Dateline: 15 January 2017
News Release - BSMTTC News 57
Last week saw the 1st Round proper of the L&DTTL Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup competition. A competition in which the Club has traditionally done well. This team competition mixes players of all standards, with a match comprising of 9 sets of singles, each set being 2 games played up to 21 points. Each team has a handicap and at the end of the match the team with the most points, including any handicap, is the winner.
The Club had 6 teams in the competition this year. However 2, including our 1st team, faced Preliminary Round matches before Christmas. And strangely enough both matches were against teams from Sefton Park TTC.
Above, Bath Street 2 (Barry Davis, Colin Mitchell & Dave Stoddern (captain)) and Bath Street 6 (Liz Adams, Billy Clayton & Barbara Alcock) both teams suffered an exit from the cup at the first hurdle.
Dave Noden centre, captained Bath Street 3 in the Vets Cup and faced a difficult draw away to Merseyside Police 1. He chose his league team colleagues Darren Taylor and Ted Cramsie to join him for this match.
First to play in the Preliminary Round was Bath Street 4, captained by Mary Delamere and featuring Tony Bramham, Julia Cornish and Tom Bell on the night in a visit to Sefton Park. The Bath Street team started with a handicap advantage of 63 points against opposition of a similar level. After a very close opening set in which honours were shared, 4 sets slipped away far too cheaply so that by the end of the 5th set the home team had cleared the handicap and taken a small lead. Julia did her best to get the team back on course, but neither she nor Tony in his final set could win by enough margin to restore the team fortunes. Winning 12 games to 6 the home team finished 16 points ahead to eliminate the Bath Street side.
The very next day it was the turn of the Bath Street 1st Team to entertain visitors from Sefton Park. The team of Ricky Brown (captain), Dave Roberts and Ian McElwee faced a quite mixed ability visiting side and also a massive handicap deficit of 210 points to make up. There could be no room for error or careless play to overcome this deficit but on paper it looked as if it might just be possible. It meant that the home team had to limit the visitors to scoring no more than 167 points on the table, around 18 per set. By the end, despite winning all 18 games played, the match was determined by 3 loose sets where vital points were conceded, leaving the home team still 12 points behind. The Club's top team were out of the competition really before it began!
The Club was therefore left with just 4 teams in the 1st Round proper. Bath Street 2, 3 & 5 all played on Thursday evening.
At home, Bath Street 2 captained by Dave Stoddern, faced a visit from fellow division 2 side East Wavertree 2. With a handicap advantage of just 17 points this was a match that would have to be fought out on the table. After just 2 sets the handicap advantage was gone, and in reality so was the match. With 13 games to 5 going in favour of the visitors and quite surprisingly only 2 going to the home No.1 Barry Davis, it was no surprise to find the East Wavertree visitors 60 points ahead come the end of the match
Bath Street 3, playing on the same night, however fared much better, even though their captain Dave Noden tried his best to give the home side a reasonable chance! On paper a visit to Merseyside Police 1, a club with top first division players in its ranks, looked like a tough assignment. However the visitors were encouraged to find their opponents were of a similar standard and with just 13 points separating the teams on handicap in favour of the Police team this was another match that would be settled fair and square on the table. Darren Taylor for the Bath Street team has enjoyed considerable success in this competition in recent years and on the night his contribution shone through, winning all 6 of his singles games. Ted Cramsie contributed a further 5 winning games and captain Dave added another 2. A margin of 13 games to 5 in favour of the visitors meant that by the end of the match the visitors were a comfortable 42 points ahead in what had been an excellent contest.
The third match on Thursday saw Keith Dudley (captain), Peter Ashley and Les Dodd as Bath Street 5 visiting Cadwa. There they faced an experienced team of 2nd & 3rd division players but enjoyed a handicap advantage of 109 points. The first 4 sets all went to the home side who at that stage looked to be closing the gap and moving towards victory. But in the next 4 sets captain Keith and Peter won a game against the odds in each set with some tenacious play, so that by the final set the home team could no longer close the gap. Keith leading his team to a 44 point victory.
The final club match in the 1st Round was on Friday with Bath Street 6, captained by Des Logan, at home to Merseyside Police 2 a good side of players from the top of the 4th division. Des chose Barbara Alcock, Liz Adams and Billy Clayton for this match which gave the team a handicap advantage of 109 points. However with just 1 game out of the 18 going to the home side, a win for Billy, the visitors were gradually able to work away the handicap advantage and by the end they were a clear 48 points ahead. The Bath Street team were out of the cup
Overall it has been a tough cup week for the Club with just 2 teams left to fight another day.
Keith Dudley, Les Dodd and Peter Ashley, Bath Street 5, one of just 2 Bath Street teams to taste success in the 1st Round of the Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup.