Divisions 1 & 2 Knockout Cup 2016/17
This season we will be holding a knockout cup for the three player teams, using a different format to normal league matches. The format will be three players per team, with each player playing two singles and two doubles games per match.
Scorecards for these matches are available in the Information>Downloads section of the website.
Knockout Cup Final - British Sugar v Thurston Spitfires
29/03/2017 - Bob Harman
Firstly, I need to take you back in time around a couple of weeks before the actual final of this spanking new and popular event in the Bury ping calendar. Enter stage left Spitfires Captain, Colin ‘Blackadder’ Baxter chatting to his trusted sidekick Mark ‘Baldrick’ Cracknell whilst enjoying a pint in a darkened and cobwebbed corner of the ye olde Nutshell pub in Bury:
Colin: (whispers) Listen up young Mark, I have a very, very, very cunning plan.
Mark: (excited) Is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Cambridge University but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning?
Colin: (calmly) Indeedy it is, young Mark, now shut up for a minute and pin your ears back, you might learn something
Mark: (even more excited) Ok...that's a good idea...reveal all if you please, oh cunning one
Colin: (sneakily) Here’s my cunning plan, in the final we are due to play soon, we have won home advantage against that pesky Bob Harman and his motley crew of Sugar boys, but I want to be able to decide the order of play, so we’ll give the most agreeable of them, Mark James, a call and suggest we play at their place - as they would then have to put their order down first and being we only have two singles matches to play each, as well three doubles, we can then gain ourselves a useful advantage by me ducking Will (Hall) in the singles, and you ducking Bob and so on and so forth. What do you think?
Mark: (admiringly) Omg, it’s a mind-blowing masterplan, you are such a clever ducker, and they’re such a dumb bunch of daffodils that they won’t cotton on at all to your particularly devious and brilliant plan. May I be so bold as to suggest you tell them that we can’t possibly get our venue that week and I’m certain they’ll jump at the chance to avoid playing at our place, as anyone would I suppose (ruefully)…it’s truly the most cunning of all your cunning plans and there have been a few of those over the years - let’s face it, you would never have beaten Bob without the help of that Christmas tree getting in his way all the time. Strangely, it never bothered me that huge bejewelled fir tree being in the way…
Colin: (angrily) That’s because you never move more than a centipede would in a month of Sundays you nitwit - you would make an elderly sloth appear fast and God knows I have tried to get you to move your feet, even the electric shock treatment I invested in the soles of your trainers at great personal expense had no effect whatsoever on you. I sometimes wonder if you are human at all!
Mark: (grimaces) Gimme a break boss, I just have extremely slow slow twitch muscles, it’s not my fault, we can’t all leap around like you and the Sugar lads. Anyway, I reserve my energies for things I enjoy, like raising my pint up like this – look, see? (waves his pint threateningly over CB’s head)
Colin: (harshly) Ok Mark, no need to explain to me or show off that you can lift a whole pint up in the air all by yourself, you’ll do yourself a freaking mischief – now just keep quiet on the night of the final and let Andy do all the talking, I’ll do the thinking…(grins)
Mark: Yes master…(sighs)
So match night finally arrived – but what Captain Baxter hadn’t realised was that the Sugar boys were indeed fully aware of his potential masterplan (yes they do have more than one brain cell between them contrary to general opinion) and had devised a fairly cunning plot of their own. It involved writing out three match cards with differing home team order and then switching it with the card filled in by the unsuspecting CB to one with an order to suit them, which would scupper the perceived away advantage, and if and when it was picked up by the opposing team, they would just blame CB for putting his order down wrongly and make him stick by it. Only problem with it was that the person assigned to printing out the three cards actually forgot to do so and arrived on the night empty-handed!! Doh……
Anyway, as for the match itself, well it was played in very good spirits and the standard generally was very high, as you would hopefully expect from the top two teams in the League. It seemed that a major part of the CB plan, either by accident or design, saw himself playing his two singles quite early on in proceedings (games 1 and 4), in a bid to avoid clashing with his nemesis Will Hall.
The only problem with this you have to turn up and play well to expect a cunning masterplan to bear fruit and in this case, unfortunately for the Spitfires it totally backfired, with Colin finding both Bob and Dom ‘Wrecking Ball’ Melero far too hot to handle on the night. Will, who had been looking like winning his first singles (match 2) at 2-0 in sets, was outlasted by a gritty and in-form Andy Cullen, who got one on the board for his team in a five set thriller. The first of doubles (match 3) was a also bit of an epic duel, lasting at least half an hour and just going the way of the home team in five very tough sets.
So it was down to Will to lift himself up from the disappointment of losing his first match and hoping to find his best form against Mark (match 5) who was playing really well. However the latter’s slow play while preparing to serve almost sent young Will to sleep. The time it took for Mark to crank himself up to serve each time was quite frustrating to watch never mind play against, a can of spinach Popeye-style definitely required to enhance any chance of another away point.
Unlike the tale of the hare and the tortoise, this one ended up as a win for the hare, as Will kept his concentration just about intact and won the match in five long zzzzzzzzets, securing a 4-1 lead to the Bury champions – swiftly followed by the second doubles (match 6) which resulted in a home win again in four tough sets, sealing an unassailable 5-1 lead for the Sugar boys. The rest of the matches were competed and completed mostly for completion’s sake and the Sugar boys saw off the Spitfires by a final match score of 7-2.
Everyone I spoke to involved in the newly devised knockout cup thoroughly enjoyed the new format, could it even replace the current League format in years to come? A lot of players particularly enjoy a game of doubles and to play three on a night would be a bonus for them possibly, and of course shorten what can be a long evening at times by one match. Definitely food for thought and possibly something to discuss at the next AGM?
For this multi-doubles format and 6 singles to work successfully in the League itself (9 matches in total rather than the current 10), one would need to stick with the current points system (one point for each match won) to decide the championship – because this evening was a good example of one team (the losing) wanting to play on after the match was decided after only the sixth match of the evening and one team (the winning) not bothered at all about seeing the remaining matches through to the bitter end. 2 points for a win simply wouldn’t work if the current League match format is indeed ever changed to the knock-out version.
British Sugar 7 v 2 Thurston Spitfires
Bob Harman bt Colin Baxter 10, 6, 6
Will Hall lost to Andy Cullen 7, 6, -9, -9, -3
Harman/Dominic Melero bt Cullen/Mark Cracknell 5, -8, 12, -9, 11
Melero bt Baxter 5, 3, 8
Hall bt Cracknell 10, -9, 8, -10, 7
Harman/Hall bt Cullen/Baxter -8, 9, 8, 10
Melero bt Cracknell 10, 7, 12
Harman lost to Cullen -8, -9, -7
Hall/Melero bt Baxter/Cracknell 5, 5, -13, 8
Thurston Spitfires 5 v 4 Thurston Vulcans
British Sugar 9 v 0 Rougham Lions
Second round draw/results:
Thurston Spitfires 9 v 0 Stowmarket Pumas
British Sugar 9 v 0 Bury Vikings
Sugar Blades 2 v 7 Rougham Lions
Bury Romans 1 v 8 Thurston Vulcans
First round results:
Rougham Rangers 0 v 9 Rougham Lions
Stowmarket Tigers 0 v 9 British Sugar
Stowmarket Leopards 0 v 9 Thurston Spitfires
Stowmarket Pumas 8 v 1 Thurston Victors
Stowmarket Jaguars 0 v 9 Sugar Blades
Bury Normans 0 v 9 Bury Vikings
Bury Crusaders 2 v 7 Thurston Vulcans
Bury Romans receive a Bye