Dateline: 11 May 2017
News Release - BSMTTC News 64
The Liverpool & District Table Tennis League's Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup is coming home to Marine! For the third time in four years Bath Street Marine has won this trophy. Success this year came with Keith Dudley's BSM 5 Team of Keith (Captain), Les Dodd and Peter Ashley in a thrilling final against Bootle YMCA.
The Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup, generously sponsored by Mrs Marjorie Murphy and members of the family, is coming home to Marine who have been the winners of the cup for 3 out of the last 4 seasons. A tremendous achievement.
Great Team Work!
Having already secured the league and cup double in Division 4 of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League, Keith Dudley's team of himself, Les Dodd and Peter Ashley faced Bootle YMCA (Steve Daniels, Shakil Malik and John Taylor) in the final of the Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup. A competition for players of all standards in which the club has a very strong tradition having won the trophy 3 times in the last 4 years including two occasions when the final was contested between two teams from the club. With both teams featuring players from mid divisions this looked like being a very even contest. Having won the toss the Bath Street team elected to be the away side and for this match chose Peter Ashley as their No.1 to open proceedings facing the Bootle No.2, and their best player, Shakil Malik. Featuring two players from Division 3 and 1 from Division 5 the Bootle side looked to have a slight advantage on paper and the overall handicap difference of just 24 points in favour of Marine, whose team comprised 3 players from Division 4, albeit the top of that division, fairly reflected that fact.
Both players started nervously in the opening set, 2 games played up to 21 points, but it was Shakil who settled into his stride quicker bringing a range of defensive and attacking shots into the mix to great effect. A series of missed forehand shots did little to boost Peter's confidence allowing the Bootle player to take first blood and 15 points off of the deficit. Les was next up against the Bootle No.3 John Taylor and was able to restore the BSM lead and add a further 4 points. In the first game of the next set it looked as if Bootle would quickly eradicate the handicap disadvantage as Steve Daniels raced through against Keith. But somehow Keith managed to claw his way back into the set and against the odds took the second end so that the Bootle side were only able to wipe 8 points off the deficit. A brilliant comeback by Keith.
1. The Winning Team - Bath Street Marine 5 - Captain Keith Dudley, with the cup, surrounded by Peter Ashley, Cup Sponsor Marjorie Murphy, Les Dodd, and match official L&DTTL Vice Chairman and Cup Secretary Stan Clarke.
2. The Runners-Up - Bootle YMCA - Shakil Malik, Steve Daniels and John Taylor with Marjorie Murphy and Stan Clarke.
3. The Match score card.
4. Group photo of both teams, the match officials and the sponsors
A sight never seen before this season! Les Dodd's legs! Only rarely is Les seen without his jumper, but on this special occasion he was fully ready for action in club shirt and shorts!
Mid match jitters!
In set 4 the Marine side were again able to take advantage of the weaker Bootle third player, but Bottle immediately struck back with Shakil taking a big win over Keith who was not able to repeat his earlier resistance against the best Bootle player. Then when Steve Daniels seemed to cope well with Les's unusual style in set 6 and make his own winning shots to record a seemingly fairly comfortable win, it looked as if the Bootle side were in the ascendancy having pulled ahead for the first time in the match by just 3 points, and the top two Bootle players still had a set each to play. In the contest of the two No.3's Keith was able to come out with a clear win taking the Bath St side back in front by 11. The odds though seemed to be firmly in favour of the Bootle with their top two players in the last two sets.
Sometimes you can just be so wrong! Having lost to Steve Daniels few thought the outcome would be any different for Les against the best Bootle player, Shakil. Just as well no one told Les that. He played out of his skin to produce one of the best results of the night a 2 straight victory in a really tight match and an addition of 9 points to the margin between the two teams. When one has performed on the world stage in the past perhaps it is easier to overcome the nerves of the final and Les certainly seemed to do that with a tremendous fighting performance. Marine were now 20 points ahead with just 1 set to go, but this looked no certainty and Steve Daniels had already won against Keith and Les. So a match that started with Peter was about to end with Peter. And what a finish! Saving his very best to last Peter smashed through Steve in game 1 to make it impossible for a Bootle comeback. Steve fared little better in game 2 as Peter recorded his best match of the night with a 27 point win. An incredible result.
So, it was game set and match to the Marine Boys adding a further 23 points to the handicap advantage to give a decisive 47 point winning margin. A brilliant team effort. The full scorecard is below. It was an excellent, hard fought, sporting match played in the best spirit of competitive table tennis.