News Release - BSMTTC News 89
Dateline: 12 January 2019
Happy New Year?
The New Year has started in the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League with Round 1 of the Frank Murphy Memorial Cup (The Veterans Handicap Cup). A competition for teams of 3 players of any standard who are over the age of 40, with each player having an individual handicap which together with the handicaps of fellow team members forms the overall team handicap.
The Club started with 6 teams in the competition. This is a competition in which the Club has had a very good track record in recent years and currently holds the trophy! So, will it be a Happy New Year for the Club's teams in this season's competition...??
Good or Bad News?
With all 6 of the Club's teams receiving a home draw, scheduling the matches was clearly going to be a problem with only 5 nights available for match play! Fortunately, Sefton Park TTC were able to come to the rescue and agreed to stage one of the matches, leaving the Club with a cup match scheduled for each night of the week.
However, the week started with a slight disappointment for the new BSM 3 team. Their opponents Cadwa 2 decided to concede the match - maybe it was the pull of Liverpool playing in Round 3 of the FA Cup at Wolves that influenced the decision? If so, they would have been better off playing table tennis! Despite attempts to re-arrange the match for another night of the week, nothing could be done. BSM 3 therefore move through to Round 2 - unlike LFC!!
The current holders of the Frank Murphy Memorial Cup, BSM 3, comprising of Keith Williams, Ian McElwee and Captain Andrew Armstrong. Andrew has a new team though for this seasons competition.
Tuesday saw two excellent matches, both very keenly contested and both with very close outcomes. At Marine, Dave Noden's BSM 5, (finalists of last season's competition), faced Merseyside Police 2. With 5 out of the 6 players all appearing in the same division of the league this looked like a close match. But the police had an ace in the pack, bringing in division 1 player Paul Gittins. It was this additional piece of quality that just made the difference in a very close match. The teams started all square on handicaps, and after 8 sets the home side were just ahead by 9 points. The match would be decided by the battle of the two No.1's, Darren Taylor playing Paul Gittins. Paul had already comfortably won his two earlier singles matches and could expect to win this one too, but could Darren save enough points to keep his team in the match? The answer was, 'No'! Paul taking the set, and the 15 point margin was enough to overturn the deficit and give his team the victory. So, although the match finished with 9 games won by each team, the Police 2 team came out winners by 6 points. Last year's finalists had fallen at the first hurdle.
The second match played on Tuesday, and played at Sefton Park, featured a new BSM team playing together in this competition for the first time. Mark Benson, captaining a BSM 1 team of himself, Sunil Sapre and Richard Woodley faced fellow division 5 players Sefton Park 5. Again this looked like another very close match. And so it proved. Surprisingly perhaps the BSM team had a small advantage on handicap of 36 points. Although by the end the Sefton Park side had whittled away 23 points of that lead, mostly at Richard's expense unusually, it was not quite enough to overturn the handicap advantage. Another match in which both teams won 9 games each, but here it was the handicap that made the difference giving the Marine side a victory by just 13 points. Captain Mark was man-of-the match for the BSM side winning 5 out of 5 of his games and adding 21 points to the margin. An excellent evening, good quality play, and a very sporting atmosphere.
Above, the match card of BSM 5 v Merseyside Police 2, won by the Police by 6 points; the BSM 5 team - Ted Cramsie, Darren Taylor & Captain Dave Noden - they were loosing finalists last season, but fell at the first hurdle this season; the match card of BSM 1 v Sefton Park 5, won by the BSM team by just 13 points.
And to the left the BSM 1 and Sefton Park 5 teams featuring (from left to right) Eric Wood (SP), Mark Benson, Richard Woodley, Dave Cunningham (SP), Roy Cunningham (Captain SP) and Sunil Sapre.
Encouragingly, not for the BSM 6 Team of Dave Stoddern (Captain), Dave McMahon and Ken Jackson. They faced Waterloo 1, a team riding high in division 4 this season. It was good to see Ken back in action in this competition, one in which he has been a winner for the Club in recent years. It is always true that quality will shine through in these handicap matches irrespective of handicap. And it was the added quality of division 1 player Ken that really made the difference. Starting the night 92 points adrift the Marine side had work to do. So much so, that it was only after the 8th set that the two teams were tied on points. But when you have Ken left to play the final set, even though against his opposing No.1, you are not going to bet against him. Although Nikolaj made a valiant effort he was no match for Ken's persistent and accurate play, Ken taking the set and Marine the match by 25 points. Ken taking the man-of-the-match award making up 86 of the teams 117 point margin. The bad news is that Ken is off to the USA shortly for an extended holiday so may miss later rounds of the competition!
Above, the match card of BSM 6 v Waterloo 1 followed by the BSM 6 team of Dave McMahon, Ken Jackson & Captain Dave Stoddern and the Waterloo 1 team of Nikolaj Primuk, Peter Roberts and Jeff Hornby. BSM 6 won the match by 25 points.
And so to Thursday!
It was the turn of Captain Andrew Armstrong on Thursday, with his new team of Keith Dudley and Peter Ashley. Andrew was the captain of the team that won this cup last season and is pictured at the start of this article with the trophy and his winning team. Under the banner of BSM 4 they faced a very tough match against Arriva 2, however having beaten this Arriva team in the Div 4 Divisional Cup en-route to the semi-final the match looked a very winnable one. But with a 43 point handicap deficit to make up against similar standard players a real fight was going to be necessary. The captain decided to put himself on first against the visiting No.1, and frankly, it just didn't go right on the night, Andy loosing comprehensively and giving the visitors a big boost to add to the handicap advantage. BSM did fight back and overall won 11 of the 18 games played. But it was the games lost that in the end allowed the visitors to just about hang on to their handicap advantage, and several of those were games which really should not have been lost. Once all the points were added up the visitors had the edge by just 8 points. A great match, but a big disappointment for the home side and the cup holders.
Above, the match card of BSM 4 v Arriva 2 with a picture of the two teams, Arriva 2 - Eddie Harrison, Alan Jones, Harry Hughes and Gary Mavris; with BSM 4 Peter Ashley, Andrew Armstrong and Keith Dudley. Arriva 2 won the match by 8 points.
And Finally - Friday!
The week should have ended with the team with the biggest handicap, BSM 2, playing division 4 visitors from Wavertree Labour table tennis club. However, at the last minute the visitors decided they had no transport to get to Crosby (despite the fact the public bus stops outside the front door and the local railway station is just around the corner) and conceded the match. Good news of course for the home side who proceed to Round 2, but always a slight disappointment to advance by this means.
So overall, 2 wins and 2 defeats from the matches played. Some very close and keenly contested matches and great spectator support. 4 teams through to Round 2, let's see what happens next! Round 2 will be in the week commencing 11 February.