News Release - BSMTTC News 125
Dateline: 19 August 2021
A New Champion!
The Club has a new champion! Around 30 club members were able to enjoy a feast of table tennis at Finals Night on Wednesday. The first time an event has been held at the club with spectators since the easing of corona virus restrictions. The occasion was the finals of the 2020 Club Tournament, delayed because of the pandemic, which has been played at the club over recent weeks. The tournament this time round featured two events; the Main Event, The Ron Georgeson Memorial Trophy, and a consolation event, The Plate, for those who missed out in the first round of the Main Event. No player has so far won the Main Event more than once and this time would prove to be no exception!
The evening started with a surprise, brief, impromptu visit, from the daughter of Peter Ross, former chairman of the club and one of the founding members. It was a lovely surprise. This was followed by an impromptu presentation. In welcoming spectators to Finals Night, Club Secretary, Graham Turner, drew attention to the fact that earlier in the summer the club had held 'behind closed doors' the Marine Mini League; a team competition to give some players a chance to get back to league match play. The competition had been won by Andy's Army, Andrew Armstrong (Captain), Keith Dudley & Sue Young, all of whom were present and had already received their winners medals. However a further medal was to be awarded. This was for the top player of the competition, Sam Pierce. Sam played in 7 out of 10 matches and won every set played, dropping just 3 games overall, proving himself by far the best player in the event. A small 'olympic' style gold medal was presented to Sam in recognition of his achievement as an MML Winner.
Club Secretary, Graham Turner, presents Sam Pierce with his MML Winner medal for being the top player in the Marine Mini League which concluded on the 23rd July. Sam finished with an average of 93.3% dropping just 3 games over the 14 sets played.
Semi-Finals - Main Event
The first two matches of the evening were the two semi-finals of the Main Event. With first up being the No.1 seed, Dermot Tierney facing the No.2 seed and a former finalist, Colin Turner. Ideally this would have been the grand final, and in pure table tennis terms was probably the best display of table tennis of the night. However, Colin only got through to the final as a runner-up rather than a quarter final group winner, so found himself facing the top seed in the first match of the night. And what an opener it proved to be! Colin started with a small handicap advantage, but on the table he was a little slow to start in the first game, with the result that by the end of it Dermot had cleared the handicap with some very powerful forehand and backhand top spin stroke play. Delicious to watch. The next two games provided some exquisite play from both players as they each grew into the match, just a single point separating the players in each game. Dermot kept up the pressure in the 4th end taking a narrow 2 point win, enough to put him in the lead overall and now the pressure was on Colin. Colin fought hard to try and regain the momentum but Dermot was giving nothing away racing through to take the last game with a margin to spare. The final score: 54pts to 46 in favour of Dermot.
Sam Pierce had come through the group stages as the surprise group winner in the other half of the draw and was now faced by club secretary, Graham Turner, in the second semi-final. Sam is still a little rusty as it is not so long since he returned to play after the 'university years', so this match was always going to be a close encounter. It would be a contrast of youth versus experience! The two had met just once earlier in the summer in the MML when Sam ran out 3:2 winner in another closely contested set. This match proved no different, Graham having a small handicap advantage. The first 4 games proved just how close it was going to be, each finishing 11:9, so that after 4 games it was 2 games each and both had amassed 40 points. But Graham still had the 3 point handicap advantage in the bag. It seemed to make Sam lose a little bit of heart, whilst Graham just continued plugging away with steady play keeping the ball on the table. It was enough, Graham taking the final game to reverse the earlier defeat, giving him a 54:44 point win, and a very surprise place in the final!
The third match of the evening again matched youth against experience, with the final of the Plate. The wily Keith Dudley facing 17 year old Euan Mason and Euan having to give Keith a 9 point handicap advantage. The first game showed that Euan was a little short of match practice, allowing Keith to extend his advantage. But gradually Euan increasingly got his backhand and forehand top spin into the game. Keith fought hard to contain it, but by the end of the fourth game Euan had closed the gap. It meant that in effect winner would take all in the last game. By now however, Euan had found his rhythm and Keith simply couldn't hold him off. Euan going on to win the Plate by 53 points to 47. The second time Euan has won the Plate, he must be due to appear in the finals of the Main Event!
Below, the 4 semi-finalists, Colin Turner & Dermot Tierney, whose normal standard of play would be division 1 of the league; followed by Sam Pierce and Graham Turner, whose current standard of play would be no more than division 3 of the league.
The Grand Final
Dermot and Graham had already come up against each other in the quarter final group stage of the contest. On that occasion Dermot won easily and convincingly taking all 5 games. No wonder he was smiling at the prospect of this final encounter! If Graham was to have any chance at all he would have to keep the games close and hope that his handicap advantage might be enough. The difference in standards meant there was little prospect of Graham being able to match Dermot's power on the table. There was no doubting Dermot's determination to make his superior skill count, as he raced through the first two games. But still Graham held a slight advantage on handicap. A further twist in the third game, when against the odds, Graham stole a game to keep himself in the lead. That was the jolt Dermot needed to redouble his efforts, slipping out of first gear for the 4th game to totally take Graham apart. The damage was enough to take him into the lead and allow him to relax a little in the last game. The result, a clear win for Dermot, 53 points to 45, a worthy new champion. It was totally appropriate that quality should shine through with the No.1 seed coming through to take the trophy.
Aside, the finalists of the Plate, Euan Mason & Keith Dudley. The surprise with both of these very good players is that they lost out in the first round of the Main Event. Hardly surprising therefore that they should progress through to the final of this consolation event.
It's all smiles as Graham & Dermot prepare for the final. But the difference in skills was only too apparent on the table, nevertheless Graham did all he could to make Dermot produce some of his best table tennis to overcome the handicap advantage.
Club Chairman, Bernard Cooney, presented the trophies at the end of the evening with Tournament Director, and finals referee, Dave Noden, calling each forward. A great evening of club table tennis, with a very appreciative crowd.
Below, a few snaps form the presentations - more pictures from Finals Night will appear on our Facebook page in due course.