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News Release - BSMTTC News 176
Dateline: 05 July 2024

A fitting end!

It seems entirely appropriate that the top two teams in the Marine Mini Summer League should be in action on the very last day of the competition contesting the final of the MMSL Cup. Thursday may have been election day, but there was definitely no certainty about the outcome of this match between Team 6 - BSR and Team 7 - Teens. And the small crowd who had turned out to watch the final were treated to some keenly contested matches and some really good table tennis. Match official for the final was Andrew Armstrong who also presented the newly commissioned cup trophy.


The final 

The beauty of the mini league is that it is fast and furious and the short format means that matches last no more than 1.5hours. Team 6 - BSR were represented by Bob Wolstenholme and Mary Delamere. Bob has played just about all of his teams matches over the 9 weeks of the competition with Mary being called on 3 times, this time to substitute for Steve Riley - who had decided to take a holiday! Team 7 - Teens were represented by Ellis Haskell and Charlie King. This pair got the team to the final, so it seemed only fair that they should take on the final too. The Teens have had the luxury over the period of the competition of having a large squad of players available, using 6 players over this mini series of matches. Ellis has however been the most consistent and has played the majority of the teams matches. In addition to Charlie, the team have also had vital contributions from Myles Ambrose and Keshav Harave and guest appearances from super subs, Seb & Will Rice. A very strong squad.

The final was introduced by Club Secretary Graham Turner, who introduced the two teams and thanked everyone who had taken part in the Mini League to make it such a successful venture. In introducing the teams Graham also thanked coach James Haskell for managing the Teens team and for his overall contribution to the success of this venture - and also the giant muffins brought in to celebrate at the end of the match!


Some of the crowd at the MMSL Cup Final, with the muffins emerging from the kitchen at the end of the match!

The match 

The match started with Mary Delamere facing Charlie King. As one might expect for the first set of the night, the game started a little nervously, but once it got going both players contributed to a very close set. Charlie overcoming one or two serve errors with some very powerful forehand shots to just give him the edge and his team a 0:3 start. With every game won counting as a point it was really important that BSR strike back, and what a set the second one turned out to be. After 3 games, each of which saw the players within 2 points of each other, Ellis was up 1:2, but Bob fought back taking the 4th to leave the set tied. In a very close last game it looked as if Bob just had the edge, but 2 given away service points allowed Ellis to get back to deuce and he didn't look back, snatching the final two points for a 2:3 win, a terrific set. 

Ellis remained at the table to face Mary, this time making no mistake to take the Teens into an unassailable 2:9 lead. Once again Bob fought back and another 5 game set followed against Charlie. This time it was Charlie's turn to recover from 2 down to level the set, then in a thrilling last game Bob overcame the errors of his first set to steel the match with a 12:10 fifth game win. The two games won by Charlie were however enough to make sure that Team BSR could not close the gap. 

In the final doubles it looked as if the Teens were going to race away with it taking a clear 0:2 lead, but again the golden oldies fought back to take the third end. Unfortunately the Teens were not able to complete the match, due to a mini medical issue, but the 3 points were not enough for Team BSR leaving the final score at 8:13 in favour of the Teens. It had been an excellent match with a great spirit shown by all players, and a very involved crowd appreciating all the action.

The presentation 

At the end of the match, Andrew Armstrong - who acted as the match official - presented the newly commissioned cup to the winning team and congratulated the runners-up on a very fine effort. The Teens had completed the double winning the League and the Cup in this first series of mini summer league matches. Hopefully there can be another similar competition next year.

Overall it has to be said that the mini summer league has been a terrific success, and already several of the participants are looking forward to once again taking part in the North Liverpool Mini League over the 2024-25 table tennis season.

In our pictures:
1. The four players shake before the start! Ellis acting as captain for the Teens and Bob the captain of BSR.

2. Andrew congratulates the runners-up Mary & Bob.

3. Andrew presents the trophy to Charlie & Ellis.

4. All smiles for the boys at the end. A great campaign by the Teens, under the watchful management of James Haskell.

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