News Release - BSMTTC News 104
Dateline: 15 February 2020

Can We Survive?

Would it be hearts and flowers for the club's teams in the L&DTTL Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup Round 2, held in the week of St Valentines Day? With just 2 teams remaining after the 1st Round it was going to be a tough call, with both teams facing strong opposition. Mark Benson's BSM 3 team faced an away match against Merseyside Police 2 and Andrew Armstrong's BSM 5 team entertained East Wavertree. In the event both matches were played at Marine, read on to see what happened! 

Above, the Frank Murphy Trophy. Presented to the League by the Murphy Family to the memory of Frank, a regular participant in the Liverpool League until his death. 

Quality Always Tells 

The first match of the week was on Wednesday with BSM 3 facing Merseyside Police 2. The BSM team, captained by Mark Benson, was forced to make changes from the line-up in Round 1, as a result of the captain having to work on match day! A suitable substitute was found, but on the day before the match a further change became necessary when the sub found he was unavailable! Fortunately Ian McElwee agreed to fill the gap, giving a final line-up of Ian, Ned Hassan and Graham Turner. They faced the Police trio of Paul Gittins, Tom Purcell and John Moore. Despite the fact that the Police had the higher ranked players, 1 from Div 1 and 2 from Div 3, compared with 1 from Div 3, 1 from Div 4 and 1 from Div 5 for Marine, the handicap difference was just 1 point in favour of BSM. The match would have to be decided on the table. And what a compelling match it was. The BSM team started well increasing their lead to 18 points after the first two singles, only to be pegged back by the Police No.1 Paul Gittins in the 3rd set which took Police into the lead. After 4 sets the points were exactly even, and at the tea interval BSM had again drawn ahead by 7 points as a result of Graham just sneaking ahead of Tom Purcell in a very close encounter. After the tea break, the Police No.1 returned to the table and duly took his team back into the lead, only to find it pegged back again with Graham achieving his second win of the night against John Moore. Marine were back in the lead by 2 points. But the Police No.1 still had a set to play, so if BSM were to stand any chance Ned would have to beat Police No.2 Tom Purcell. This proved to be one of the closest sets of the evening with Tom just shaving it by 3 points, the Police were now 1 point ahead. It is fair to say that the best was saved to last. The final set between the two No.1's was a real cracker. But in the end the quality of the first division player shone through. The ability to play devasting shots on both wings and to keep the ball coming back, seemingly with endless amounts of time, proved just too much, Paul winning by just 10 points. An excellent match but in the end it was the Police team who triumphed by 11 points, 357:346. 

To the left the Merseyside Police 2 v BSM 3 match card;

And above: The members of BSM 3 - Ian McElwee, Ned Hassan and Graham Turner ; followed by 

The members of Merseyside Police 2, Paul Gittins, John Moore and Tom Purcell.

In the match, both teams won 9 games, but it is points that count and the superior scoring of the Police No.1, 1st Division regular Paul Gittins, tipped the scales in favour of the Police side.

No Hearts or Flowers! 

Captain Andrew Armstrong was also forced to make a change to his team line-up. Originally the match was scheduled for Thursday when all the players were available, however a change was forced upon the club so the match was reset for Friday - as a result, team member Colin Mitchell decided that as it was Valentine's Day he should make an evening out with his good lady a priority! So the final line-up became, Andrew, Keith Dudley and Keith Williams. At least the team were able to bring in 1 player of top quality. Their opponents, the very strong East Wavertree team, of Tony Dixon, Lee Madin & Paul Loftus. With all 3 of the visiting players ranked above Andrew and Keith D, the match would turn on how well these two could perform against the higher quality players to protect the handicap advantage which started at 55 points in favour of the BSM team. There was little doubt that Keith W would win his 3 singles sets, the only question being, by how much? In the opening set Keith W took on the opposing No.1 Lee Madin. Keith started well with a resounding first game win, but Lee rallied and Keith had to pull out a few stops to secure the 2nd game to take the home team further ahead. Unsurprisingly the visitors took the next 3 sets before Keith W returned to the table to re-open the gap. The pattern was set and so it continued, so that by the end of set 8 the home team were still ahead but now by just 20 points. Keith D needing 11 points per game in the final set to maintain the advantage. But the visiting No.1 had other ideas and set about the task of making every point count, putting more pressure on Keith. That pressure proved too much as Lee raced away with the second game to secure victory for the visitors by 11 points; 328 points : 339. The bubble had burst, no hearts and flowers for the BSM team this Valentine's Day, and no teams left in the competition for Round 3. Team Captain Andrew was so disappointed he even failed to get the customary photo snaps for this article!

 

Two very good handicap matches, but the odds just weren't in favour of the BSM teams on this occasion. 

Above, a very thoughtful BSM 5 team captain, Andrew Armstrong, and an action packed team captain! However as the score card, left, shows the actions weren't quite enough to keep the BSM team in contention; with the match being decided in the final set of the night in favour of the visitors from East Wavertree.    

© BSMTTC 2015