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News Release - BSMTTC News 68
Dateline: 11 September 2017

Finals Night

After a great Saturday afternoon of table tennis at the Anfield Sports & Community Centre the Finals of the Club 2017 Tournament had to be deferred until Wednesday 6 September at Marine, and what a feast of table tennis it proved to be for the numerous members who came to watch. Just 7 matches but all of the highest quality, with newcomers to the club making their first appearances in finals of the club tournament.


What's more, as is fitting for the club, a feast of table tennis was followed by a feast of food, plus chocolate cake provided by member Migs Morris celebrating her birthday at Marine on Finals Night. A most fitting way to celebrate!

The Club Tournament was started in 2013 to the memory of former Club Secretary, Ron Georgeson, and has been won by someone different each year since! The main event is The Ron Georgeson Memorial Handicap Singles  for which the Memorial Shield shown above is presented. 

The Plate

First up were the 2 semi-finals of the consolation singles, an event for those who just missed out in the 1st round of the Main Event. It's never easy to be first on, and for relative newcomer Keith Hardman to face the vastly experienced and most successful club captain from 2016/17, Keith Dudley, in the first match was a particularly tough call - even with a handicap advantage of +15. Keith H did his best but he was simply no match for his senior clubmate; Keith D being the first to make his way into a final, 55:31.

Next up was undoubtedly the closest match of the evening. Newcomer Steve McCormick facing 13 year old Nathan Jago, with Steve receiving a handicap advantage of +6. Steve stole the first end 11:9 but in the next 4 ends Nathan fought for every single point taking them all, albeit that 2 ends were just by a single point margin. When all the points were added and the handicap taken into account the scores were even 53:53. Under the tie breaker rule the lower ranked player is given 1 extra point. Being the lower ranked player Steve got the decision. A great match. 

The four semi-finalists in the Consolation Plate; Keith Dudley, Keith Hardman, Nathan Jago and Steve McCormick. The last 3 are all relative newcomers to the Club. 

The Handicap Trophy - Semi-Finals

Next on were the two semi-finals of the Main Event, and arguably these were the two best matches of the night. In the first, Colin Turner, himself brought in to replace No.1 seed Matt Wilson who had to pull out at the last minute as he was unwell, faced Club Chairman and former winner of the trophy Ian McElwee. With Ian having a handicap advantage of +5 this was a difficult match to call as Colin is still an unknown quantity at the club. This match saw some first class play from both players. Strong attacking from Colin with great countering, defense and variation from Ian. Colin took the first 2 ends, Ian fought back to take the 3rd to leave the points scores even. Colin stuck to his strong attacking game to take the next 2 ends, so that when all the points were added he was the winner 52:45. There is a short clip from this match on the right. 

Colin Turner - far end, v Ian Mcelwee - near end; a clip from game 5 of their semi-final encounter, one of the best matches of Finals Night.

The second semi-final was between Les Dodd and Ray Hibbs. Ray playing in a club tournament for the first time, having come to the club as a part time player last season.  With no handicap advantage for either player it was simply a question of who could perform best on the night between two evenly matched players. One thing you can say about Les is that he always seems to rise to the big occasion, perhaps it comes from his history of appearing on the world stage in his days as a top snooker player. Les also has a style all of his own, and it can take some working out. Les took the first 3 ends and a 6 point lead, but Ray struck back leaving the scores even after 4 ends. This looked like a black ball match - all on the final end. Once more Les rose to the occasion, the final score 49:44.

The Finals

And so we come to the 3 Finals. First, the Fun Doubles. Great to see here three players new to the club featuring in the final, including one full team. The great thing about the Fun Doubles is that it gives a chance to players of all abilities as all of the pairs usually contain 2 players of quite different ability. This was certainly the case in this final. With the vastly experienced Keith Dudley accompanied by newcomer Steve McCormick; and singles finalist Colin Turner paired with complete beginner Mary Sefton. And with the only handicap being your partner this match would be decided entirely by who performed best in the one-off match; the best of 5 games up to 11. Steve may not have played much competitive table tennis but he has a good idea on how to play the game and his growing confidence was evident in the first end which Keith & Steve won. But Colin & Mary stormed back in the 2nd with Colin making his big winning shots count. But Keith & Steve were not going to be bullied into submission by Colin's greater power, and fought for every point in the next two ends giving them a 3:1 victory 11:8, 3:11, 11:8, 11:7. An excellent match and an excellent win.

It looks like Ray Hibbs is indicating that Les Dodd was the victor in their semi-final encounter of the Ron Georgeson Memorial Handicap Trophy. Les won 49:44.

Colin Turner, Mary Sefton, Steve McCormick and Keith Dudley - the finalists in the Fun Doubles. Steve & Keith won 3:1

The Finals

The first of the singles finals, the Consolation Plate, featured two players who had already played in the doubles, but this time playing against each other. Keith Dudley against Steve McCormick and with Steve on a +13 handicap advantage. With both players already having had a fair warm up, this looked like being another good match. Steve started off nervously allowing Keith a comfortable first game win, but fought back taking the second by a single point. The next two games were very even so that by the end of game 4 Steve was still ahead, with his handicap, by just 1 point. All to play for. Steve threw all of his effort into the last game, but Keith is a great retriever and just seemed to get everything back. Still it was very close, Keith taking the last game 11:8 to give himself the Consolation Trophy 54:52.

The Finals

And so to the highlight of the evening, the Ron Georgeson Memorial Handicap Singles Final between new boy, Colin Turner, and snooker ace Les Dodd. Two more contrasting styles of table tennis you couldn't possibly imagine. With a +20 point handicap advantage Les looked to be in with a real shout and it would need a monumental effort and total concentration to overcome him. Both players started slightly tentatively with the first game fairly even at 11:9 in favour of Les, extending his overall advantage. But by now Colin was starting to get the hang of Les's rather unusual style, taking the next 3 games with room to spare. So that, by the end of the 4th game Les was just 1 point ahead. Colin kept up the momentum, and try as he might Les just could not find that additional winning shot to put Colin under extra pressure. A four point winning margin in the final game giving Colin the title at the first time of asking 53 points:50. A very fitting final match to a very enjoyable evening of table tennis.  

The trophy presentations on Finals Night were made by Club President Billy Clayton, assisted by Tournament Organizer Dave Noden, who had done a great job on the night and generally in bringing the event together. Beneath you can see the presentations of each event:-

The Fun Doubles - Colin Turner and Mary Sefton (Runners-Up) and Steve McCormick and Keith Dudley (Winners)

The Consolation Plate - Steve McCormick (Runner-Up) and Keith Dudley (Winner)

The Ron Georgeson Memorial Handicap Trophy - Les Dodd (Runner Up) and Colin Turner (Winner).

If you weren't fortunate enough to be playing in Finals Night, maybe you were in the large crowd watching? So below are a few random pictures from the night, courtesy of our brilliant photographer Ray Hibbs. But first, our thanks go to Tournament Organizer Dave Noden for all of his work in organizing the event......however, is this really what he thought of Finals Night.....

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