News Release - BSMTTC News 141
Dateline: 22 April 2022
Top class Final!
What a great night of first class table tennis! For the fourth time in 9 seasons two teams from Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club featured in the final of the Liverpool League Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup competition. And pleasingly, members of Frank Murphy's family were able to attend and present the trophy established to the memory of Frank. In particular his sister, Myra Lovelady and his nephew Kevin Lovelady. Unfortunately Marjorie Murphy, who has been a great supporter of this competition since Frank's passing, was unable to attend on this occasion,
The LDTTL Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup.
BSM 3 v BSM 4
Interestingly, all 4 of the club's top players were in the line-up for this encounter, albeit not all on the same side where they would normally be! The BSM 3 team, drawn as the home side, was led by 1st Team Captain, Dermot Tierney, and he was joined by his fellow 1st team players, Colin Turner and Clare Peers. As a team this was their debut in this competition! Maybe it was the first time all 3 met the age qualification to be counted as 'vets'? The BSM 4 team, no strangers to this competition and themselves previous finalists, were led by C Team Captain, Andrew Armstrong, who was joined by the Keith's! The club's top player, Keith Williams and Andrew's fellow division 4 team member Keith Dudley. A lot would be needed of KW if the BSM 4 team were to have a real chance against their much higher ranked opponents, but a starting point of a handicap advantage of 80 points meant all 3 division 1 players in BSM 3 would need to work really hard to overcome it, and prevent KW from adding to that advantage.
LDTTL Cup Secretary, Stan Clarke, was the League Official and master of ceremonies for the evening and the match was ably umpired by the highly experienced Graham Rollinson. And the crowd of 27 were treated to a real feast of play, with some having their first opportunity to watch the club's top players in action. The BSM 3 captain took the responsibility on himself to open his teams challenge with the opening match featuring the two team captains. Realistically, Andrew needed to score 12 points per game at least to keep his team in with a chance. But Dermot showed from the off that his team were determined to make their greater skills count against the lower ranked players. Dynamic spin serves and powerful forehand and back hand top spin strokes proved too much for Andrew, despite his very best efforts, enabling Dermot to get his team off to a fast start, and move their score from a minus to a plus point.
Next up was what proved one of the most decisive matches of the night. Former Liverpool Ladies Champion, Clare Peers, facing the club's top ranked player, Keith Williams. In the opening game Clare showed great adventure with some fearless and ferocious forehand shots, coming out just ahead in game 1. Was a real upset on the cards? A titanic battle followed with Keith fighting his way back into the set and taking the game by just enough to give him a 1 point win! This would prove to be the closest match of the night, and seriously dented the BSM 4 teams chances of increasing their handicap lead.
Colin Turner, playing No.1 for the BSM 3 team on the night, followed against the BSM 4 No.3, Keith Dudley. Try as he did, Keith simply had no answer to Colin's power, spin and greater consistency even if Colin did start a little slowly. But by the end of the 2 games Keith had only amassed 11 points, bringing the two teams scores even closer together.
By the time Clare Peers had finished with Andrew Armstrong in the next set the BSM 3 team had disposed of the handicap deficit and were 4 points ahead! The first division players had really turned up for this final. But the BSM 4 team still had two sets left for their top player, so all was not yet lost.
Keith Dudley made a fighting start in the next set against Dermot, but once again the strong serving and powerful top spin of the division 1 player came to the fore, making the win for the BSM 3 team just too easy despite Keith's best efforts. The BSM 3 team were creeping ahead.
Back to the table came the BSM 4 top player, Keith Williams, another first division quality match followed, this time Keith getting the advantage for his team which they much needed. Just 14 points now separated the two sides, but when Clare then crushed Keith Dudley even though Keith fought a brilliant first end it looked as if the BSM 4 team faced a tall order if they were to get back the trophy that they had won previously.
Set 8 was probably the match of the night with some really high quality play from BSM 3 captain Dermot, and BSM 4 top player Keith W. Keith needed a big win if his team were to have any chance. By contrast, Dermot, was determined to hold onto the advantage his team now had. The first end was a real battle with just 2 points separating the players. Keith pulled out every stop in the second game with some blistering back hand shots but overall was only able to add 8 points to reducing the gap between the two sides.
It meant that captain Andrew would need to win the last set and by a heavy margin to give the BSM 4 a chance. It wasn't to be. The first game was tight, but gradually Colin gained the upper hand and raced through the second game. The first division players had taken all 12 games from their lower ranked colleagues, and with it the match!
Overall a win for BSM 3 by 317 points to 274. Turning a handicap deficit of 80 into a winning margin of 43! Once again proving that in this competition, quality usually will out!
It was great to have Myra Lovelady, the sister of Frank Murphy, on hand to present the trophies, to the warm applause of the crowd who had witnessed some excellent competitive play. The evening concluding with some excellent refreshments provided, of course, by the Bath Street Club.