News Release - BSMTTC News 139
Dateline: 26 March 2022
This week the club has been proud to act as host to two of the five Divisional Cup Finals of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League. Hosting both the Readman Cup Final (the Division 1 Divisional Cup) and the Stamp Cup Final (Division 5 Divisional Cup). This is the first time the club has acted as host to two finals. It was a particular honour to have some of the top players from the league in action at the club.
Match Official, Liverpool League Cup Secretary, Stan Clarke, with the Readman Cup
The Readman Cup
There could not have been a greater contrast between the two teams appearing in the Division 1 Final. Drawn as the home team were the seasoned campaigners of Jaguar Land Rover, Mal McEvoy, Andy Taylor and Terry Turner. They faced the high-flying youngsters of Crosby High (Junior), a team of under 18 year olds, comprising Rhys Davies, Mathew Westworth and Daniel Watkinson. Unsurprisingly, as the away team the Crosby team called on their No.1 for the first set. Rhys is currently ranked at No.22 in the men's rankings and No.5 in Junior Boys in England. He has played in 15 out of 16 of his teams matches in the league, dropping just 1 singles set! His opponent, Mal McEvoy, ranked at 119 on the England Veterans rankings, faced a formidable task! Indeed, he had no answer to the destructive power of the younger player. And so it continued, the seniors having no substantial answer to the sheer power of unbridled youth. Interestingly though, each time the Crosby team had to call on a player, they turned to their No.1, so that by the time 5 sets had been played, Rhys had featured in 3 of them! A little bit of a slow evening for his team mates! But there was no surprise in the outcome, the youngsters rushing through the first 5 sets, dropping just 1 game, and finishing the match early with a 5:0 win. There was no doubt though that the large crowd that had turned up to watch had been treated to some top quality table tennis, including, at times, some unbelievable quality serving! There are some great pictures and short video clips from the match on the Liverpool League Facebook page.
On the left: Liverpool League Fixture Secretary, Tony Dixon, accompanied by Match Official, Cup Secretary, Stan Clarke, present the trophy to Crosby High (Junior) - Daniel Watkinson, Matty Westworth & Rhys Davies (with the trophy).
On the right: the Runners Up, Jaguar Land Rover, Terry Turner, Andy Taylor & Mal McEvoy with the Liverpool League Officials.
The Stamp Cup
It is not the first time the club has hosted the Stamp Cup, the Division 5 Divisional Cup, and perhaps of more interest is the fact that just 4 seasons ago when the club hosted this competition one of the two teams in this final, were in the final last time, and three of the players playing this time were also in that previous final! The two teams this time around were, Maghull D (who appeared in that previous final) v Crosby High D, currently sitting top of the Division and well clear of their nearest rivals! This would be the fifth and last divisional final this week, and already Crosby High had won 3 of the 4 earlier finals. In fact they had so far won every final one of their teams had appeared in! So, the evidence pointed strongly in favour of a fairly comfortable win for the Crosby High team. But funny things can happen in the cup!
Interestingly, when the first set was called by the Crosby side they didn't call on their No.1 player, Steve Jones. Preferring instead to call on their No.4 Harry Hobson against the opposing No.4 Paul Johnson. It was a good call. Harry racing through for a fairly comfortable win. Maghull fought straight back bringing on their No.1 Joe Rock (Jnr) against the Crosby No.2 Peter Crichton. Again a good call, with Joe fighting his way through to even the match. But the next three sets then all went to Crosby with wins for Steve Jones, Harry Hobson and Sunil Sapre. With the match score at 1:4 in favour of the Crosby side the writing seemed to be on the wall. But Joe Rock was not giving up that easily. In a terrific set he narrowly overcame the Crosby No.1 to keep the Maghull side in the match. Then cam the set of the night as Andy McCourt faced the Crosby No.2 Peter Crichton. To be fare, few seemed to give Andy any chance in this encounter, but what he lacked in fire power on his forehand, he more than made up for with some very steady and consistent play, and some excellent disguised chops that repeatedly drew points. Amazingly it was 3:4! Then it was the comedy duet between Ged Hanley for Maghull and Sunil Sapre for Crosby. At times both players seemed to be on suicide missions, but at the end it was Ged who won out to even the match score! Quite remarkable, the large crowd present - there were a total of 34 people at this final the largest crowd of the week of finals - going delirious with the excitement. Both captains now had a big call to make about who to play in the deciding doubles. Both plumped for their respective No.1's and No'2's. So it was Joe and Ged, against Steve & Peter. A tense first end went the way of the Maghull team, could a complete upset be on the cards? And, to be honest the Maghull boys could have gone on to win this set, but after the thrill of the first end win, they seemed to completely lose their way and allowed totally unforced errors to creep into their game. So much so, that the Crosby side took the next 3 games, the set and of course the match! It had been a thrilling final. There was no mistaking the jubilation of the Crosby team when the final point was won.
There are a great set of pictures from the match on the Liverpool League Facebook page.