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News Release - BSMTTC News 67
Dateline: 09 September 2017

Newcomers shine!

It was new members to the Club that shone through in the 2017 Club Tournament held for the first time in the splendid arena of the Anfield Sports & Community Centre on Saturday 2nd September, with Finals Night held at Marine on Wednesday 6 September. The whole event proved to be a feast of table tennis in which everyone got plenty of play from the youngest, 9 year old Archie Mason to the eldest Archie's granddad, Des Logan aged 82! Table tennis remains one of the few sports that is truly for ALL, ages and abilities, and Bath Street Table Tennis Club certainly proves how true that is!

Largest participation ever!

36 members of the Club took part in the tournament this year, the largest number participating since the tournament began in 2013. And what is more, the tournament has been won by someone different every time! The event was inaugurated to honour the memory of former long serving Club Secretary Ron Georgeson, and has proved to be a great success since. There are three events; the main event, the Handicap Singles; a consolation singles for those that lose in the first round of the Main Event; and a Fun Doubles mixing people of vastly different abilities. It was one of the Club's newest members Colin Turner, who has literally only just joined, who proved to be the find of the tournament reaching the Final of both the Main Event and the Fun Doubles.

The Ron Georgeson Memorial Shield was the main focus of attention for the 2017 Club Tournament held at Anfield Sports Centre with Finals Night at Marine.

Fun Doubles

The first event of the Saturday afternoon was the Fun Doubles, ensuring that every member present was on a table playing right from the start. The event was organized into 4 groups with each group playing on 2 tables, and each match being the best of 3 games played up to 11. The pairings were set by the organizing team of Dave Noden (Club Tournament Secretary) and Graham Turner (Club Secretary) and, in the main, aimed to match a strong player with a not so strong player! A few last minute changes to people attending meant some may have been at a slight disadvantage but looking at the 4 groups the scene was set for some excellent competition.

Group 1 found itself with 6 pairs playing in 2 sub-groups of 3, with the winner of each group then playing off for the top spot in the group. With only the group winner proceeding through to the semi-final players had to be 'up for it' right from the start. No.1 seed and highest ranked player present Matt Wilson found himself partnering 9 year old Archie Mason, and what a start they made. After loosing their opening game against Keith Dudley & Steve McCormick they went on to take the next 2 for a 2:1 win. But Keith & Steve made the most of this warm up dispatching Graham Turner and 12 year old Hugh Frediani-Bellis 2:0 in the next set. Graham & Hugh were however able to turn the tables on Matt & Archie with their own 2:0 win. This meant all 3 pairs had won 1 each. However Keith & Steve had won the most games so proceeded into the Group 1 play-off. In the other half of Group 1, an 'Ian Brownrigg' look-alike was needed for the first two matches (as Ian couldn't get to the venue for the start). Ricky Brown stepped in to partner Jenny Givens ensuring 2 wins in the sub-group first beating Darren Taylor & Mary James (who had only really come to watch husband Martin!)  2:0 and completing their victory with a 2:1 win over Andrew Armstrong & Martin James. Ian however arrived in time for the group play-off, but maybe Jenny wishes she could have stuck with Ricky, as with her new teammate she lost 2:0 to Keith & Steve.

Group 2 saw more very interesting matches and a surprise outcome. Featuring 3 relative newcomers to the Club and 4 of the 6 matches going the full distance. The first surprise in this group was that the Club No.2 seed Fred Bainbridge partnering Doreen Smith found themselves at the bottom of the pile when all the results were in. By contrast 2 new comers, Ray Hibbs - just starting his second season with the club - partnered with Mark Benson a complete new comer to competitive table tennis who has joined the club this summer, looked a match for anyone picking up 2 wins. The group also had an all ladies pair with 22 year old Urszula Kuczek partnering birthday girl Migs Morris (Migs enjoyed her birthday at Marine Finals Night on Wednesday - and brought in chocolate cake!). This pair also looked useful but in the end managed just 1 win. This left the surprise package of Lesley Blanchard partnered with 13 year old Euan Mason to take control of the group winning all 3 of their matches.

Here's a few pictures from the Fun Doubles, see who you can spot

Fun Doubles

Group 3 contained more newcomers and very interesting pairs. Including the family pair of 12 year old Finn Mason with his granddad 82 year old Des Logan! les Dodd, a previous singles semi-finalist was paired with Sue Young playing in her first club tournament . Chris Jago, who had come primarily to watch his son play, stepped in at the last minute to fill in for absent Ted Cramsie to partner Keith Hardman and two newcomers Colin Turner and Mary Sefton, both playing in their first club tournament took the final spot in the group. And again 4 of the 6 matches needed all 3 games to decide the set with some very close results throughout, 6 out of 16 games played in the group finishing either 11:9 or 12:10. one might have expected the family pairing to do well, but strangely they finished third with just 1 match win. Les and Sue fared little better but did manage to win a game in every set. Chris and Keith put in a great effort winning their first 2 matches but couldn't match up to the eventual group winners in their final set, allowing Colin & Mary to notch up wins in all 3 of their matches to put them in the group winners spot. The beam of delight on Mary's face lit up the hall!

Group 4 is a complete mystery! Somehow the final record sheet for the group disappeared after the result had been entered on the chart. The most interesting thing about this group is that of the 3 pairs which included a senior player none won the group, and it was left to 2 newcomers Bernard Cooney with his 13 year old partner Nathan Jago to take the top spot, but only after loosing their opening encounter against Peter Ashley and Tony Rimmer over 3 ends.

Fun Doubles - Tables for Groups 1 & 2. And below the table for Group 3. But no idea what happened to the table for Group 4!

The Fun Doubles - Semi-Finals

Strangely, after so many close group matches the two semi-finals seem to have been quite straightforward affairs! At the top of the draw Keith Dudley & Steve McCormick, the winners of group 1, took on Euan Mason & Lesley Blanchard, the winners of group 2. This looked a fairly even contest, however by now Steve was really getting into the groove allowing Keith & Steve to win out 2:0 (11:5, 11:3). The second semi-final featured the winners of group 3 Colin Turner & Mary Sefton against Bernard Cooney & Nathan Jago, the winners of group 4. As the underdog of the 4 players all Mary needed to do was to get the ball back, and leave the rest to Colin. This she did with growing confidence, the result 2:0 to Colin & Mary (11:3, 11:4). The stage was set for the Final.

The Main Event

The main event, The Ron Georgeson Memorial Handicap Singles started out with 8 groups, 6 groups of 4 players and 2 groups of 6, playing on 10 tables. This meant that once again everyone was in action from the start. And in this event every single point counted as each set, comprising of playing 5 games, would be decided by who won the most matches and points - including handicap - not who won the most games! There was at least one set where a player won all 5 games in the set and still lost the match, by allowing his opponent to score too many points once the handicap was taken into account! In each group the top two would go through to the next round and the third placed player given a second chance in the Consolation Singles. The number of places up for grabs only served to emphasize how important every point was.

The tables opposite of this first round of matches tell their own story. With perfect hindsight a couple of things are clear. Not everyone can add up points won and lost accurately; and there was a wide variety of approaches to applying the handicap system - suggesting inadequate instruction was provided! Not having a full time person on the control table versed in how the event operated was probably the main factor not adequately considered by the organizers! Despite that, amazingly, everything went just about right, and the right outcomes were achieved in the end! Well, more or less! A special thanks needs to be recorded here to Phil Morris. He had only come to watch his wife play, but ended up as a table runner, and control sheet maintenance man. And a splendid job he did too! 

The Main Event

The 2nd Round of matches gave some very close results. In the top half of the draw, No.1 seed Matt Wilson showed no mercy against 12 year old Finn Mason winning out 55:44. New boy Colin Turner had to work all the way to overcome the handicap against Andrew Armstrong narrowly winning 55:52.  Dave Noden was equally remorseless against 12 year old Hugh Frediani-Bellis going though 55:41. And No.3 seed Ian McElwee just triumphed over Chris Jago at 55:52.

In the bottom half of the draw there were perhaps 3 surprise results. The No.5 seed Darren Taylor lost out to Les Dodd 52:55 and 13 year old Euan Mason drew with Club Secretary Graham Turner and as the lower ranked player qualified for 1 added point under the tie breaker rule to win 49:48. Seeded Urszula Kuczek couldn't overcome the 7 point handicap in favour of Ray Hibbs, Ray going through 55:47. This left Peter Ashley to complete the quarter final line up with a more straightforward 55:46 win over new boy Mark Benson.

There is no doubt that the top match in the Quarter Final was a scintillating affair between two very well matched players, Matt Wilson (the No.1) seed and new boy Colin Turner. Colin started with a +5 handicap advantage and after 4 ends was still 3points ahead. Who can say what happened in the 5th and final end! Somehow Colin didn't score a point! Matt going through 49:41. Also in the top half of the draw Ian McElwee saw off tournament organizer Dave Noden by a 55:41 score line. In the bottom half of the draw Les Dodd was ruthless min finishing off the challenge of 13 year old Euan Mason 55:43 and perhaps surprisingly Ray Hibbs made short work of Peter Ashley 52:38 perhaps indicating Peter's dislike of playing against more defensively minded players. The scene was set for the semi-finals. 

The Consolation Singles - Plate

For those just loosing out in the group stage of the Main Event - the 8 players finishing 3rd in each group - there was to be a second chance, a separate mini-tournament, played by the same handicap rules as the main event. First Steve McCormick, with a handicap advantage of +3 took on Bernard Cooney. Both new players to the club, and by now Steve was really starting to play well, he dropped just one end on his way to a 54:32 victory. 13 year old Nathan Jago proved more than a match for the vastly experienced Des Logan coming through 55:33 without any handicap advantage. The most experienced player in the line-up, Keith Dudley, had little trouble against Ray O'Leary, even with Ray having a +17 handicap start, winning out 55:26 and Keith Hardman achieved a narrower victory over Mary Sefton 54:44. Once more the stage was set for the semi-finals.

With the time moving on rapidly, a decision was taken to hold the 4 singles semi-finals together with the 3 finals on a separate Finals Night. About which there is an separate report! All in all it was a great afternoon of table tennis, played in the magnificent facilities of the Anfield Sports Centre. Hopefully they will let us come back again next year.......... so we'll leave you with a few more pictures from Saturday and catch up again with a report about Finals Night.

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