This week sees the start of another new table tennis season in the Liverpool & District League. You can find a preview of the season under 'News Stories' on the Club website. This season there are three divisions in which there will be more than 1 Bath Street team, last season there were just 2. Rivalry between teams is therefore likely to be a regular feature, with 10 derbies scheduled of which 6 will be in division three as there are 3 club teams in that division! Healthy rivalry is no bad thing of itself, after all in any match both teams start out with the aim of getting the best result possible.
The very first week saw the first example of that rivalry. Ian McElwee's BSM D team acted as host to Dave Noden's BSM C. The two teams had finished 3rd & 4th respectively in Division 3 last season so you could expect the air to be tense! One couldn't help but feel a little sorry for Ian on the night, as he found that he was short of 2 players and had to draft in substitutes for the occasion, Dave's team by contrast were at full strength. But what a match followed! It was long, and at times definitely noisy! Every player fought tooth and nail for their games and at times there was some really top quality play. Ian starred for the home side keeping the D Team in the match by winning all 3 of his singles. Ned chipped in for the D team with a fighting win over his Southport team mate Ted Cramsie. Now here's an interesting fact! We discovered that Ted had once been a film star! Some 54 years ago he earned a fee of 8 guineas being an 'extra' in an episode of Z Cars! Below you will see the proof! Obviously the BBC was over paying it's work force even then!
As for the match, it ended with honours even - in a draw! And you can see just how competitive and close it was from the final doubles match. Dave & Darren fought back from being 2:0 down against Ian & Ned to level at 2:2. It was just sheer dogged determination that got them back into it! In the final end they fought back again to take the game to deuce, indeed they had a match point! But Ian and Ned pulled out two brilliant points to snatch the game 12:10 and secure the draw. What a night, the match finally ending at gone 11:30 pm!
Hopefully other derbies won't be quite as long, but there is little doubt that there will be an equal amount of fiercely competitive rivalry! As long as it remains in the true spirit of table tennis, all will be well!
1. Evidence of 'film star' Ted!
2. Dave Noden's BSM C team - Team Cramsie, Dave Noden & Daren Taylor
3. Ian's makeshift BSM D team - Graham Turner, Ian McElwee & Ned Hassan