Week 3 of the second half of the L&DTTL table tennis season once again featured derby matches for 6 of the Club's teams. These are always great occasions with considerable 'friendly' rivalry between the teams.
The only teams not involved in derby's were the 1st Team in Division 1, they just took a week off, and the E Team in Division 4. It's been a funny season so far for the E Team who have struggled to field a settled team due to various circumstances. But the start of the second half of the season has seen improvement, and this week saw the team, of Keith Dudley (Captain), Peter Ashley, Tony Bramham and Graham Turner, record their third successive win, with Tony winning both of his singles for the first time resulting in a narrow 4:6 victory away to Sefton Park B.
Tuesday saw the first derby, in Division 3, between Ian McElwee's D Team, sitting 2nd in the division, at 'home' to Dave Noden's C Team sitting 5th in the division. On the night, neither team could field their full squad! Only 1 regular member of the D team was able to play. Captain Ian himself out of action with a chest infection, No.3 Ula Kuczek out through work commitments, which left Les Dodd on his own! Keith Dudley and Ray Hibbs were able to substitute. For the C Team, No.2 Ted Cramsie was unable to play due to illness but Graham Turner was called in at the last moment to substitute. So at least the match was able to go ahead. There is no doubt that the revised line-up had a profound effect on the outcome! There was simply no stopping Dave & Darren for the C Team. Keith had a good go against Dave and Ray put in the performance of the night in trying to match Darren; but the end result was a crushing victory for the C Team 1:9, moving them up to 4th and the D Team down to 3rd! Hopefully both teams will be back to full strength for their remaining fixtures.
Below, the C Team on the night of Graham Turner, Dave Noden (Captain) & Darren Taylor; and the D Team on the night of Ray Hibbs, Les Dodd (Captain) and Keith Dudley.
The second derby match was on Wednesday with the A Team, captained by Barry Davis, currently topping Division 2, at 'home' to Brian Crolley's B Team, who have faced a very tough life in Division 2 this season. The absence of their No.1 Andy Cheung didn't make life any easier for Brian on a night when due to injury he really shouldn't have played himself! But, due to a perverse ruling of the L&DTTL, Brian was unable to call on his team substitute, newly registered Ken Jackson looking to return to league play after a 3 month lay off, and so had to play himself and call on a substitute, Keith Dudley, from division 4 to fill the gap. Keith playing in his second derby of the week as a substitute and his third match for the club in as many days! By contrast the A team were at full strength and their superiority showed through in the scoreline a 10:0 victory. In sending the picture below, photographer Mal Kent says, "here is a picture showing our team raising the only cups we will raise this year! And, without jinxing them, the A team practicing raising their own silverware at the end of the season?"
A capacity crowd watched the final derby match of the week! The Division 5 clash between Des Logan's G Team and Keith Hardman's team of newcomers the F Team. With the 2 teams rooted at the bottom of the league there was a lot to play for, and not just pride! Keith's team have really struggled in their first season of league play, and the recent loss of No.1 Stuart Reid, who has moved to Jersey with work, hasn't helped. Nevertheless each week is seeing an improvement and at some stage they will turn a corner. Their team of Tony Rimmer, Mark Benson, Ian Brownrigg, Bernard Cooney and Jenny Givens (playing both doubles) faced an uphill battle against that wily campaigner Des Logan who was able to field up and coming star Euan Mason at No.1 ably supported by Steve McCormick, Tommy Bell and Des himself. Captain Keith said of the match "tonight was what Bath Street Marine is all about, two teams in the same division giving it all! The support for both teams was tremendous, making a really enjoyable night of table tennis. On the match itself, credit to Des Logan's team for the hospitality they showed and the respect their players showed to our team." In the end there was just 1 win for the F Team, with Mark taking a singles. But some really close matches too, with Bernard just loosing out 12:10 in the 5th against Tom and really good efforts in the doubles. The final score 9:1 to the G Team.
So, three derby's and three decisive wins. But every game played with passion and commitment and all that is best in the spirit of table tennis and Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club.
Below the members of the F & G Teams, you could be forgiven for thinking they are all one team!