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News Release - BSMTTC News 174
Dateline: 25 April 2024

Top Match!

Table tennis of the highest calibre that would have graced any stage was the order of the day at Marine on Wednesday evening, 24 April, as two teams from the club fought out the Final of the Liverpool & District Table Tennis League Frank Murphy Veterans Handicap Cup. There is no doubt it was far better watching than another local derby on the same evening, unless of course you are an Everton fan!


The match had already been previewed by sports journalist Hannah Baker in an excellent article published on Mersey Sports Live, well worth reading - just follow the link! 

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The Final 

The match brought together BSM 4, led by Colin Turner - who was bidding for his third successive win in this event, and BSM 5 captained by Andrew Armstrong. Colin was forced to bring in a substitute for the final - as also happened last year! Captain of the Club's 1st team, Dermot Tierney - himself a previous winning captain in this event - was the chosen substitute, replacing the injured Matthew Wilson who had helped the team through all previous rounds, giving Colin a team of all division 1 quality players - Lawrence Kenwright, Dermot Tierney & himself. Andy equally had a high quality line-up of Keith Williams, Steve Green and Julian Quirk. The evenness of these two teams, all of whom are division 1 standard players, was demonstrated by the handicaps which gave an advantage of just 2 points to the BSM 5 side. The appointed umpire, Tom Purcell (League Secretary and an International umpire) got the proceedings under way and kept order throughout. He didn't have to use his cards once!


The first set of the night pitched Dermot against Steve. Some very clever soft hands play and sudden explosions of power saw Steve just edge the first, but Dermot kept fighting enabling him to take the second by just a single point. The 2 points gained by Steve enabled the BSM 5 team to pull 4 points ahead after the first set. But this was quickly pegged back by Colin when he forced early errors from Julian and although Julian fought back well in the second game it wasn't quite enough enabling Colin to take a 10 point advantage and the BSM 4 team into the lead by 6 points. 


The third match of the night was superb. It brought together effectively the two top players of each side Lawrence against Keith. Just two weeks earlier they had fought out a tremendous battle in the league, and this set was of a similar very high standard. Some incredible quality backhand play saw Keith take the first game. The second game saw more top class play from two top class players both showing speed of movement and athleticism that defied their ages, with Lawrence narrowly taking that game reducing the margin to just 4 points in favour of BSM 5. The gap between the two teams back to 2 points in favour of BSM 4. Set 4 was like a see-saw, Colin storming through the first game and Steve sailing serenely through the second, the contrasting styles of the two players making great watching for the 20 plus spectators. The final difference between the two players just 3 points in favour of Steve, moving the BSM 5 team into the lead by just 1 point.

The next set between Dermot and Keith contained perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the night. Keith needed to win this well to keep his teams hopes on track. But Dermot came out of the blocks at 100mph and steamed through the first game. Keith pulled himself together and at the start of the second game his backhand once again started to flow. For a moment it looked as if Keith had sustained an injury late in the second game, but he held his nerve and pulled through, but Dermot over the two games had gained a highly valuable 3 point advantage and now the BSM 4 team were ahead.

Lawrence then put them further ahead despatching Julian in straight games. It would need a monumental effort for the BSM 5 team to get back into it. Keith  did his best, regaining his poise for a solid win over Colin after a slightly uncomfortable start, but the BSM 5 team were still 6 behind. Could Julian pull off something extraordinary? This proved to be a key and decisive set, as many had predicted. From the very first point Dermot showed that he was determined there would be just one outcome to this set. Julian fought all the way but just couldn't get his nose in front. By the end it would need a miracle from Steve in the last set to see the BSM 5 team across the line.

Mathematically at just 22 points behind it was possible for Steve to pull off that miracle, but he faced a very determined Lawrence! There was some fabulous table tennis in this final set, some high drama, tension and just a little showmanship. A terrific finale for the spectators. In the end it was Lawrence who secured another 11 points for his team, giving BSM 4 an overall winning margin of 33 points. 

What a match. It was great to have Mrs Marjorie Murphy on hand to present the trophies along with League Chairman, and Cup Secretary, Liam Shaw. Fittingly the evening ended with some excellent refreshments, well earned after a great night of thrilling, top class play.



Above the match scorecard, and to the right Marjorie Murphy presents the trophy to winning captain, Colin Turner. This is now the third successive year Colin has won this trophy! A unique performance.
Below the two teams. At least 4 of these players are previous winners of this trophy. From left to right the players are: Keith Williams, Dermot Tierney, Matthew Wilson, Colin Turner, Lawrence Kenwright, Steve Green and Julian Quirk.
Great pictures provided by Ray Hibbs Photography.
More images from the match can be found in the short video below.

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