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News Release - BSMTTC News 166
Dateline: 9 December 2023

Step up Vets

The Club has a significant record of success in the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League's Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup competition. Including being the current holders of the trophy! So, the first round of the 2023/24 competition which was held this week brought considerable anticipation! There is no doubt there are some very strong teams in the hunt for the cup this year and handicaps are very far from an exact science. In fact they seem to be so unscientific in some cases that it is hardly surprising that they can lead to very interesting results!! Let's see how the club's six teams in the competition fared in the first round.



The week started with the current cup holders in action, once again led by Colin Turner. Colin was able to field his top team, of himself, Lawrence Kenwright and Matt Wilson for the visit to Cadwa to take on Cadwa 2. The opposition contained mostly division 3 and 4 standard players, giving them a massive handicap start of 196 points! It took seven sets before the handicap gap had been closed to within touching distance as a result of some resolute work by the outgunned home side. But by the end of the eighth set the visitors had moved ahead. Unsurprisingly the visitors, who all ply their trade in the 1st division, won all the games played, and by the end of the final set had closed the gap and moved 52 points into the lead. A terrific performance by the cup holders.


Above: The BSM 4 team of Matt Wilson, Lawrence Kenwright & Colin Turner; followed by the Cadwa 2 team of Simon Craske, Mike Power & Alastaire Bruce, and the match card.



A home match on Tuesday featuring BSM 6, comprised of Steve Rees, Keith Dudley & Graham Turner, all of fourth division standard. Their opponents a mixed team with one high quality division 1 player, Steve Collins, and two division 5 players Ged Hanley & Joe Fin. The interesting feature of this match was the fact that the visitors, despite having a quality number 1, started with a handicap advantage of 47 points! In effect this meant the BSM boys would have to win all of the games against the visiting No.2 & 3 to convert the handicap deficit. A really good match ensued. As expected the visiting No.1, Steve, took his games, with seeming ease, with one exception, a remarkable 1 game win by Keith which kept the tie alive. But it was the fight of the visiting 2 & 3 which made the real difference, with Ged taking a vital game from both Keith & Steve and Joe fighting for every possible point. In the end the BSM boys were only able to take 34 points off of the handicap deficit leaving them 13 points short by the final whistle. A terrific effort by the visitors from Maghull. 

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Above: Back row, Graham Turner, Steve Rees and Keith Dudley (BSM 6), Ged Hanley, Steve Collins and (front row) Joe Finn (Maghull 3). Plus the match card. 


Three teams were in action on Wednesday, but two of them faced each other! But before we look at the derby, let's journey with the 'Dave's' (BSM 3) to Sefton Park where they were the guests of Sefton Park 1. Potentially a very difficult match. However, when, at the last moment, one of your players isn't able to turn out the gift of 126 points rather dampens the handicap advantage of 50 points that the Sefton Park team had! Jamie Whitty did his very best for the home side to try and negate the loss of a player winning 4 out of 6 of his singles. It just wasn't enough. Some very good table tennis in the 6 sets played and at the end of it the BSM team were ahead by 97 points an excellent outcome from a potentially difficult match.


The derby match featured BSM 1 & 2. BSM 2 being represented by the division 4 players led by Peter Crichton who was joined by Harry Hobson and senior statesman Brian Crolley - making a rare venture into this competition. BSM 1 were led by Alan Hale with his teammates from division 5, Bobby Vint and Bernard Cooney. And as you might have expected, the lower ranked players started with an 82 point handicap advantage. There was some excellent video footage from this match on the Liverpool League Facebook page showing just how hard the match was fought and the match card shows how close some of the games were. But in the end it was the higher ranked players who won 16 out of the 18 games played, with each win eroding the handicap advantage such that after 5 sets the handicap difference had been cleared and gradually the BSM 2 moved ahead finishing the night 79 points to the good. A really good match.

Below, The three Dave's, Dave Stoddern, Dave Noden and Dave McMahon - BSM 3, followed by Sefton Park 1, Jamie Whitty and Ian Findon and the match card.

And below that, courtesy of the Ray Hibbs photographic studio, the BSM 2 team - Harry Hobson, Peter Crichton & Brian Crolley, followed by the BSM 1 team - Alan Hale, Bobby Vint & Bernard Cooney, followed by the match card.


And in conclusion.......

That leaves just one team, BSM 5. They were the fortunate benefactors of a bye! Leaving the club with 4 teams through to the second round. More to follow in January!

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