more complicated than it is, but the 'handicap' gives teams of all abilitites a chance to compete on fairly even terms - but of course allocating a handicap is not an exact science which sometimes leads to some 'interesting' results!

 

In Round 1, 6 of the 7 club teams were drawn away from home. A report on each team is below.

 

The Club has a great record in this competition having won the trophy for the last two seasons, so anticipation and expectation was high for the first round. 

The Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup currently held by Bath Street 1, and below Ken Jackson the team captain being presented with the cup last season by
Mrs Marjorie Murphy.

Bath Street 1

 

The current holders of the Frank Murphy Cup, Bath Street 1, captained by Club No.1 Ken Jackson, were drawn away from home to a strong Cadwa 1 team, who had themselves come through, perhaps rather fortuitously, a Preliminary Round to take their place in Round 1. Although captain Ken Jackson and his fellow team members Ricky Brown and Darren Taylor faced having to make up a handicap deficit of 140 points, Ken has a tremedous record in this competition and is rightly known as 'relentless' when it comes to chasing down a handicap and inspiring his team members to do the same. It still took until the end of the 7th set before the gap was closed and for the first time the visitors were just ahead. And they didn't look back finishing 69 points ahead at 314:383. The highlight of the night? Undoubtedly Darren Taylor sharing the honours with his namesake, higher ranked opponent and Cadwa No.1 Peter Taylor just pipping him 39:41 to ensure that 17 out of the 18 games played were won by the visitors. An excellent start to the Bath Street team's campaign to retain the cup.     

Bath Street 2

 

After numerous changes the eventual Bath Street 2 team comprised of Graham Turner (captain), Ian McElwee and Julia Cornish facing a potentially difficult fixture away to St Annes, led by former club member and winner in this competition Dave Bradley. Being a new team, having to make up a handicap deficit of 144 points and being the last club team to play in the week the team were under a little bit of pressure. But all 3 of the visitors started well, especially Julia who matched the home No.1 Dave Bradley in her first visit to the table sharing a game each, with Dave just ahead on points 36:34. But that was the only real glimmer of hope for the home side and by the end of set 7 the deficit had been cleared and the visitors were just 3 ahead. In the end it was 2:16 in games to the visitors with the Bath Street team winning by 414:456 points to complete the clean sweep for the club's teams.  

Bath Street 3, with captain Barry Davis, Ted Cramsie and new member Dave Roberts. 

Bath Street 4

 

An all new side comprising of Keith Dudley (captain), Fred Bainbridge and Billy 'the legend' Clayton faced one of the potentailly strongest sides in the competition Wavertree Labour 1, who featured two top division one stars in their line-up both sporting their official England Vets tracksuits. With a handicap advantage of just 77 points against such illustrious opponents this looked like being a tough evening. And what an excellent close match it proved to be. Fred proved a match for both of his fellow Div 1 opponents beating Dave Harse, and sharing the honours with Phil Luxon, enabling him to amass 121 points, just 4 less than the home No.1 Phil Luxon. But perhaps the key contribution was the 51 points that Keith managed to win against his division one opponents an excellent achievement. Although in the end Wavertree won 10:8 in games once the points were tallied and the handicaps taken into account the Bath Street team had the match in the bag 366:397, a very fine win.  

The Bath Street 5 Team of Brian Crolley, Peter Ashley and Dave Noden.

Bath Street 6

 

Having spent Christmas and the New Year in Canada Dave Stoddern spent his first full day back in the UK leading his team into cup action at Waterloo, joined by team mates Rob Peat and Colin Mitchell. The only one of the Club's 7 teams formed from a single league team! So would this be their 'Waterloo' after the Christmas break away from the game? They also faced a handicap deficit of 176 points to make up against a very useful Waterloo side. All of the team however set about their work well, but by the end of set 8 they were still 11 points behind. Big pressure on the team No.1 Rob Peat as he faced the opposing No.1 to decide the match outcome. But by the end of the first game it was clear that Stuart McGee for Waterloo was no match for Rob who duly took the set by a clear 22 points to leave the visitors with a narrow winning advantage 397:408. An excellent outcome. 

Bath Street 7

 

You might say that Bath Street 7, captained by Mary Delamere, are old hands at this competition, because they had already faced a Preliminary Round encounter, away to second division players in the from of Cadwa 2, to get into Round 1. In that Preliminary Round match the team of Mary, Barbara Alcock and Tom Bell really made the most of their 278 point handicap advantage, preventing the home side from recovering the handicap deficit. Even though they lost all 9 sets to the much higher ranked opponents they did enough to leave the Cadwa side still 57 points adrift when the 'fat lady sang'. It was a great win and a most enjoyable evening. Arguably, Barbara was the 'man of the match' in this one, her contribution of 64 points won over the 3 sets left Cadwa with a mountain to climb, one which proved just to much for them. Mary had to replace herself for the Round 1 match, for some reason husband Tony's birthday took priority!? Des Logan stepped in to lead the team in the visit to Sefton Park 2. With both teams coming from the same division of the league this looked and proved to be a much closer encounter. However Bath Street had a small advantage on handicap of 60 points and that was to prove vital, against the slightly higher placed home side. To show just how close this match was, of the 18 games played the final tally was 10:8 in favour of Sefton Park, but in the end the 111 points scored by man of the match Tom Bell was just enought to allow the visitors to hang on to their handicap advantage and finish a most enjoyable evening 13 points ahead. The score card opposite shows the full story. The only slight sadness of the evening was hearing of the fact that one of the long time Sefton team members Alan Staniland is currently very seriously ill in hospital. The visitors conveyed their genuine messages of support for Alan to the Sefton Club Secretary Eric Wood and asked that he pass them on to the family. 

Bath Street 3

 

Last years runners-up captained by Barry Davis faced both a change to their team number and the make up of the team. Dave Roberts coming in to join Barry & Ted Cramsie and replacing Tony Kendall who had decided to take a break from this competition this year. But the team had a strong tradition to maintain having been runners up last season and the champions the year before. They also faced a very tough away fixture to a strong Merseyside Police 2 team with a handicap advantage of 191 points. The highest handicap deficit any Bath Street team faced in Round 1 of the competition. By the end of set 7 the visitors were still trailing by 30 points despite having won all of the games up to that point. Captain Barry had made the slightly unusual decision to place his best player, Dave, at No.2 in the team order, but this meant he played the penultimate set needed to close the gap. And he duly obliged taking the visitors into a 3 point lead. But this left Ted to face the home No.1 in the last game of the evening to decide the match. Ted dropped the first game leaving just 1 point between the teams. So the match would go to the wire, winner of the last game of the night takes all. A nervy finish saw Ted just edge through 17:21 to give the Bath Street team a deserved 5 point win 376:381, what a match.

Not sporting their England tracksuits, Fred Bainbridge, Keith Dudley and Billy Clayton - The Bath Street 4 Team at Wavertree Labour.

Bath Street 5

 

Being the first team to play in the week placed additional pressure on the newly formed Bath Street 5 captained by Dave Noden and assisted by Brian Crolley and Peter Ashley, another all new combination. But at least they were at home with Marconi 2 being the visitors. The handicaps gave the visitors an advantage of 130 points, a fair amount to have to make up. After all three home players had played two sets each, the gap had closed with the home team just 8 points behind. It was captain Dave who then stepped up to take the home side into a clear lead winning his last singles by 42:12. Both Brian and Peter then added to the lead in the final two singles leaving the home side with a winning score of 483:418. A good match and a very promising strong start by this new Bath Street side.

The Bath Street  6 Team of Colin Mitchell, Rob Peat and Captain Dave Stoddern. 

Conclusion 

 

What a week for the Club's teams in Round 1 of the Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup! Played 7 matches, won 7! Surely this must be a record to get all 7 of the Club's teams through the first round? This will mean that almost 50% of the teams in Round 2 will be Bath Street teams an incredible achievement. Maybe we should 'play away' more often? Congratulations to all of our teams and the team captains for delivering an exceptional result. The next round starts on the 25th January - watch this space! 

© BSMTTC 2015