News Release - BSMTTC News 145
Dateline: 17 September 2022
A new start & new look
With a new look the 2022/23 season of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League will start on Monday 19 September. However out of respect to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose funeral service is on that day, all matches scheduled for the first day of the new season are postponed!
The club also has a new look to its teams this year, increasing the entry to the League up to 8 teams. 4 will play at the highest levels in divisions 1 and 2, and 4 at the lower levels of divisions 4 and 5. We need to get something in the middle!
Here is a brief look at each team and what we might expect to see from them.
1st Team (Division 1)
The 1st team will once again lead the way playing in the top division. They finished in 5th spot last time round, and realistically will struggle to get any higher this season. The team will once again be captained by Dermot Tierney and he will need big contributions from No.1 Keith Williams and also from Clare Peers. The team are hoping that the Welsh Wizard, Steve Green, may stand in as their 4th player to provide cover for absences. But if he is not available then they may struggle to find substitutes. If any one is looking to watch some top quality table tennis then find a Wednesday evening when the 1st team are at home and come along to Marine! Best behavior mind you if you do come along to a match night! The prediction is for a 5th place finish once again!
A Team (Division 1)
Colin Turner, who played in the 1st team last season, has dropped down a team this time, forming a new team which the club has been fortunate enough to have placed in division 1. It is going to be a tough challenge for them. Colin will be joined by Matthew Wilson who returns to the club after an interval caused by injury and covid and he will be joining his Southport team mates in this new look side. Sam Pierce makes the leap up from division 4 last season to division 1 this year. A big jump, but Sam has played at this level previously and will be keen to prove himself at this elite level. The 4th member of the squad will be another returning player, Julian Quirk. Untested at this level, Julian will have to work really hard to make his mark. It could be a tough season for the new side. But this reporter is going to stick his neck out and predict an 8th place finish to keep the team in this 11 team division.
B Team (Division 2)
Superman, Brian Crolley, will once again lead the A team in division 2. The team did really well to stay in the division last season, and will not be expecting life to be any easier this year! The performances of No.1 Barry Davis will be key to the teams success and Barry will be well supported by Mal Kent and Colin Mitchell. With Captain Crolley at the helm the organisation and running of the team will be slick and efficient. This team will provide anyone with a great evening of friendly, but very competitive table tennis! In a 10 team division it would be nice to think the team can finish around 6th.
C Team (Division 2)
It was a really tough season for the B team last time round. Injuries and other player losses caused severe problems. But, even though their rising star, Euan Mason, won't be available this year as he is off to university, the remainder of the team now appear to be fit and well again and with Ken Jackson returning to full time play the team has a new spring in its step for the new season. The 3 Dave's will need to work really hard to support Ken but small contributions from all each week might make this team very hard to beat this year. Despite finishing in the relegation zone last season, they have been given a reprieve to play in division 2 again. This time I don't expect to see them in the relegation zone! The derby between the B & C teams may well determine which of them finishes higher in the division. A match well worth watching! 5th or 6th is my prediction for the team, finishing next to their higher ranked teammates.
D Team (Division 4)
Having finished 3rd in a very tough division 4 last season, the team had hoped they might get pushed up to the 3rd division. Not so, they will have to once again fight their way through another season in 4, this time without the services of Sam Pierce who has moved on to a higher team. But the return to full time play of Mark Benson, who has shown signs of considerable improvement, will provide the team with a very strong all round 4. They will however need to play at their best every week if they are to match or exceed last season's performance. Captain Andy Armstrong will be hoping for the best and will be well supported by Steve Rees, Keith Dudley and Mark. Expect a top 4 finish.
E Team (Division 4)
Having surprisingly gained the runners-up spot in division 5 last season the Junior E team now find themselves pushed up to division 4. But with 5 new juniors with no experience of league play at all this promotion is going to make life even tougher for juniors playing league table tennis for the first time! Team Captain, Graham Turner, will not be able to have the influence on results this year that he had in the lower division last time! He will be joined again by Henry Sinker, who obtained a reward for his play last season by being named the most improved player in division 5 for the 2021/22 season. Henry will need to improve further to match the players at this higher level. With ages ranging from 9 - 16 the rest of the squad will be on a real learning curve, but if they can keep their temperaments under control then there are exciting prospects, none more so than our two new recruits from Ukraine, Ivan & Valerii Maksym. The team looses Eleanor this year, as she is off to university and now too old to be classed as a junior! But she is replaced by another exciting teenager Izzy Boyd. Daniel Duncan, Scott French and youngest of all Ronan Tierney complete the squad. The team will do well to stay in 4, but let's see how they do!
F Team (Division 5)
The club's second new team this season comprises of 5 players of which only 1 has any significant league experience. So, it is going to be interesting to see how they shape up. Alan Hales comes in as a 'volunteer' team captain for his first season of league table tennis, but he has a dynamic new member and younger player as his No.1, in the form of Marcin Bytnar, reintroduced to table tennis by team mate Tony Mitchell through the open evenings at Marine. Richard Woodley returning to the club after a break caused by covid provides the experience to the side, and although he will be a little rusty at first you can expect him quickly to start bringing in some points for the team. Tony Mitchell and Bobby Vint complete the squad both with limited league experience, but quite capable of picking up points at this level. The team may not feature in the top half of the division, but hopefully will be around 6th spot.
G Team (Division 5)
Once again, Keith Hardman takes on the responsibility for the 'squad'. In the form of Dave Aimson they have a very strong No.1 but after that much is going to depend on how often Steve McCormick is able to play and overcome his ongoing injury issues. The team has lost Stuart Reid for this season and will be looking to Tony Rimmer and Sue Young to fill the gap. There are plenty of players available to support but if they don't play regularly it will be tough to step up to the challenges of league play. It is never easy to manage a large group of players and select from it the best team and also be fair to all members of the squad! So, Keith has a real tough job on his hands - talking of which Keith himself is still awaiting his hand surgery which is likely to keep him out of league play this season. We wish him well. I wouldn't be surprised if the two division 5 teams finished more or less next to each other this year, so let's go for a 7th place finish!
All that remains is to wish all of our teams the very best for the new season. Results and comments for all of our teams will be found on the club website throughout the season and also on the official LIverpool League website on TTLeagues at https://liverpool.ttleagues.com. What is certain is that everyone visiting Marine can be assured of a warm welcome and every match will be played in the best spirit of table tennis.