News Release - BSMTTC News 161
Dateline: 18 September 2023
The 2023/24 season of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League gets underway on Monday 18 September. And this season the club has undertaken a massive commitment of filling every weekday evening with League match play, and also operating two junior teams from the Anfield Sports & Community Centre. A total of 11 teams which includes 3 junior teams.
Also, for the first time in a while the club has representation in every division as a result of building two new adult teams. What we would do if there was further expansion is a very big question!
Here is a brief look at each team and what we might expect to see from them.
The Club again has two teams in the top flight. And much will depend on keeping key players match fit. The nucleus for the 1st Team will again be Keith Williams, Clare Peers & Dermot Tierney, they also have strong players below them. So if Keith can keep fit the team should be able to stay around 5th in the division. It seems unlikely that they can break into the top 4, but you never know. For the A Team, this will be the first full season for Lawrence Kenwright and if Matty Wilson and Colin Turner can all stay injury free and play regularly then they too have a decent side, but again still probably not strong enough to challenge the top four. A 6th place right next to the 1st team seems a likely placing.
The B & C Teams will be the clubs offering at this level. It's a shame to see long serving Captain Brian Crolley step down from his duties at this level, but for Brian it is the right decision. The baton is handed on to Barry Davis. Julian Quirk steps into the line-up this year with Mal Kent & Colin Mitchell. If Barry & Julian appear regularly on the stage together this team are going to be hard to beat. They could even be pushing for a place in the top 3. The C Team will again have to rely on Ken Jackson being able to roll back the years. Last season they were the draw specialists, especially when Ken was playing, he will need held from the Dave's - Stoddern, McMahon & Noden, if the team are going to remain in the division!
A team of newcomers to the club take a place in Div 3. Led by Saul Keelan, formerly of Bootle YMCA who have withdrawn from the League, this will be unchartered water. Saul is joined by his former fellow Bootle colleague Kieron Sumner, and from across the water, Amir Norouzi. It is hard to know exactly how this team will perform. They have the potential to survive in this division if all three can play regularly. Saul will need to lift his management game as well as his table tennis to inspire and lead the team. Let's hope for a mid table placing!
The club has 3 teams in this division this year, so derby matches will be a regular feature! Andrew Armstrong will again lead the E Team, joined by Steve Rees, Keith Dudley and moving up from division 5, Dave Aimson. Division 4 was extremely strong last season and it looks as if it will be just as strong this year. A fourth place spot might be the best that can be expected. The team will face strong challenges from their clubmates. Peter Crichton will lead an all new F Team, consisting of himself Mark Benson, Marcin Bytnar and Harry Hobson. With no obvious weaknesses in the squad and back up available from the evergreen Brian Crolley the team will definitely be looking for a mid table spot. Once again we will also have a junior team in Div 4. This year led by new arrival to the club, James Haskell. He will have Ivan Maksym, Henry Sinker and Scott French as his key juniors and they will need to work really hard if the team are to survive in 4. It could be another tough year for the junior team.
The club will also have 3 teams in Div 5 and two of these will be brand new junior teams, none of whose members have had any previous league play experience! Both of thos teams will find life tough in division 5. Keith Hardman will again captain the 'squad', a large group of adults some with good league experience and others less so! For Keith's H Team much will depend on how his 'regulars' like Steve McCormick, Richard Woodley, Alan Hale and Stuart Reid perform. All are very experienced players so will make life tough for any opponents. But most likely the team don't have the quality to challenge for a place in the top three. Expect a mid table finish. The new I Team also has a large squad from the club's teens group. There is some very promising potential in this group. The first half of the season will be a learning curve for them, but hopefully they can put that to good use in the second half of the season. This should be enough to keep them away from the drop zone. The J Team, or the Anfield boys, is another new junior team based on a group of juniors learning at the Anfield Centre. They will play this year under the club banner, led by Coach Steve Gittins. It is a young team with very limited competitive experience. But again there is some real potential in the squad and they will definitely improve by more play. They will struggle to avoid the bottom spot but if they can maintain their discipline and learn from their experience, they will be back!
Key figures in Div 1 could be Keith Williams for the 1st team and Lawrence Kenwright for the A Team. If Keith is fit and Lawrence available to play regularly it could make a difference to each team.
If Barry Davis and Julian Quirk can regularly combine for the B Team, then this will definitely be a team to keep an eye on!
Key questions for the new F Team are, has Mark Benson improved enough to justify his new No.1 ranking, and how will Marcin Bytnar perform at this higher level?
And below, James Haskell will lead the Junior G Team this year his own performance and motivation of the juniors will be critical to the team.
Keith Hardman will once again captain the H Team in Div 5. His is probably the toughest captain's role in the club, managing so many aspiring players, as well as trying to keep the team competitive in the league. The loss of a couple of previously key players this season doesn't make his job any easier!
The scene is set for another great season of table tennis, new teams and new players, it is a really exciting time to be part of Bath Street Marine TTC.
We wish all the teams well. The Liverpool League website gives all the results and tables, do keep an eye on it. We will also give weekly information on the club's website and Facebook page - so, do please follow those too!