News Release - BSMTTC News 84
Dateline: 10 September 2018
Another New Season!
On Monday, 10 September, the 2018/19 season of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League begins! Once again the Club will have 8 teams spread across the 5 divisions of the League. And, with the League retaining the 14 team structure for each division it again looks as if it will be a long season. Seems to be getting more and more like football every year. At this rate we will no doubt soon have players complaining of too many matches! Although the club has been in the transfer market very few new signings have so far arisen. We remain hopeful however that something may transpire before the window closes!
In the meantime let's take a quick peak at all the teams and assess their prospects.
1st Team (Division 1)
We have a new 1st Team this year in the form of Matt Wilson, Colin Turner and Captain Barry Davis. With only Barry having had any experience at this level of the L&DTTL the team can expect to struggle, but in all 3 players they have people who are capable of winning games. They also have potentially good support available from the A team. Expect all 3 players to feature in the majority of matches, but if the Club could secure a new talent in the transfer window there could be a good opportunity for them to join this new squad in a bid to retain first division status. In the absence of any enhancement the team will do well to hold onto their place in the Division.
A Team (Division 1)
The loss of long time team captain Dave Roberts (in the centre of the picture), who is currently out of action due to health issues, has led to an uncertain position for the team which will be captained for the first time by Dermot Tierney. Much will depend on how regularly they can get their best side out and how often Keith Williams is able to play. Expect the team to feature Dermot, Claire Peers and Ken Jackson returning to the top division after a year’s absence. All are players capable of winning performances. If they can get their best team out and if Keith can put in some winning performances, then they should be comfortably mid-table come the end of the season. The team are also still looking at the transfer window to see if they can bolster their resources, but top quality players are often hard to find at this point in time.
B Team (Division 3)
It was no surprise to find this team demoted from division 2. Returning to their more normal haunts of Div 3 should suit Andy Cheung, Mal Kent and Captain Brian Crolley. This team has now been together for several seasons and knows division 3 well, but this is now a very strong division so the team will have to fight hard to stay in the middle of the table. Expect a finish around 8th. One thing is for certain, with Brian involved every opponent will know they have been in a match come the end of the evening, and the match will have been played in the best spirit throughout. The team will start their campaign in their 'away strip', proudly displayed in our picture, but will have to wait until the second week of the season before they start, as one of many 'No Match' weeks forms their fixture in the opening week of the season. With 3 club teams in this division it could be the derby matches which make all the difference.
C Team (Division 3)
Captain Dave Noden is another who has been active in the transfer market during the closed season. And this time has got his business done early, bringing back into the squad 28 year old Josh Taylor. Josh will be a very welcome addition to the team, returning to the club after a short break developing his family! He should add strength to the side which will once again be very competitive at this level. Having finished 4th in the division last season if Dave's fitness holds and Darren is able to manage any conflicting calls on his time then the team can once again be expected to challenge for top places in a fiercely competitive division. The added strength in depth should be a good help and they still have quality reserves below, which they can call on if necessary.
D Team (Division 3)
Captain Ian McElwee may be forgiven for wondering what is going on with his squad. One minute it looks as if he has a very strong team and the next he is wondering if he has a team at all! Hopefully by the day of the first match all will have been resolved. Expect Ian and Dave Stoddern to spearhead the team, but for the moment who will be the third player is a matter of speculation. Ongoing activity in the transfer market may resolve that or Ian may find that he has to draw on a number of part time players to fill the gap. In truth this team was robbed last season of runner-up spot in the division but could do equally well this season if they can secure a regular No.3. Keep an eye open for their progress, especially when it comes to the multiple derbies in division 3!
E Team (Division 4)
Team Captain Andrew Armstrong will start the season with a squad of just 4 players, bringing in 14 year old Euan Mason to replace the aging Graham Turner. Keith Dudley, returning to full time play, and Peter Ashley will join him. This means however that Peter, Keith and Andrew will all move up in the team order in what is already a highly competitive division with some very strong players in the top half of all of the teams. The team may therefore struggle to hold their place in the middle ranks of the division and could even find that they are fighting off a relegation battle. But young Euan is continuing to improve fast and if he can quickly pick his game up for this higher level then the team should be safe. At the moment they have very little help they can call on if the going does get tough!
F & G Teams (Division 5)
There have been changes in the teams for Division 5 for this season. And hopefully this should ensure that at least one of the teams features in the top half of the division rather than both supporting the remainder of the league! Mark Benson takes on the captaincy of the F Team this season and will start the season with Graham Turner, new boy Sunil Sapre and Steve McCormick. If all 4 can play regularly and if they can all eliminate the basic playing errors to which they are prone then this team is capable of finishing in the top half of the division. They will also have support from fast improving juniors Finn Mason and Hugh Frediani-Bellis, so keep an eye out for this teams progress.
Keith Hardman who captained the F Team last season, takes over from Des Logan to run the 'squad' which is the G Team. With so many choices available the issue for Keith is exactly who to play! And to a large extent that may depend on who is available. We can expect however that regular appearances will be made by Tony Rimmer, Barbara Alcock and Tom Bell and there is plenty of improving talent on the bench. There should be no problem in fielding 4 players, but the distinct absence of a quality No.1 could hinder the side. Once again activity in the transfer market may help, and the return to the UK from Jersey of Stuart Reid should provide a welcome boost. The main aim of the team will be to get themselves off of the bottom of the division. But can they do it.....???
All that remains is to wish all of our teams the very best for the new season. Results and comments for all of our teams will be found on the club website throughout the season and also on the official LIverpool League website on TT365 at https://www.tabletennis365.com/Liverpool. What is certain is that everyone visiting Marine can be assured of a warm welcome and every match will be played in the best spirit of table tennis and accompanied by a decent cup of tea!