News Release - BSMTTC News 97
Dateline: 07 September 2019
Great Day Brings Triumph!
Although the turn out was slightly lower than normal, those who did take part in the annual club tournament held on Saturday 7 September, at the excellent Anfield Sports & Community Centre facilities, had a great day out and plenty of opportunities to play table tennis in the 3 events.
Just over 70 sets of table tennis were played on the day, and for the first time some smooth organisation by 'Doug & Phil' on the control table enabled Tournament Director, Lesley Blanchard, to ensure that the whole event was completed on the day. Of the 24 players who took part, a third were women and the age spectrum covered from 13 to 80+! There was some great play, and another new champion crowned!
The tournament was started in 2013 to honour the memory of former long serving Club Secretary, Ron Georgeson, and has always proved popular. Once again there were three events; the Main Event, the Ron Georgeson Handicap Singles; a consolation singles for those who do not get through the first round of the Main Event; and a Fun Doubles which mixes players of vastly different abilities. The 3 events guaranteed that everyone who took part would get at least 6 sets of table tennis on the day, and a minimum of 24 games! It was good to see the current holder of the shield, Nathan Jago, in action once again but this time with a much heavier handicap consistent with his substantial improvement as a player. But there were also players playing in the event for the first time, at least 4 this reporter counted and maybe they will taste more success next time round! Having the advantage this year of play on 8 tables meant that it would be possible to get through the whole event on the day, and provide players with a great chance to warm up ready for the start of the new league season on Monday 9th.
The Ron Georgeson Memorial Shield was the main focus of attention for the 2019 Club Tournament held at Anfield. Ably managed on the day by our dynamic duo 'Doug & Phil'
The Main Event
The day started with all 8 tables in use for the 1st Round of the Main Event, The Ron Georgeson Memorial Handicap Singles. The 1st Round was played in groups of 3 players, with one seeded player in each group. With exactly 8 groups, each group was allocated a table and sent off for battle to begin! In the groups each set would comprise of 5 games played up to 11 points, and a handicap difference added to the score of the player with the higher handicap. The total number of points won determined the group winners - or at least it should have done! So every single point counted, with the lower ranked players being able to add in their handicap advantage to determine the total points won. In each group only the winner would go through to the Quarter Final stage, with all other group members going through to the Consolation Plate singles. Thus ensuring every player secured at least 4 sets of singles. There is no doubt there were some close run matches in these groups.
In the top half of the draw, the 4 seeded players, Colin Turner, Ted Cramsie, Euan Mason and Nathan Jago all won through with just enough to spare. The tables below show their own story of the groups.
Above, the players in Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4. In each case it was the 'seeded' player who moved through to the Quarter Final stage.
The Main Event - Bottom half of the Draw
In the bottom half of the draw it is fair to say there were two significant events! In Group 5, seeded player, Dave Noden, was knocked out by some dogged play from Keith Dudley who inflicted an unexpected 3 games to 2 defeat on Dave, so that the points he won together with his small handicap advantage gave Keith top spot in the group. But the biggest controversy of all was in Group 8. Here seeded player Barry Davis won both of his sets, winning 9 out of 10 games. The control table automatically assumed Barry had won the group. It was only after the event when the results were audited that it was discovered Steve McCormick had actually won the group by virtue of his tremendous effort in the match against Barry! You can see the impact of this later in this report!
Above, the players in Groups 5 and 6, where seeded Dave Noden was unexpectedly eliminated! And to the right, Groups 7 & 8 where seeded Barry Davis was put through despite the fact that on points Steve McCormick had actually won the group!
Next up, was the first stage of the Doubles competition. Bringing together players of widely different standards can give rise to some tremendous competition! There are no handicaps for this event - other than your partner! The first round was again played in groups, with 3 pairs in each group. Each set being the best of 3 games, giving little margin for error and often meaning that the set is decided in the third game. For this event reigning champion, Colin Turner, found himself with a new partner. A very reluctant Tournament Director, Lesley Blanchard. Lesley had said before the start that she wasn't intending to play this year, but would assist with the control table. As it turned out she was needed for both singles and doubles. And her efforts paid off!
With just 4 groups, the winner of each group would go directly to the semi-final. The tables below show how the groups played out. There were some great games, and it is true to say there was considerable 'fun'! 13 year old Henry Sinker, playing in the club tournament for the first time, seemed to raise an eyebrow more than once at his partner in Group 3! And games could not have been any closer in Group 1 where every pair won one match and lost one!
The Consolation Singles - Plate
Following from the first round of the Main Event the participants in the Consolation singles could be determined ready for round 1 of that event. Again played in groups, mostly of 3 players, with 3 groups in each half of the drawer and the winner of each group going into two semi-final groups. This occupied 6 of the 8 tables, leaving 2 tables available to continue with the Quarter Finals of the Main Event.
Some of the most competitive games in these groups were in Group 5, where 15 year old Eleanor Sinker, playing for the first time in the club tournament, took maximum advantage of her handicap to oust the slightly more experienced Ian Brownrigg. judging by the group picture, Henry's face says it all, especially missing out to his sister!
The Main Event - Quarter Finals
The 4 Quarter Finals saw some superb play. In the top half of the draw, No.1 seed Colin Turner, faced the experienced and tricky Ted Cramsie. But on this occasion Ted's defensive qualities and variable spin were no match to Colin's power play, even with a 12 point handicap advantage. Colin sailed through the match 55 points to 37. Two fast improving 15 year old's faced each other in the second match in the top half of the draw. Last year's champion, Nathan Jago, against last year's winner of the Consolation Plate, Euan Mason. Two evenly matched players but, fitting with his 'reigning champion' title, Nathan had to concede 5 points on handicap. These 5 points were to make all of the difference after a very close encounter in which Nathan won 3 games to 2. But once all the points were added, Euan was the overall winner by 48 points to 45. An excellent match, ensuring there would be a new champion this year.
In the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seed, Barry Davis, faced Dave McMahon, with Dave having an 11 point handicap advantage. By now though, Barry was starting to get his eye in after the close encounters of the first round group stage. His clever little backhand topspin shots effectively countering Dave's staunch defending. This was a well fought match, but in the end Dave just didn't have enough in the tank to match Barry, who eased through by 55 points to 39. In the last Quarter Final another two very evenly matched players, Graham Turner & Keith Dudley faced each other. With just a small handicap difference, 2 points in favour of Keith, separating the two this would be a match settled on the table. Although Graham slipped up in game 4, good wins in the first three games were just enough to see Graham through by 52 points to 42. Four excellent Quarter Final matches.
Above, to the left, Groups 1,3 & 4 of the Consolation Singles, and to the right, Groups 2,5 & 6. At least Steve McCormick had the consolation of winning through to the semi-final of this event!
The Consolation Singles - Plate Semi-Finals
Whilst the main Event Quarter Finals were progressing the two semi-finals of the Consolation Event were underway. Each played as a group of 3, consistency would decide who went through to the final. And each group provided a decisive winner with the higher ranked playing overcoming any handicap dis-advantage to make their way into the final. The tables below show the story, with clear wins for Dave Noden and Andrew Armstrong.
The Main Event - Semi-Finals
And so the stage was set for the final matches of the day, and all were gathered around table 1 for the showdown. First up the two semi-finals of the Main Event. First to the table, No.1 seed, Colin Turner against 15 year old Euan Mason. Although Euan has made tremendous progress in his game, he simply could not match or counter Colin's raw power. Euan's handicap advantage of 15 points gave an outside chance and there were some close games. But in the end Colin powered through 55 points to 46.
Next up was No.2 seed Barry Davis, against Club Secretary, Graham Turner. With a 14 point handicap advantage, Graham started well, matching Barry point for point. Graham also finished well edging the 5th game. But in the middle three games, Barry hit the accelerator, using his clever backhand topspin to maximum effect, for which Graham simply had no answer. Barry winning out 53 points to 47. The scene was set for a final showdown of the top two seeds.
The Doubles Semi-Finals
Some of the same faces featured in the semi-finals of the doubles. first up was Barry Davis and Elaine Core against Mark Benson and Steve McCormick. This needed all 3 games to decide the outcome, with Elaine doing a great job against the stronger male opponents. In the end though it was Mark & Steve who prevailed 11:5, 8:11, 11:5. The second semi-final should have been equally close between Graham Turner & Henry Sinker and Colin Turner & Lesley Blanchard. But here Lesley really excelled giving their team a decisive two straight victory 11:7, 11:6.
The first Final on centre court was the Consolation Singles featuring Dave Noden v Andrew Armstrong. this proved to be a very even contest in which Andrew's handicap advantage of 7 points would play a real part. Dave started out like a train, steaming through the first game 11:7. Andrew fought back making the most of some unforced errors from Dave to take the second 8:11. Once more the set swung towards the higher ranked player with Dave pulling out the stops to sneak the third 11:9. More drama followed as Andrew took chances in the 4th to win by a single point 10:11. Dave would need a decisive win in the final end to overcome the handicap and lift the trophy. But Andrew was not for giving in. Fighting for every point, making it tough for Dave to get that decisive win. Although Dave narrowly took the fifth set 11:9, so winning by 3 games to 2, once all the points and handicap were added up, Andrew had won the crown 54 points to 51. One of the narrowest handicap margins of the day. An excellent fight. The trophy was presented by Club secretary, Graham Turner.
Next up the Final of the Doubles. Colin Turner had been here before. Twice we seem to think. This time with new partner Lesley Blanchard he faced two good competitors Mark Benson & Steve McCormick. Steve has also featured in the final of this event previously, and he and Mark regularly played together in the league last season, which perhaps gave them the edge. But if Mark & Steve were to succeed they would have to handle Colin's power, and capitalise on the weaker player. Sometimes in doubles the higher quality player tries to over compensate for his weaker partner, which can lead to unforced errors. Maybe this is what happened here, or perhaps Mark and Steve were just a little bit more consistent overall? Whichever, the result was a decisive win for Mark & Steve 13;11, 11:6. With the trophies being presented by guest, Liz Sinker, who had waited and watched her young charges all day! Making her, perhaps, the most patient participant of the day!
And so to the grand finale. A fitting final of the Main Event between the two top seeds Colin Turner v Barry Davis. This proved to be a top quality match as you would expect from two evenly matched players from the top division of the league, undoubtedly the best table tennis of the day. The first game showed just how close this was going to be with Barry winning 10;11. Colin took the second 11:7 with some powerful attacking play. But there is no doubt that Barry is a very clever player and used all of his skill and versatility to just take the next three ends by the narrowest of margins 8:11, 10:11 and 9:11. Some excellent play and very close games. Once all the points were added, together with Barry's two point handicap advantage, a new champion was crowned, Barry winning by 53 points to 48. The irony being that Barry should not have even been in Round 2!! But a great final nevertheless, with Liz Sinker once again stepping forward to present the trophies. A great day of table tennis all round.