News Release - BSMTTC News 149
Dateline: 10 December 2022
What a week!
What a week it has been! Just as well there have been no Liverpool League matches at Marine! Just ask our Property Manager, Keith, and you'll find out exactly why we say that! So, best we stick to the table tennis! It has been Round 1 of the Liverpool League, Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup. A competition with a rich heritage as far as the club is concerned, especially as we are the current holders of the trophy!
Once again we entered 6 teams and 4 of those were drawn with away fixtures. Then of the 2 home fixtures, one match was conceded to us, so we have only had to play one fixture at Marine. Just as well, and that was only just able to go ahead.
The week began with the BSM 1 team travelling to Maghull. The good news was that they faced a team of peers from division 5 of the league. So, a very even match was in prospect. True, but then the handicaps of the 2 sides came into view! Regrettably, two of the Maghull players, both being players who have not participated in the Liverpool League before, were given handicaps equivalent to those of the weakest players in the league - but they were very far from the weakest players in the league, as anyone who has seen their teams results in Div 5 will know! This meant they started the match with a 52 point handicap advantage. An almost impossible task for the visitors even though they did give it a really good go! It was an excellent match, hard fought and close. ON games, Maghull just edged it by 11 games to 7, and on points (before the handicap) they just edged it too coming out 44 points ahead. That would have been a fair result on the night, but then the handicap difference was added on, leaving Maghull 96 points ahead. We have got some great pictures from this match though - courtesy of the Ray Hibbs Studio, so the video is worth watching. It includes the match result card.
Tuesday & Wednesday
Tuesday should have been the turn of the BSM 3 team with a juicy home tie against division 2 side Cadwa 1. Unfortunately Cadwa found themselves unable to field a team and so were forced to concede the match. Alan Hale's boys live to fight another day! Wednesday was the turn of the BSM 4 team, who also faced a visit to Maghull. This was another very good match, featuring the all ladies Maghull 4 team against a mixed standard team from BSM of Colin Mitchell, Steve Rees and Mark Benson. This time the handicaps looked far more realistic giving the Maghull ladies a head start of 119 points. Some work needed for the visitors if they were going to get over the line! It took 7 sets of hard graft for the BSM gang to close the gap and it was then only in the last set that the outcome was decided. with Colin, playing at No.1, working really hard to ensure there was no way back for the Maghull team. A great match.
Above the Maghull 4 v BSM 4 scorecard. The Maghull ladies - Denise Chorley, Irene Mullen and Audrey McGing; The BSM boys, Steve Rees, Mark Benson and Colin Mitchell.
Three matches on Thursday, and they were all crackers! Let's start at Marine with the BSM 2 team led by Andrew Armstrong. Andy has in previous years twice led teams to the final of this competition. No pressure then! With rain drops occasionally falling on their heads the team faced a very useful Arriva 2 side. And, had to make up a handicap deficit of 55 points. Again, 7 sets elapsed before the home side closed the gap and once again the final decision didn't come until the last set. The hero of the hour? It has to go to Keith Dudley, holding his nerve in the final set of the night against the visiting No.1 who had already dispatched captain Andrew. By taking the final set by just 2 points secured the narrowest of wins for the BSM side by just 11 points.
Above the BSM 2 v Arriva 2 scorecard. The BSM 2 team of Dave Noden, Andrew Armstrong & Keith Dudley. The Arriva team of Eddie Harrison, Gary Mavris and Alan Jones. A very close match.
Colin Turner played in the team that won this trophy this season, but found himself captaining the team this time. Furthermore, two changes were made to last season's winning line-up, so probably best to simply say a new team! Colin was joined by newcomer to the club, Lawrence Kenwright, and the vastly experienced head of Freddie Bainbridge making a rare appearance from retirement! And they faced a really tough encounter against division 1 contemporaries East Wavertree. So, in essence this was an all division 1 clash, and just 1 point difference in respective handicaps showed how finely balanced this match was. So close and tense was the match that somehow pictures were overlooked!! So, the scorecard will have to tell the story. There was one moment when the home side were ahead, two sets where honours were exactly even and another moment when just a whisper separated the two sides. But in the end, Colin led his team to a good win by 54 points. In truth, Lawrence made the difference, but Freddie hanging on in there ensured the visitors didn't fall behind. Another very good evening of table tennis.
Thursday (the final encounter)
The last match on Thursday featured BSM 5, led by Dave Stoddern, on a mission to Merseyside Police 1. Dave included in his line-up Ken Jackson, another former winner of this trophy with the club. The all division 2 line-up of BSM faced a mixed Police line-up and had to make up 33 points of handicap difference. This was not going to be easy, especially with the experienced div 1 player, Paul Gittins in the Police line-up. Even though Paul has been out of regular table tennis for a little while, he remains an excellent player. Ken did his best to pull his team through, but it all came down to the last set with Ken facing Paul - the two best players on the night. They shared the two games but the 4 points Ken was able to work off the handicap weren't quite enough. The BSM team started behind and finished behind - just, by 21 points.
Above the scorecard for Merseyside Police 1 v BSM 5. The Police team of Tom Purcell, Paul Gittins and Lawrence Cain; and the BSM team of Ken Jackson, Dave Stoddern and Dave McMahon.
And in conclusion.......
A week of excellent table tennis, some very close matches and 4 teams from the club through to Round 2. Not bad at all. Now, let's get the club room ready for next week's league matches!!