Bill Bradley Handicap Plate, Two Milestones in One Night

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This week saw two major milestones at the Southport Table Tennis Club: veteran member Bill Bradley celebrated his 90th birthday and also notched up 65 years playing for the club.
In those days, new members had to be introduced and elected at a Committee Meeting, so on 27 August 1953 Bill was proposed by another long-serving member, the late Dave Ashby, and seconded by a Miss Harley. Bill played his way up through the teams and soon became a regular in the first division, and by 1957 he was leading the B team to 2nd place, just behind the C team. In 1960, 1962 and 1963 he was part of the A team which won both Division 1 and the Anon Cup.
Although the Southport club's glory days of the 50's and 60's are long gone, Bill has continued to play a big part in the running of the club and was secretary for many years before becoming chairman. Indeed, his wisdom and service were recognised by his becoming an Honorary Life Member of the Southport League.

To help Bill celebrate these milestones, Southport Club members competed for the newly named Bill Bradley Handicap Plate. The final between two new members of the club, Mark Barnes and Ogi Kostov, resulted in 16-year old Ogi narrowly taking the trophy after a cracking finale to complete a wonderful evening for the man of the moment. Congratulations Bill.....     by Alan Nolan

Photos from the night can be found in the Gallery...

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PRINCES CROWN IRENE

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Princes Street has long been home to Southport sporting royalty - snooker legend Les Dodd has been based their for many years.
Now it has another sporting champion - Irene Mullan.
On 22nd August the newly established Princes St. Table Tennis Club , which has adopted the Southport Reform Synagogue as it's new home , held their annual club championships.
Each match was played over 2 games of up to 21 points , the old scoring system used to accommodate handicaps allocated to give every player an equal chance of winning.
Division 3 player Irene Mullan advanced to the final after beating club legend and division 1 player Darren Taylor in a closely fought semi final.
In the other half of the draw Ian Lunt , a stalwart of one of the club's division 2 teams, won through claiming the scalp of fellow division 2 regular Derek Aitken in his semi final.
In the final Irene received a 14 point advantage, which kick started  an epic tussle . Ian deployed his spin serves and topspin drives to take an early advantage. Irene clung on and gradually clawed back some of Ian's lead, with some tremendous blocks and controlled topspin winners. First game to Ian 21-13, putting him firmly in the driving seat.
In the 2nd game Irene came out with renewed vigour , attacking more , and taking the match to Ian. Mixing her usual counter hitting with a little more aggression the 2nd game was much closer, and at 20-15 up Ian went for a topspin kill and missed by a fraction. The game ended 21-16 to Ian, which after adding the handicap, Irene had won by just 1 point - incredible finish.
In the doubles competition the division 2 pairing of Colin Fyles and Derek Aitken took on Darren Taylor ( D1) and Andy Armstrong ( D2) in the final. With a 6 point advantage Colin and Derek were never really in trouble and ran out worthy winners.
So ended Princes St. TTC's first championship in their new home and now they eagerly look forward to the start of the new season next week.                                   

                                                                                                                           Nick Foss

More photos in the Gallery

Introduction to 2018-19

Table Tennis resumes on the Monday 10th September, and to bring you up to speed with several changes, I will endeavour to explain...

With the loss of two teams (Argyle A and Holy Trinity A) from Division 1, no teams were relegated to Division 2. Argyle B now take on the mantle of Argyle A, whilst the once doomed Argyle C stay put as Argyle B.  Crosby C also got a reprieve and are joined by their promoted E team who become the D team making it a quartet of teams in the top tier for the Crosby club. Promoted Princes St. D take their place in Division 1 as the newly named clubs C team. Finally last years Holy Trinity B take over as their A team

In the 2nd Division, again there are some changes, which mainly are caused by the knock on effect from those 1st Division alterations. Holy Trinity C becoming their B team, and continuing the stepping up at Argyle, their F (3rd Div) team from last year have been asked to play up a Division as Argyle E. Crosby F are not relegated due to additions in the 3rd division. Promoted Waterloo A and B complete the line up.

Interesting developments indeed in the bottom tier. Because of the loss of their A team, it meant a lot of upward movement of players at Argyle. This however was solved with the introduction of a complete new team under the guise of Argyle H, even leaving enough players so as to enter a further J team. Relegated Holy Trinity D were also another casualty, fortunately Princes St came to the rescue entering an F team, making it 11 teams in each division.  This all sounds a little confusing and hopefully I have got it right in the main, but as the squads get announced and the season gets under way, it will all fall into place. Just the one question still begs to be answered, can anyone arrest Crosby A’s stranglehold on that number one position. A new look Southport A will have first bite of that particular cherry when the champions visit The Amelan Hall next week. Princes St A, Holy Trinity A and last years runners up Crosby B will also be hoping to push the champions all the way. In the 2nd Division, Holy Trinity B look like the ones to catch, whilst Argyle C and D will again be up for the fight for promotion. Of course there will be the small matter of the two promoted Waterloo teams, who could both become surprise packages. Argyle F (last seasons H team), Princes St F, North Meols and The Para’s head the list of favourites in the 3rd Division, although the new Argyle H team seem to have something up their sleeves, let’s just say at this early stage their lineup could be a talking point. That, and all the ups and downs will I am sure make it another captivating season, so good luck to all……

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WEEK 1 Southport and District TTL

With the postponement of Champions Crosby A’a visit to Southport A, due to the unavailability of the premises, then the 1st Division double header at Crosby High School was the place to go. Last years runners up Crosby B entertained Princes St A, whilst Crosby C hosted Holy Trinity A. Superb start from Princes St saw them strike first with a Matty Wilson’s three straight win over B team captain Mark Davies, before his son Rhys did a similar job on Michael Stewart to make it 1-1. Princes St then regained the lead, captain Darren Taylor getting the better of Peter Ashley, again in three straight, only for Francois Rafferty to repay the compliment in beating Dave Noden to again square things up. Tremendous play so far from both sides  was to be cranked up a notch or three! Rhys verses Matty, the two number ones were up next, and what a tussle it was. Rhys pinched the first 12-10, and then took the second 11-5, before Matty got back into it taking the third by a whisker 13-15. Having thought you had seen everything, young Rhys produced some incredible winners to clinch the fourth 11-5, leaving Matty wondering ‘how do you beat this kid?’ Nevertheless Crosby led for the first time on the night. Francois then made it 4-2, by just about overcoming Michael in a titanic five game battle, a 12-10,5-11,11-6,6-11,11-9 scoreline telling only half the story. Mark then won the the captains contest to make it 5-2, before Peter clinched the match with a four game win against Dave. Both doubles also went the way of the home side making the the final score 8-2 Crosby B, leaving Princes St a little shell shocked.

Crosby C’s baptism in the 1st Division was made considerably harder with the absence of  Rashad Al Dahiri. Nick Wilson moved up to number one , with Elliott Cooper coming in at four. Holy Trinity A with new captain Ned Hassen must have been buoyed by the return of Paul Gittins. Great start too for the visitors, Matt Cranny delivering  a final 3-11 blow in the fifth to defeat young Nick. Further wins for Ted Cramsie, Matt and doubles pairing Paul and Matt, made it a resounding start at 0-4 Holy Trinity. Captain Max then gave his team some hope, winning in three straight over Ned. However that hope slowly disappeared as first Ted won an epic five gamer against Felix Anderson, whilst then Paul chipped in with two wins, either side of a second double success, which made it 1-8 for the visitors. Young Elliott however had the last say, a three straight win over Ned made the final score 2-8 Holy Trinity A…a superb evenings table tennis.

Argyle A and B teams started the season well, with wins over Crosby D and Princes ST C  respectfully.

In the 2nd Division Julian Dutch’s Argyle C got off to a flyer with an convincing away win at Crosby F, whilst Holy Trinity B’s credentials were all there to be seen after an impressive home win over Southport B.  Both promoted teams Waterloo A and B suffered at the hands of the new Princes St club where firstly the B team went down to a good looking Princes St D team, Derek Aitken being the pick of the bunch with a full quota of wins. Waterloo A fared a little better just missing out to another strong Princes St E team.  Argyle D’s home clash with Crosby E provided another close affair, where winning both doubles was decisive for the home side. How many times I wonder that same scenario will be played out this season.

Two fabulous contests got the 3rd Division underway in fine style. A new look Crosby G fought out an exciting home draw against Southport D, before Princes St’s new F team, did exactly the same thing against a spirited Crosby H. A great turn out at The Reform Synagogue witnessed a fabulous encounter here , which was filled with outstanding performances from both sides, no more than that of home player Sam Davies  and Crosby’s Daniel Gresty who took all the accolades. Argyle H came out on top of their ‘mini derby’ verses their J team, although the 8-2 scoreline was a little hard on the clubs new arrivals. Without their captain Ian Littlewood, the Para’s came a little unstuck against an Argyle F team who carried on where they left off last season, proving a third place or even better is a distinct possibility. Finally Argyle G had a very good but narrow victory over North Meols, number one Lewis Hible with a full quota of wins being the hero of the hour.

All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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Apologies to Princes St, Waddington !! really, 'old habits die hard' ?

WEEK 2   Southport & District TTL

In the 1st Division both Champions Crosby A and Southport A got their season up and running with very good wins over Argyle A and Waddington B respectively. Crosby had to do it without number one Jack Dempsey, but the usual lineup along with new signing Gavin Lloyd, saw the ‘champs’ home 8-2. A strong Southport team even without Bernard Frank, came well out on top by the same scoreline. Crosby C again found the going tough against their D team, in a 3-7 loss, whilst it was business as usual for Crosby B, who completed an emphatic 9-1 win at Holy Trinity A . Rhys Davies headlined again, in only conceding 16pts in his two singles, one better in fact than in his doubles win with his dad Mark. Impressive form. Another Father and Son (Darren and Josh Taylor) combination took the eye in the Princes St. A verses C ‘derby’ but this time they were on opposite sides and being captains to boot, gave the match a wonderful opener. Seniority won the day this time with dad Darren clinching it 13-11 in the fifth for the A team. Josh then put that behind him to help his team to a hard fought draw.

Argyle was the venue for our feature match from Division 2, where their C team entertained Holy Trinity B. A much changed visiting side got off to a great start with acting captain Brian Crolley getting the better of home captain Jules Dutch in four games, 9-11,11-9, 5-11, 5-11. Callum Richardson then tied things up winning a captivating encounter against Jannette Hutchings. Callum’s top spin attack doing the trick in the first,11-4, Janette’s solid defence reversing the trend in the second 6-11. Again the third and fourth games panned out much the same but very much closer, 11-9,11-13, taking us into a fifth, which Callum took 11-6. Naresh Tagore then restored Argyle’s advantage winning a superb contest in four games against Gordon Parmenter, where the second game itself was an epic edged 17-15 by the home player. Argyle’s young Patrick Devlin held all the aces, in a three straight win over Ron Makin, before Callum justified his number one position completing a very good win over his opposite number Brian, which made the score 4-1 Argyle. Jules with a three straight win over Gordon then made the match at least safe at 5-1, leaving it to Patrick and Janette to either secure or delay victory. A close first saw Patrick just pinch it 11-9, however back came Janette to take the next two both 7-11. Some superb defensive play from both players, particularly from Patrick who kept to his game plan throughout, which gave him a notable win 12-10,11-9, and of course an important win for his side. Naresh verses Ron was up next to complete the singles, and it was Ron who looked the more determined taking the first two 7-11,10-12. But as the third progressed Naresh began to take control, and was back in it with a comfortable 5-11 win. It then looked like a fog had descended on Ron’s game at the start of the fourth, as Naresh swept into a 7-0 lead. Ron mustered up a few points and then with a few more, he couldn’t, could he? At 8-8 Ron appeared to be back at his best, and made sure of a deserved win,9-11, just fabulous play.  An entertaining night was brought to a close with the doubles being shared, giving a final score of 7-3 Argyle C…. Argyle D matched their C team’s result away to Waterloo B, who continuing the family theme, had two father and son pairs making up their team, but messrs Jago and Mooney found the visitors just too strong. Waterloo A’s match at Southport B was postponed, as was the Princes St’s ‘mini derby’ between their E and D teams, both due to unavailable premises. Finally Crosby E lost out to Argyle E .

In the 3rd Division, Argyle F also with a father and son duo Mo and Kasra Mohammadi, continued their promising start with a maximum win over Crosby G. Para’s on the other hand, suffered another disappointing result against a buoyant Crosby H, but wasn’t that surprising, considering they were without Mark Wilson from the start, and lost his replacement John Thompson in the early stages of the match. Argyle H’s visit to North Meols turned out to be a cracker, going down to the last match, Liam Ward giving the visitors an ever so close 4-6 win. Southport D and Argyle G fought out an entertaining draw, Southport’s young Matt Bishop and Argyle’s Lewis Hible being the standout performers. Southport C’s 4-6 win at Argyle J, gave them a good start to the season, although it was Argyle’s Connor Peake who caught the eye with a terrific double, leaving the match to be decided by the visitors winning both doubles.   All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 3  SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

In Division 1, the Crosby B and C ‘derby’ not only produced a wonderful spectacle, but a big surprise in the final resulting draw. With both teams at full strength, the return of C team number one Rashad Al Dahiri  looked to have proved decisive. A single success along with a doubles win with captain Max Davies gave the C team a slender 2-3 advantage at halfway, before Rhys chipped in, completing a full quota of wins, either side of a Felix Anderson win for the C team, which squared it up at 4-4. Not to be outdone Max then completed his own full quota, at the expense of his Dad Mark, only for Francois Rafferty to save the match with his second victory on the night. Great match, and in hindsight a deserved draw for the C team, who on this showing look to be well fitted to ‘life in the fast lane’.  Argyle A got their season up and running with a maximum win over Princes St. B. Crosby A also came out well on top in their ‘derby’ against their D team, whilst Holy Trinity A’s 3-7 win at Princes St. C, was mainly down to two wins apiece from Paul Gittins and Matt Cranny, accompanied by success in both doubles.

After just three weeks , Argyle C and D are the only two teams to have remained unbeaten, both with 100% records, after narrow wins over Waterloo A and Princes St. E respectively. Thomas Ray returned for Southport B’s away trip to Princes St D, producing a full quota of wins, which gave the visitors a close 4-6 win. Even closer at the Holy Trinity B verses Crosby F match, where neither side were never more than one point ahead, finishing 5-5. Brian Crolley for Holy Trinity and Ciaran Lynch  from Crosby were the standout performers. Waterloo B finally got a win on the board for the Merchant Taylors based club. A 2-8 success at Argyle E certainly got their mojo’s (or should that be their Jago’s ) running. Ironically, only Chris Jago suffered, but son Nathan, Aidan Mooney and Euan Mason made it a very difficult night for the Argyle outfit.

Argyle F continued their great start in the 3rd Division, a 3-7 win in their ‘mini derby’ against their G team maintained that 100% feeling, with Phil Marshall and Kasra Mohammadi both with full quota’s catching the eye.  Argyle H are also enjoying a similar feeling, so the Argyle club was the destination for our feature match when they entertained Southport D. Would the home side find that ‘X’ factor, or would they be happy to settle for the ‘H’ factor they already have! With a squad containing three generations of the Hesketh family , Jeff (Grandad), Paul and Lee (sons) along with grandson Ryan, then my first question is, is this a record for the Southport League? I have been reliably informed that in and around 2004, Tony Wilson (Grandad) ,Ged Wilson (son ,and still playing for Princes St) and granddaughter Hannah formed most of a St. Teresas team, with John Daniels and Jack Ashby. Prior to that, a team called ‘The W Club’ way back in the late 1940’s, who actually won the 2nd Division, boasted four members of the same family, that being the Wilsons again, Tony, Ernie, Dave and Ted. Answers on a postcard please along with any further information…. Back to match, and with Jeff this time overseeing the team, Argyle H got off to a flying start . Both doubles were first up, it being a useful insight of what lies ahead. Both though were  won by the home side with just Southport’s Mal Collier and Dai Davies taking Liam Ward and Ryan to four games. Further wins from Lee and Paul against Jordan Shandley and Pat Boylett, respectively put the ‘H ‘ team 4-0 ahead. Mal then caused number one Liam some problems in the first game just losing out 13-11, before Liam finished well to make it 5-0 Argyle. Lee and then Liam put the match beyond the visitors, with straight victories over first Dai and then Jordan. Ryan against Dai then gave the visitors some respite, where Dai’s experience was just too much for Argyle’s youngest Hesketh, three straight, made the score 7-1. Nearly another back, and it was that man Mal again, who pushed Paul all the way, but lost out 13-11 in the third. Last word to Ryan though, who stuck to his task well in overcoming a stubborn evergreen Pat , three straight it was, but easy it certainly wasn’t. Final score 9-1 Argyle H. Para’s got their first win of the season with a convincing win over Crosby G, where Marina Sinitsa made her debut alongside her brother Kostya. Argyle J pulled off a very good win away to Princes St. F. Having swept into an early 0-3 lead, they were made to wait until the last contest of the evening when double pairing Lawrence Phillips and Robert Yeung clinched a close 4-6 win.

Finally, just to return to our family theme for a moment. As well as those already mentioned, we have in all at least 15 parents and offspring playing in the Southport league,  plus 6 pairs of siblings and 4 married couples. Throw in the fact that the age range of all players varies from 10 - 90 years old, then that I believe covers all bases, for more information please go to www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 3  SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

In Division 1, the Crosby B and C ‘derby’ not only produced a wonderful spectacle, but a big surprise in the final resulting draw. With both teams at full strength, the return of C team number one Rashad Al Dahiri  looked to have proved decisive. A single success along with a doubles win with captain Max Davies gave the C team a slender 2-3 advantage at halfway, before Rhys chipped in, completing a full quota of wins, either side of a Felix Anderson win for the C team, which squared it up at 4-4. Not to be outdone Max then completed his own full quota, at the expense of his Dad Mark, only for Francois Rafferty to save the match with his second victory on the night. Great match, and in hindsight a deserved draw for the C team, who on this showing look to be well fitted to ‘life in the fast lane’.  Argyle A got their season up and running with a maximum win over Princes St. B. Crosby A also came out well on top in their ‘derby’ against their D team, whilst Holy Trinity A’s 3-7 win at Princes St. C, was mainly down to two wins apiece from Paul Gittins and Matt Cranny, accompanied by success in both doubles.

After just three weeks , Argyle C and D are the only two teams to have remained unbeaten, both with 100% records, after narrow wins over Waterloo A and Princes St. E respectively. Thomas Ray returned for Southport B’s away trip to Princes St D, producing a full quota of wins, which gave the visitors a close 4-6 win. Even closer at the Holy Trinity B verses Crosby F match, where neither side were never more than one point ahead, finishing 5-5. Brian Crolley for Holy Trinity and Ciaran Lynch  from Crosby were the standout performers. Waterloo B finally got a win on the board for the Merchant Taylors based club. A 2-8 success at Argyle E certainly got their mojo’s (or should that be their Jago’s ) running. Ironically, only Chris Jago suffered, but son Nathan, Aidan Mooney and Euan Mason made it a very difficult night for the Argyle outfit.

Argyle F continued their great start in the 3rd Division, a 3-7 win in their ‘mini derby’ against their G team maintained that 100% feeling, with Phil Marshall and Kasra Mohammadi both with full quota’s catching the eye.  Argyle H are also enjoying a similar feeling, so the Argyle club was the destination for our feature match when they entertained Southport D. Would the home side find that ‘X’ factor, or would they be happy to settle for the ‘H’ factor they already have! With a squad containing three generations of the Hesketh family , Jeff (Grandad), Paul and Lee (sons) along with grandson Ryan, then my first question is, is this a record for the Southport League? I have been reliably informed that in and around 2004, Tony Wilson (Grandad) ,Ged Wilson (son ,and still playing for Princes St) and granddaughter Hannah formed most of a St. Teresas team, with John Daniels and Jack Ashby. Prior to that, a team called ‘The W Club’ way back in the late 1940’s, who actually won the 2nd Division, boasted four members of the same family, that being the Wilsons again, Tony, Ernie, Dave and Ted. Answers on a postcard please along with any further information…. Back to match, and with Jeff this time overseeing the team, Argyle H got off to a flying start . Both doubles were first up, it being a useful insight of what lies ahead. Both though were  won by the home side with just Southport’s Mal Collier and Dai Davies taking Liam Ward and Ryan to four games. Further wins from Lee and Paul against Jordan Shandley and Pat Boylett, respectively put the ‘H ‘ team 4-0 ahead. Mal then caused number one Liam some problems in the first game just losing out 13-11, before Liam finished well to make it 5-0 Argyle. Lee and then Liam put the match beyond the visitors, with straight victories over first Dai and then Jordan. Ryan against Dai then gave the visitors some respite, where Dai’s experience was just too much for Argyle’s youngest Hesketh, three straight, made the score 7-1. Nearly another back, and it was that man Mal again, who pushed Paul all the way, but lost out 13-11 in the third. Last word to Ryan though, who stuck to his task well in overcoming a stubborn evergreen Pat , three straight it was, but easy it certainly wasn’t. Final score 9-1 Argyle H. Para’s got their first win of the season with a convincing win over Crosby G, where Marina Sinitsa made her debut alongside her brother Kostya. Argyle J pulled off a very good win away to Princes St. F. Having swept into an early 0-3 lead, they were made to wait until the last contest of the evening when double pairing Lawrence Phillips and Robert Yeung clinched a close 4-6 win.

Finally, just to return to our family theme for a moment. As well as those already mentioned, we have in all at least 15 parents and offspring playing in the Southport league,  plus 6 pairs of siblings and 4 married couples. Throw in the fact that the age range of all players varies from 10 - 90 years old, then that I believe covers all bases, for more information please go to www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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ANON CUP 1st ROUND

A Princes St ‘derby’ got things underway with the clubs D and F teams competing in a preliminary round, to give us a thirty two team 1st round draw, and what a decent opener they served up. Wins from Colin Fyles, Irene Mullan and Ian Lunt put the 2nd division outfit in a commanding position, before Brian Holden got one back for F team. Ian and Irene then inflicted more damage to the 3rd division teams ambitions, making the score 5-1, but a stubborn mini revival, made the D team wait another two encounters, before victory was eventually clinched 6-3… With the proviso that all 1st division teams are seeded so as not to meet in the 1st round, then eleven teams would be faced with an unenviable task. Which was exactly how what happened as eight lower teams failed to register a single point, whilst the only top tier hiccups occurred when Princes St D’s Gordon Wood and Derek Aitkin with a win a piece put the brakes on a touch on Argyle A’s progression, and Waterloo A’s Peter Roberts did likewise with just a single win against Princes St A.  An understrength Argyle C kept up their good 2nd division form against their G team from the 3rd, coming out on top 7-3, where Lewis Hible’s full quota of wins accounted for all Argyle G’s points. That was also the scoreline in another 3rd vs 2nd division clash between Crosby G and Argyle E, where again the 2nd division side triumphed but only after young Jack Savage with a three from three ( including a doubles win with Pat Hyde) kept his side in it until Lol Philips clinched the win for the visitors. Holy Trinity B’s all 2nd division home clash with Crosby E again had a very similar pattern, home player Keith Dudley being the main reason his side were still in with a chance, two single successes along with a doubles win with Janette Hutchings, made the score 3-5, but visiting captain Elliot Cooper had the last word with his second single’s win to ensure his side progression. Argyle J were unlucky to lose a player very early on in their home match against North Meols, resulting in a comfortable win for the visitors. So in all, the lower sides had a somewhat tortuous time against their illustrious counterparts, but on the plus side, getting the chance to play them is surely an experience to learn from. That was exactly the way 3rd division Crosby H approached their visit to top tier Argyle B. Yes, it was fairly straightforward for the home side, but youngsters Louie Cooper and Luke Govier, as well as Dan Gresty and captain Andrew Hawkins, made a great effort in making a game of it, and with all 10 contests played out, then a few lessons would surely have been learnt on the way, giving a lot of credit to both sides. One matches result  is still outstanding leaving just Southport B’s visit to Argyle D, which turned out to be the tie of the round, by some distance.

 

Mike Rice making his debut for the visitors got them off to great start overcoming Callum Richardson in four games. Les Dodd then tied things up with a three straight win against Jeff Cummins, only for Alan Nolan to repay the compliment verses Les Lord to put his side back in front. Despite losing the first against Jim irving, Nick Miller then took the next three to make it 2-2, after which the double’s couldn’t put any daylight between the teams, and with one win each, it was now 3-3. Alan then capped off a great evening for himself by just getting the edge on Callum in a five game thriller, 11-13 in the fifth, before Les Dodd too chipped in with his second win of the evening to square things up yet again at 4-4. With the match score so delicately poised, Countback to ‘games won’ could come into play, and Argyle held the upper hand leading 17-14. So when Nick took to the table to face Mike, all he needed was a win of any margin, and the tie would be theirs, which he duly obliged in fine style, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10. Jeff finished the match off with a five game win over Les Lord, to even the tie up yet again, but was really academic as Argyle progress to the 2nd round, 22-17 on games won. Cracking match, from start to finish, it was a pity I wasn’t there. With everyone in the hat without seedings in the 2nd round, which also applies to the Plate (1st round losers)competition, then hopefully there should be plenty of drama….  Back to league action next week so for more information go to www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 5  SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Crosby B (40pts) and their A team (33pts from 4  matches) continued to take charge of matters at the top of Division 1, this after the B teams maximum win over a weakened Princes St C, and the A team’s 7-3 success over Argyle B. Third placed Argyle A(30pts), who were without Chris Parkes lost a bit of momentum losing out narrowly at home to an understrength Princes St A, where Andy Armstrong playing up from their E team made a big impact with two excellent wins, before Dave Mullan clinched the win in the ninth encounter. Southport A (21pts) maintained their 100% start from three matches, after a 6-4 win at home against Holy Trinity A. Finally Princes St B gained their first win of the season, taking advantage of this week’s trend of understrength teams, where an unfamiliar Crosby D succumbed 2-8.

Argyle C (31pts) lost their 100% record to their D team, and not being at full strength won’t take the frustration away of losing out to their friendly rivals. Indeed to make things worse the 8-2 loss brought the D team level with them on points at the top. Holy Trinity B (24pts) head a clutch of six teams separated by just 5pts, after a convincing 1-9 away win at Waterloo A. Princes St E also have 24pts, even after losing out 6-4 at Crosby E, where the loss through injury of Brian Haslam may have proved the turning point. Princes St D and Southport B are also amongst the chasing pack, after 7-3 wins over Crosby F and Argyle E respectively.  When you consider that the top two have played a match more than all the rest, then this division certainly looks a difficult one to predict, and may well come down to the sides that are able to field their strongest line up the most, will come out on top.

 

Like the 2nd Division , the 3rd Division is currently dominated by Argyle, with Argyle F and H teams in joint pole position on 36pts. Even Argyle G are in on the action in 3rd place, but trail by 11pts.  To see how Tom Johnston’s F team have got there, we called into the Amelan Hall, for their match this week where Southport C were the hosts. Promising start from the visitors too, when young Kasra Mohammadi got the better of veteran Bill Bradley in three straight 11-13,7-11,6-11.  Captain Tom, then made it 0-2 with a very entertaining four game success against Andy Bush, before Andy made an immediate return to the action to overcome Phil Marshall in a very similar fashion, which made it 1-2 Argyle. Kasra buoyed by his earlier win, then extended his sides lead, with another fine performance verse’s the much improved Stuart Gibson, who was unlucky to lose the first two games both 9-11. Stuart then deservedly took the third 11-7,before again missing out by a whisker 11-13 in the fourth. Southport’s captain and number one Paul Harrison then commenced battle with Mo Mohammadi in the contest of the night. First game to to Mo, 8-11, second to Paul 11-9. Mo was back in the ascendancy in the third 8-11 again to him. A tremendous fourth saw the attacking play never stop, Paul edging it 13-11, before Mo finally won it 6-11 in the fifth, which made it 1-4 for the visitors. Phils victory over Stuart in four games then made the match at least safe. That 1-5 lead was soon 1-6 when Mo beat Bill in three straight, and with Tom then completing the singles with a convincing four game success against Paul, only the doubles stood in the way of a resounding Argyle win. It’s a strange phenomenon, that even though you have lost out heavily in the singles, the doubles can sometimes recover some pride, which is exactly happened. Firstly, Paul and Andy made it so difficult for Tom and Mo, and with the home pair keeping risks down to a minimum, they sneaked it 9-11,11-9, 11-7,12-10. Second doubles pairing Bill and Stuart did a repeat performance on Phil and Kasra. An even closer scoreline of 10-12,11-8,13-11,13-11, saw the home side do the double so to speak and made the final score 3-7 Argyle F. A really superb match with an even better twist at the end…  Elsewhere joint leaders Argyle H mustered up a great 2-8 win at the Para’s (23pts) where new boy Ollie Moir chipped in with a full quota of wins. Argyle G had a 7-3 home win over Crosby G, whilst Argyle J who have become the clubs veteran team with a dash of youth, had a remarkable 1-9 win at Crosby H. Finally, Princes St F look like the dark horses from here after an 8-2 home win against Southport D, their potential will come under scrutiny next week when they face leaders Argyle F. All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 6 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

At the top of the 1st Division leaders Crosby A (46pts) were held at Princes St A. Yes the champions were without their number one Jack Dempsey, but so were Princes St, missing Matt Wilson. A great start from the visitors saw them take full control powering into a 1-5 lead, only for the home side to slowly whittle away that advantage with wins in both doubles, followed by a further win from Micheal Stewart. Captain Darren Taylor then completed the comeback in a terrific match of two halves. Crosby B(40pts) without a match this week  remain in 2nd place, whilst Argyle A (39pts) keep hold of third after a convincing away win at an understrength Holy Trinity A. Argyle B too, were also in a merciless mood when they hosted Princes St B, where them turning up with a player short did not help the cause in a maximum loss. Southport A (33pts) move up to fourth place having also gaining maximum points away at Crosby C.

Argyle D (40pts) are now clear leaders of the 2nd Division after a very convincing 1-9 win away at Crosby F, whilst rivals Argyle C(37pts) found the going a little tough in a close 6-4 win against their E team, where their number one Lol Philips with a full quota of wins kept his side in it until Lewis Hible (playing up from the G team) clinched the win in the very last contest. With several teams vying to challenge the top two, we paid a visit to the Reform Synagogue, to see if either hosts Princes St E or visitors Waterloo B could make an impression. Wonderful start to the proceedings, when Derek Aitken took on one of Waterloo’s young guns Euan Mason. Derek’s experience and wonderful retrieves won through in three games, but with the third finishing 15-13, then Euan probably deserved more.  Home number one Dave Mullan (playing up from their F team) then made it 2-0 with a three straight success over Chris Jago, before his young son Nathan, set about home captain Nick Foss. To be fair, they set about each other, with an array of attacking shots which would not have been out of place in the top tier. Nathan edged the first 10-12 , Nick then levelled 11-7, and took the third as well 11-9. Outstanding play from both players again in the fourth, and another close 10-12 win for Nathan taking it into a fifth. A superb 5-11 performance from the young Waterloo player took the contest, and made the score 2-1 Princes St, just brilliant! Nathan was then asked to stay put and be joined by his dad Chris in the first doubles encounter against Andy Armstrong and Derek, which was won by the home side in four games, extending their lead to 3-1. It was Derek’s turn to stay put next, young Aidan Mooney his opponent, and a near faultless first game by Derek, 11-1, certainly gave Aidan a severe wake up call. A quick chat and gee-up from his team certainly did the trick, and another superb contest was developed, as he turned the tables in style, taking the next two 11-13, 7-11. Derek though dug in, to square things up 12-10 in the fourth, only for the youngster to pull out all the stops again to take the fifth 8-11, and the home sides lead was cut to 3-2. Andy then wasted no time in restoring his sides two point advantage, with a three straight win over Chris, before Nathan took centre stage to face his opposite number Dave. Fast forward to the end of this contest, where home captain Nick immediately stepped forward to congratulate, not Dave, but his opponent, for a truly fantastic performance, ‘one of the best he had seen’. Three straight ,6-11,4-11,9-11, no argument there then, Princes St lead 4-3. Well, after such a breathless match so far, Waterloo seemed to run out of steam somewhat, as first Nick, then Andy and finally second pairing Dave and Nick, all won in three straight to complete a 7-3 victory, which was probably well deserved, but not forgetting the effort put in by the visitors in a fabulous nights entertainment… With that win the Princes St outfit now head the chasing pack on 31pts. Three teams are now tied on 28pts,  Southport B head the trio on matches won after a 7-3 home win over Crosby E where Tom Ray and Alan Nolan with two wins apiece were the pick of the bunch. Princes St D’s close 4-6 win at Holy Trinity B ensured both teams also reached that 28pt mark. Colin Fyles and Chris Foley, both with a full quota of wins made the difference against a strong Holy Trinity side.

 

At the top of Division 3, Argyle H (45pts) now have some daylight between themselves and their F team (36pts). Both good and bad luck can play a decisive part, throughout a season, the good here certainly favoured the leaders, as their 1-9 win at Crosby G wasn’t quite as convincing as the scoreline suggests, with both Ian Massey and Pat Hyde unlucky not to have registered points for the Crosby side. However, Argyle F were unlucky lets say, when they hosted a very strong Princes St F(32pts), resulting in a heavy maximum loss. Rotating their players is key to Princes St F’s  ideals, it just so happened their strongest side was their only option on this occasion. North Meols moved up to fourth after a convincing win over Argyle J, whilst the Para’s fought out an intriguing stalemate with Southport C. Finally, Crosby H just about had enough away to Argyle G, to clinch a 4-6 success. An interesting point here was that Argyle’s Gary and Lewis Hible won the father and son doubles contest against Andrew and Mark Hawkins… for all information go to www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 7 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

In the 1st Division, Crosby A(51pts) were held for the second time in as many weeks, opening up the race for top spot. Again they were understrength, but so were their visitors Holy Trinity A. Number one Yameen Al Dahiri led the charge for home side with a full quota of wins, whilst Matty Cranny and Ned Hassan already with a singles win apiece, joined forces to clinch the draw in the final contest. Second placed Crosby B travelled to the Amelan Hall to face a confident Southport A side, which so happened to be our feature match this week. Home number one Ogi Kostov got proceedings underway against his opposite number Rhys Davies, who found his rhythm immediately taking it in three straight. Nothing straight about the next encounter, Kyle Lavender and Peter Ashley served up a cracker. Peter edged ahead 10-12 in the first, before Kyle began to find his range taking the next two convincingly 11-8,11-3. Back came Peter with some tremendous counter hitting to square it up 5-11 in the fourth. Much closer in the fifth, but that ‘flat hit’ again worked its magic for Peter, 9-11 to him and Crosby now had 0-2 lead. A no nonsense three straight win from Rhys and his dad Mark against Ogi and Mark Barnes in the first doubles, made it 0-3, and when captain Mark returned to do a repeat performance on home captain Jonny Cummins, then at 0-4, the ‘writing on the wall’ was certainly looming, especially as Rhys was up next. Super effort from Mark in the first, missing out 8-11. Rhys though, in full control thereafter , 4-11,3-11 which made the score worryingly 0-5 Crosby. Second doubles pairing Jonny and Kyle then gave the home side some cheer with an encouraging four game win over Peter and Francois Rafferty. Fightback was on for sure as Ogi  overcame Mark in three straight, to pull it back to 2-5. Mark Barnes verses Francois was up next, and although Francois nicked the first 11-13, Mark’s top spin attack got much the better of his opponents back of the court lob defence, taking the next two 11-8,11-6. Exhausting to watch, but who would wilt first. Gradually mistakes crept in, from both sides, but in the end Francois’s defence held firm, with him taking the next two 6-11,8-11, to ensure victory for his side. Peter then looked odds on to increase his sides margin of victory against Jonny when he led 9-11,8-11. But having recovered to capture the third 11-6, Jonny now looked the favourite as he swept into a 7-1 lead in the fourth. Peter though had other ideas and with great aplomb, his counter hit did the trick again, 10-12, and his side did now have that 2-7 advantage. Another exhausting encounter rounded off a great night’s table tennis, Kyle and of course Crosby’s human dynamo Francois, put on a near exhibition of ‘attack vs defence’. This time Kyle had the last word with a 8-11,16-14,16-14, 11-7 win, to make the final score 3-7 Crosby B… great match, with just about the right outcome.

Crosby B stay second on 47pts , as do Argyle A in third place, this after a good 8-2 home win against Crosby C. Argyle B matched their A teams score away to Crosby D, whilst Princes St A came out well on top in their ‘derby win against their B team.

A very impressive maximum win for Argyle D (50pts) at home verses Holy Trinity B kept them firmly in charge at the top of the 2nd Division, eight points ahead of rivals Argyle C, who were held in an exciting encounter at Crosby E. Princes St E (39pts) are now in third place, having won their rearranged ‘mini derby’ against their D team, who probably didn’t know what had hit them, in an 8-2 loss. Mind you, with Martin Machin making his first start and Dave Mullan in at number one for the E team, then it was never going to be easy! With that behind them Princes St D(36pts) did stay in touch with the chasing pack, when they recovered well enough to edge past a good Waterloo A side.  Karen Gibson and then Colin Fyles winning the last two contests to clinch a 6-4 victory. Waterloo B let a 3-0 and a 4-2 lead slip against Southport B, a full quota of wins from Tom Ray had helped the visitors to level at 4-4, before Aidan Mooney edged the home side back in front, only for Mike Rice to be Southport’s hero in the end. Argyle E rounded off the 2nd division action with a decent 7-3 success over Crosby F.

 

Argyle H (54pts) opened up an 18pt lead at the top of the 3rd Division, after a convincing win over their G team. Remarkably, Argyle F without a match this week as well as drawing a very disappointing blank last week, are still in second place. Last weeks conquerors Princes St F, brought in the changes, and suffered an 8-2 loss at the Para’s, who now climb to third place, also with 36pts. Southport C (35pts) moved up to fourth place, after a convincing home win over Crosby G, whilst Crosby H had a ‘ding dong’ match at home to North Meols, who had much to thank  Les Rimmer for, a full quota of wins ensuring a fighting draw for the visitors. Finally, a similar story was played out at Argyle J, where they fought back from 3-5 down to draw with Southport D. More information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

 

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WEEK 8 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Crosby A (61pts)  returned to the top of the 1st Division after a maximum win over their ‘out of luck’ C team.  Without Jack Dempsey again, Cherith Graham joined forces with her mum Sylvia and along with Gemma Grant the A team once more looked a formidable force. Mind you, the C team were a little unlucky not to register, as Rashad Al Dahiri and Max Davies came mighty close to taking points off the leaders. Crosby B (53pts) remain in second place with a match in hand, after scraping past third placed Argyle A (51pts) 6-4. Southport A (44pts) continued to impress after an 2-8 win at  Princes St C, whilst Princes St A still without number one Matty Wilson, had too much for a resurgent Argyle B, where both Micheal Stewart and Darren Taylor were the difference in a 7-3 victory. Finally Princes St B moved off the bottom with a welcome 4-6 away win at an understrength Holy Trinity B.

At the top of the 2nd division Argyle D (58pts) increased their lead after a very good 2-8 away win at Waterloo A, with the usual suspects, Nick Miller and Les Dodd inflicting most of the damage. Second placed Argyle C(47pts) lost a little ground after a home draw verses Waterloo B. Princes St E (42pts) remain in 3rd place, even though they suffered a 7-3 loss at Southport B who moved up to fourth on 40pts. Holy Trinity B returned to winning way with an 8-2 home success over Argyle E.

  

Crosby High School was the venue for not one feature match but two, an all Crosby clash from the 2nd Division between their F and E teams, and Crosby H vs Princes St F from the 3rd tier. With both Nick and Chris Moustaka, both missing from the E teams lineup, Salim Ladha and Crosby’s latest prospect young Charlie Williams, stepped up a division. A tactical move from E team captain Elliot Cooper decided to introduce both players quickly, as first Salim paired with his captain got the E team off to a flying start with a three straight success over Ciaran Lynch and F team captain John Aitchison. Ted Sloan then made it 0-2, overcoming Selwyn Goldthorpe in an exciting win, which could have gone further than the three games it did. Continuing with the plan, Charlie was then partnered with Ted, to take on Selwyn and Sunil Sapre, and the youngster did not let his captain down as they made it 0-3 after another three straight win.  Ciaran then reduced the arrears with a notable win over Elliot, before Charlie impressed again overcoming John in four games, which made the score 1-4 Crosby E. Further wins from Ted and Elliot then secured the win for the E team at 1-6, until Ciaran again stepped in to halt the charge, with a three straight win over Salim to make it 2-6. Charlie’s evening then looked to be finishing in disappointment as Sunil looked to have got the measure of him, taking the first two games 11-9,14-12. Think again, for Crosby’s newest addition, turned on the style with a complete array of shots, which had us all applauding, including an appreciative Sunil. No doubt he is one to watch out for, as a 8-11,9-11,6-11 turnaround gave him a deserved full quota of wins. Salim then rounded off the match with a win over John, to make the final score 2-8 Crosby E. Whilst a Charlie inspired E team, were turning over their F team, Crosby G were finding a pretty strong Princes St F team a little too hot to handle. Wins for Sam Davies, Gordon Wood, Frank Proffitt and Irene Mullan had put the visitors in a commanding position, where only Crosby’s number one Ian Massey and Pat Hyde had troubled their opponents. Sam then made the match safe at 0-5, with hard fought win over Chitra Balakrishna, who surprisingly seemed play more cautiously after taking the second game 11-3. Gordon’s three straight win over Ian clinched the match, although the home players topspin game plan was beginning to pay off as he narrowly lost the third 11-13. Another win from Irene then made the score 0-7, before Frank just about dragged himself  back to his teammates after a tortuous victory over Pat. Five fabulous games, 13-11,7-11,11-4,11-13,15-17 kept the outcome in doubt till the last point, whenever that would have been! No respite for either player as both returned to face each other again in doubles. Same result, a win for the visitors and a maximum was now looking a certainty. Could Ian and Chitra prevent the inevitable, and at 0-2 down against Gordon and Sam the odds were against them. Well, slowly but surely those odds diminished, 11-8 in the third and then 15-13 in the fourth tied it up. Fightback complete, and so well deserved, 11-8 in the fifth, to the home pair, which made the final score 1-9 Princes St... Elsewhere in the 3rd Division, leaders Argyle H (63pts) remain well out in front after a hard fought win against Crosby H, although the 9-1 outcome seemed to be a little cruel on the spirited young Crosby side. Argyle F (45pts) were back on the road, and after a 9-1 win over their J team remain in 2nd place, two points ahead of Princes St F. North Meols (42pts) are in 4th place after winning 2-8 at Southport D. Last but least, Argyle G played out an exciting draw with Southport C… all information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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ANON CUP 2nd Round

There is only one place to start this week, and that is the holders, Crosby B are out , beaten  at home by Southport A. With the Crosby outfit at full strength, Southport welcomed back Bernhard Frank and brought in Tom Ray from their B team, and it was those two who were the key to turning the tables on last seasons winners, having recently lost 3-7 to them in the league. Two wins from Bernhard along with single wins from Tom, Ogi Kostov and Jonny Cummins, against two wins from Rhys Davies and one from Francois Rafferty put the visitors in complete control at 3-5 with just the doubles to play. In fact a quick countback to games won meant their progress was secured with an 11-20 lead on those games won.. Jonny and Tom then made the victory even sweeter overcoming Francois and Peter Ashley, whilst Rhys and his dad Mark got the better of Ogi and Bernard which made the final score a surprising 4-6 Southport A, but it certainly looked so well deserved.

Having been involved in the match of the 1st round, 2nd division Argyle D with a  win on countback against Southport B, were again entangled in another epic struggle at home to Holy Trinity A from the 1st division. Victories from Argyle’s Nick Miller and Callum Richardson was matched by Holy Trinity’s Colin Mitchell and Matty Cranny, add to that a doubles success each, and the match was finely balanced at 3-3. A second win from Callum was quickly followed by Les Dodds customary contribution, and the home side were in the ascendancy, at 5-3. It then looked as though Nick would seal the match win against Matty, who would bet against him, being two games up and at 10-4 in the third. Well, it seems most would have got it wrong, as the Holy Trinity number one staged a remarkable recovery to snatch the third 10-12 and go on to take the next two games 8-11,9-11. Dave Bradley then won the last contest to make it 5-5 and to countback, which unfortunately this time went against the Argyle team, 19-20 Holy Trinity B, what a finish, what a tremendous tie...

Two matches were disappointingly conceded, both Crosby C and Princes St C benefiting from a free passage to the quarter finals.  In the other matches there were no great surprises, Crosby A won 1-6 at Argyle A, Princes St A did not drop a point away to Argyle C, as did Argyle B at home to Crosby E. Finally, Argyle E’s Lol Phillips two wins were the only blots against a near faultless Princes St B performance, which unsurprisingly leaves eight 1st division teams in  the Quarter Finals.

ANON PLATE 1st Round

It was a much similar story in the Plate competition, where again there were no real upsets to speak of.. Princes St E ,Argyle G and Waterloo A dropped just a single point against Southport D ,Crosby G and Argyle J respectively , whilst Princes St D kept a ’clean sheet’ against Crosby H.  Waterloo B however did put the squeeze on Southport B’s progression, making them wait till the 8th contest for their win. Division 3 leaders Argyle H were the beneficiaries of another conceded match, which with the others from the Cup Competition, does continue to cast further doubt on the competitions themselves, and gives more credence to the introduction of Divisional Cups. As that is definitely for another day, our Cup week roundup finishes on a high note, with Southport C’s  visit to the Para’s. This all 3rd division clash was for sure the highlight of the Plate competition.. Andy Bush gave the visitors a dream start with a four game victory over Ian Littlewood, before Mark Wilson levelled with a win against Bill Bradley. Stuart Gibson then restored his sides lead only for Mark to tie it up again after a good win over Southport’s captain Paul Harrison. Andy then stepped up to get his second win of the night, after which Bill made it 2-4, the unlucky Matt Spofforth missing out in a five game epic.  Ian and then Kostya Sinitsa made amends for their previous losses with wins over Paul and Stuart to make it 4-4, with just the doubles to go. Countback could well be called upon again and with that score standing at 15-14 in favour of the hosts, then it was all to play for. Southport got their noses in front when Bill and Stuart had a four game win over Mark and Matt. Countback was then truly binned when Paul and Andy secured a momentous 4-6 win for the visitors, with an accomplished five game success against Ian and Kostya.. Superb effort.  So with one tie still to be decided, in the quarters, there will be four teams from the 2nd Division and three from the 3rd... Finally, the pictures this week are from a rearranged 2nd match between Southport B and Waterloo A which made it a great week for Southport who secured a good 8-2 win, which in turn moved them upto 2nd place on 48pts….. All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 9  SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

As we approach the halfway stage of the season, the top of the 1st Division does have a very familiar look, although it seems a little closer than was expected. This weeks match between the top two , Crosby A and B, finished all square and with both teams missing key players, this mighty clash took on a different look. In fact the pivotal moment of the match involved ‘one’ young Charlie Williams who stepped up two divisions for the B team to partner Rhys Davies and capture one of two double successes which put his adopted side 3-5 ahead. Parity was then restored as first Sylvia Graham and then Gavin Lloyd did exactly what was expected of them. Crosby A lead the way on 66pts, Crosby B with a match in hand remain second with 58pts. Argyle A (57pts) head the chasing pack, after a hard fought 6-4 win over Princes St. C, where winning both doubles certainly looked the deciding factor. Southport A (51pts) continued to impress after a good 7-3 win over a resurgent Argyle B in a rearranged contest. Princes St A kept their good run going with a solid 2-8 victory at Crosby D, whilst Argyle B got back in the groove with an equally excellent 7-3 home win against a strong Holy Trinity A side, Julian Quirk and Angus Taylor with the standout performances.  Finally, Princes St B had just about enough to see off bottom team Crosby C 7-3, whose luck is sure to change soon.

Argyle was our destination this week to see how 2nd division leaders Argyle D(67pts) fared against Princes St D. This could well have been a potential banana skin for the home side , but with the visitors well below strength, that worry was eased somewhat. Les Dodd got the home side up and running with an impressive four game win over Colin Fyles, before Nick Miller just had too much for visiting captain Frank Proffitt. Would the doubles work in their favour thought Frank, as he stayed put to partner Irene Mullan who was stepping up from their F team, to face Les Dodd and Mike Parker.  Well ,no was the answer I’m afraid, entertaining though it was , three straight and Argyle had a 3-0 lead. That was soon 4-0 as Nick and captain Les Lord did a repeat performance on Colin and Dave Williams, who had also stepped up from the F team. Mike then having just edged the first against Irene 12-10, comfortably took the second 11-4, and a 5-0 lead looked assured when he was in full control at 10-2 in the third. Irene then from somewhere mounted a remarkable fightback, no let up from Mike here, just everything she counter hit went on and with interest. 10-4, 10-7, 10-10, remarkable! It was not to be though, next two points to Mike, and it was 5-0 Argyle. Dave, obviously buoyed by that near miracle, added to the excitement with a well deserved win over Les Lord to make it 5-1. Nick then put an end to the visitors heroics by overcoming Colin 12-10,9-11,11-2,11-9, and clinching the match in the process. Les Dodd then made it 7-1, coming back from a 12-14 loss in the first against Dave to win it in four games. Captain Les and then Mike then completed straight wins over Irene and Frank to make the final score 9-1 Argyle D, great entertainment throughout, not forgetting those Princes St high points. That win stretched their lead to 14pts over their C team who welcomed back Joe Howard in a 4-6 success at Princes St E, where a Lol Philips full quota of wins along side Joes, were decisive. Southport B (48pts) without a match this week remain in third place two points ahead of Princes St E.  In the other matches, Waterloo had a mixed week, their B team losing out 3-7 at home to Crosby F, whilst their A team won by the same margin away at Argyle E.

 

Argyle H (71pts) look to be holding on to that X factor at the top of Division 3, or should that be their H factor, as the Hesketh family and Co. continue to produce the goods, this after a very good 2-8 win at Southport C.  Argyle F (53pts) kept hold of 2nd spot thanks to 2-8 victory at an understrength North Meols who were without Les Rimmer and Bill Dawson, which leaves Princes St F(50pts) still handily placed in third after a 7-3 win over Argyle G. Fourth placed North Meols (44pts) lost some ground to the front runners, but could still be regarded as the dark horses. As could the Para’s who continued their good run after a decent 7-3 win over Argyle J. Finally Crosby H edged an exciting match against Southport D 6-4. All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 10 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

At the top of the 1st division leaders Crosby A (75pts) welcomed back Jack Dempsey and duly came away from Princes St C with a convincing 1-9 win, whilst Crosby B (67pts) matched their fierce rivals by beating Princes St B by the same scoreline. With Crosby A having now completed their fixtures for the first half of the season, their B side could substantially reduce that lead . Argyle A (57pts) without a match this week remain in third place. Southport A may well have expected to take over that third spot with a home match against lowly Crosby D, but with Gemma Grant introduced to their line up, it didn’t go exactly to plan. Two wins from her along with a full quota from Lee Madin helped give the visitors an unexpected 3-7 win, which left the home side in fourth place on 54pts. Princes ST A (52pts) continued their good run with a 3-7 success at Holy Trinity A.  Bottom team Crosby C’s (24pts) luck could well have started to turn, this after a battling 5-5 draw at home to Argyle B, where all the plaudits must be given to Felix Anderson, whose full quota of wins helped his side fightback from a 2-5 deficit… Superb effort Felix.

Division 2 leaders Argyle D (67pts) had no worries in maintaining pole position, even without a match, as their then 14pt lead was uncatchable. Argyle C in second place, had a tricky encounter at home to third placed Southport B , or so it should have seemed. Southport arrived without number one Tom Ray, Andy Bush stepping up from Division 3,  Argyle on the other hand had three regulars missing, but had the luxury of calling on stronger players from their Division 2 sides. From the onset it was a disappointing night for the visitors as they crashed to a 9-1 loss, which in turn guaranteed the Argyle outfit 2nd place with 62pts. Having now played all their pre Christmas break fixtures they are 11pts ahead of  Princes St E who leapfrogged Southport B (49pts) after an exciting stalemate away to Crosby F, where both Crosby’s Ciaran Lynch and the visitors Andy Armstrong were the standout performers. Holy Trinity B produced another great 9-1 home performance against Waterloo B, in what has been a topsy turvy season so far. Princes St D returned to full strength and winning ways with a narrow 6-4 home win verses Argyle E, Colin Fyles securing the match in the very last contest. Waterloo A got their second win in a row after also overcoming Crosby E 6-4, Dave Regan’s two epic five game wins surely the key in this close affair.

 

Like both the 1st and 2nd divisions, the 3rds top two places are also looking assured, and to see how one certainty and one possibility got on we called in at Argyle where their H team hosted Princes St F.  Liam Ward returned for the hosts to bolster what looked like their strongest four, whilst the visitors had Dave Mullan in at one and introduced Harry Hobson for his first match. Double’s were call first and which gave the home side a great start, Lee Hesketh and Ollie Moir overcoming Dave Williams and young Sam Davies in three straight, afterwhich Liam and Jeff Hesketh did a repeat performance on Dave Mullan and Harry, to make it 2-0.  Dave then chose to stay put to face Lee, and from the start that looked to be the right decision as he reduced the arrears with another three straight win. Considering both sides league positions three straight was surprisingly looking to be the order of the night as first Ollie and then Harry followed the trend with wins over Sam and Jeff respectively which made the score 3-2 Argyle. Liam continued the race to finish in record time making it 4-2, Dave Williams on the receiving end. Jeff against Sam was up next and although it again went just to the three games, Sam put in a great shift to push Jeff all the way. A close first was edged 11-9 by the home player, Sam’s topspin attack nearly paying off. A little more comfortable for Jeff in the second, as his heavy slice backhand proved to be to troublesome for Sam to handle. Close again in the third 11-9 to Jeff which made the match at least safe at 5-2. His son, Lee then secured the win by overcoming debutant Harry before Ollie made it 7-2 beating a stubborn Dave Williams. Nine contests, all decided in three, would the number ones Liam and Dave Mullan comply… Well simply No! What a contest we had to round off a very entertaining evening. From the start, this one turned it up a few notches, with Liam’s loop attack against Dave’s formidable defence. Irresistible play from both players who shared the first two games 11-8,11-9, same again for the next two, but with even more intensity, 11-5, 7-11. Last word though to Liam who did well to keep a lid on those big hits, opting for the more effective positional heavy loop, 11-5 to him and a final score of 8-2 Argyle H.  That win concludes the first half of the season for the H team, and with 79pts, they currently lead Argyle F by 20pts, who just got the better of Southport D, winning 6-4. Princes St F are third, back on 52pts, a point ahead of North Meols who are now fourth, after a stirring 3-7 victory at the Para’s. Finally, Southport C and Crosby H could not be separated, whilst Crosby G were pipped 4-6 by Argyle J. Its Gunson Cup week next, so all fingers are crossed that the new handicapping system serves up a treat… all information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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GUNSON 1

SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

GUNSON (Handicap) CUP 1st Rd

As the 1st Round of the Gunson Handicap Cup got under way, all eyes were definitely on the the player handicaps themselves, asking the question would those shortcomings of last season be a thing of the past?  Well, if the Preliminary Round tie between Southport D from the 3rd and Argyle A was anything to go on, then the improvement was up and running. Just 7pts separated the teams, with the 1st Division side progressing after clawing back a 310pt deficit... First stop of Round 1, was The Spinal Unit Sportshall to check if 3rd division  Para’s could hold onto a 138pt advantage afforded to them against high flying Argyle C from the second. Mark Wilson and Argyle’s Patrick Devlin got things going with a intriguing 49-49 stalemate before Kostya Sinitsa continued to give his side a wonderful start with a 50-38 outright win over Naresh Tagore, after which he stayed put to increase that pressure even more with a narrow 42-45 loss against Julian Dutch. Now trailing a further 9pts, at 141-132, it was time for the cavalry Argyle, ‘time for Joe Howard’, who earned his side a fighting chance with consecutive wins totalling 39-110 against Ian Littlewood and Mark, which now gave the visitors a 62pt lead at 180-242 without the handicap. Patrick then increased that advantage to 78pts with victory over Matt Spofforth but still left the visitors somewhat adrift of their target. Another pivotal win from Ian over Julian then left them completely stranded at 64 pts ahead with no chance of overhauling that 138 pt handicap with just one contest to go. Naresh made his evening a little more bearable with a 26-55 win over Matt, but the damage had already been done, and the Para’s deservedly progress with a 432- 387 win. Great win for the Para’s there, and the ties began to ooze even closer contests, the best being a 351-350 win for 1st division Crosby D at home to 2nd division Princes St D, where their 38pt deficit was turned into a ‘One’ point win, Lee Madin the hero of the hour.  Argyle A squeezed past fellow top tier side Southport A by just 13pts, captain Mark Jagger inflicting the final blows. Division 2 leaders Argyle D’s derby tie verses 3rd Division leaders Argyle H, looked an interesting clash, and with the H team starting with an 102pts start, would that be enough? Just about, as Lee Hesketh summoned up enough to clinch a 14pt success, in the very last contest. A similar story panned out in the all 1st division Crosby affair, leaders the A team verse’s bottom team Crosby C. Fantastic match throughout, where the C team hung onto 19pts of their 56pt award in a 381-400 win, highlight of the evening must have been the the brotherly clash between Yameen and Rashad Al Dahiri, classic!

As the results continued to come in it was pleasing to see that the system was working, however it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Handicap Committee, four ties did have more than convincing differences..  A strong Waterloo A side got the better of a weakened higher tier Princes St B by 10pts, even before their handicap was added, 439-349 the final score. Crosby F awarded a158pt start seemed to have a very comfortable evening against Princes St C who only managed to claw back 59pts, managing just two maximum 55pt wins in the process. In the all 3rd division match Argyle J and Southport C started at scratch, which didn’t help the lower placed Argyle outfit, Southport winning by 117pts. Finally, on the negative vibe, 1st division Princes St A conceded their tie against bottom tier Crosby H with three contests to go, as their chances of overturning the 336pt deficit plunged into the abyss. Sadly Argyle F and Crosby E  conceded their matches against Princes St E and Holy Trinity A respectively.

  

Back to those positives of what is a success story of some decent handicapping. North Meols seemed to have turned on the style away to fellow 3rd division outfit Argyle G, who themselves played very well in restricting the visitors to just two maximum 55pts. It finished 331-380, North Meols overturning Argyles 26pt award. Holy Trinity B also progress after a close 390-409 victory away at Southport B in an all 2nd division battle. Susie Hughes with two maximums, whilst conceding only 47pts looked liked the match winner. Third division Princes St F were awarded a 202pt start at home to Argyle B. Superb effort from the home side pushed their 1st division opponents all the way, missing out by just 13pts at the finish, 417-430. Irene Mullan with 77pts being their standout performer.    Bottom of the Third division verses second in the First, rounded off a terrific week of Gunson Cup Table Tennis, Crosby G with a 312pt advantage faced Crosby B, with an ominous task. How do you suppress the high flyers. Well to their credit the 3rd division team gave their all, and a 21pt shortfall wasn’t such a bad result, in fact considering that their opponents were the only side to get a maximum 440 pts, then they can say they had the toughest job of all. One tie between Argyle E and Waterloo B was postponed, which leaves a fairly even mix across the three divisions… more information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 11 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

As was forecasted, Crosby A and B teams will occupy 1st and 2nd place at the top of Division 1 going into the Christmas break.  With the A team on 75pts without a match , the B team did have the chance to take pole position. A trip to Argyle B was the task in hand, but wins from Allister Taylor and Monica Coogan, along with a doubles success meant the B team had to settle for 2nd place with 74pts, after their 3-7 victory. Argyle A(62pts) cemented 3rd place after a tense home draw against Southport A(59pts), Julian Quirk stepping up from their B team with a full quota of wins, was pivotal in securing the draw. Princes ST A welcomed back number one Matty Wilson, and he duly helped his side to a 9-1 victory over bottom side Crosby C(25pts), which moved them into fourth place on 61pts. Holy Trinity A also finished on a high with a maximum win at second bottom Crosby D(30pts).   

Our final feature match of 2018 was the Princes St ‘derby’ between their B and C teams, and with both teams in fine fettle even though they were both in the bottom half of the table, the mood felt right for an early Christmas cracker.  What a start for the C team, with first Josiah Nix and then Ray Hibbs pulling out all the stops in two five game epic wins against Martyn Coleman and Dave Britton respectively. B team captain Roger Neal then restored some order by overcoming Mick Winder in four games, before C team captain Josh Taylor edged a ding  dong battle against Ged Wilson, the 11-7,7-11,8-11, 14-12, 9-11 scoreline telling the story. That made the match score 1-3 for the C team , but it could so easily have been the other way round. With that analogy firmly ignored Ray then increased his sides advantage with a four game win over Martyn, only for Ged to do a similar job on Josiah to make it 2-4 C team. Doubles were next up on this delicious menu, Roger and Dave were pitted against Josh and Ray. Know one had to ask for a refund on this one, superb play throughout from both pairs, who shared the first four games, 11-7,6-11, 12-10,8-11. Into the fifth, and the B team pair closed the gap again, an 11-8 win made it 3-4 on the night. Yet another extraordinary contest was then served up, Ged and Martyn verses Mick and Josiah. First two games to the B team pairing, the second being an incredible 18-16 snatch, which included Martyn pushing aside his solid defensive play to produce winning hits on both his fore and back hand, impressive indeed! Back came the C team pair to level things 9-11,7-11, only for the Ged Martyn combo to win it in the fifth, just 11-9, making it all square at 4-4. Turnaround was then completed by Roger, who just got the better of his opposite number Josh in four intriguing games to put the B team ahead for the first time 5-4. Finally, Mick had the last say, drawing his side back level, overcoming Dave in four pulsating games, fighting back having lost the first… what a match, and at 5-5 the right result. Both sides deserved a lot of credit, and a big thank you to them  for delivering what I asked for at the start, an early Christmas Cracker ... Fabulous.

Argyle D(75pts) reaffirmed top spot in the 2nd division, with a decisive 8-2 win over their E team, giving them a 13pt lead over their rivals Argyle C, who were without a match this week, but were already assured of that second berth. Southport B (58pts) head the chasing pack after a convincing 9-1 home win against bottom team Crosby F, who on 25pts find themselves 7pts adrift of Argyle E. Crosby E (56pts) jumped up to fourth place, this after a 9-1 home success over an understrength  Princes St D. Nick Foss made a welcome return for the Princes St E fold, although his full quota of wins couldn’t prevent side from going down to to a 4-6 home defeat to a useful looking Holy Trinity B side. Waterloo A won the bragging rights in their derby against their B team, an 8-2 victory looked accomplished, but with three of those wins going to five games, then it could have been a lot closer.

Division 3 leaders Argyle H (79pts) had already ‘put their feet up’ knowing their position was guaranteed, however 2nd placed Argyle F (62pts) missed the chance to close the gap significantly when they went down to a 7-3 loss at Crosby H. North Meols and Princes St F are now in joint 3rd place on 59pts, after very good wins over Crosby G (8-2) and Southport C (7-3) respectively. Para’s(55pts) also kept in touch with 9-1 win over Southport D.  Finally , festive cheer was in abundance at Argyle’s ‘mini derby’, when the G team were facing the prospect of turning up with only three players, Argyle J’s Tony Philips answered the last minute call and turned out for their opponents. A great match then ensued and finished all square, leaving just one more thing to say.. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone ….

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LANCASHIRE WIN....

Lancashire Team

 

Table Tennis England County Championships
Lancashire U/18
December 15th – 16th 2018 – Wellingborough
The Lancashire 1st team competed in the Premier Division of the County Championships in Wellingborough over the weekend of 15th/16th December. Teams are made up of 3 boys and 2 girls who between them play 10 matches against each of the opposing counties in a round robin format.
The Southport & district Table Tennis League were well represented by Southport’s current Junior Champion, Rhys Davies and Runner up, Yameen Al-Dahiri. Before play commenced all the coaches were assessing the opposition line-ups and making team selections. Kent were probably favourites with Durham, Nottinghamshire and Lancashire serious contenders too. Indeed, it was the matches between these 4 teams that ultimately decided the title.
Lancashire had one of the youngest squads with our top 2 boys Ryan Choong and Rhys Davies still in the U/15 category and Yameen Al-Dahiri and Dan Olsberg (alternating in the No.3 position), both in their final year in the age group, having competed in this event for the past 2 seasons. Our girls were arguably the strongest team on show with England No. 6 Megan Gidney spearheading the team backed up with Sandy Choong (still only 13) and Alice Dillon alternating in the No.2 berth.
Saturday saw us play 3 matches against Sussex, Devon and favourites Kent. After a nervy start in the opening matches against Sussex, both Yameen & Rhys came from 2 down to win their opening best of 5 contests setting Lancashire up for up for a strong 1st day. Sussex were beaten 9-1 before and even more convincing win against a much older and more experienced Devon side who boasted 2 England Internationals in their girls’ section. Nevertheless an 8-2 victory (2 wins for Rhys) gave us confidence for our big match of the day against favourites Kent. After the opening 2 matches all 7 players had contributed wins, so no selection headaches for the big match – and what a match! Lancashire stormed to an 8-2 Victory with only Kent’s Singaporean International, Joseph Hee (the Highest rated player at the event) beating our 2 top boys. With Yameen. Having missed the match against Devon, he produced one of his best ever performances with two 3-1 wins against much higher ranked opponents.
At the end of Day 1, Lancashire stood joint top with Nottinghamshire who themselves had narrowly overcome Durham. In such a tight contest, countback could be critical with Lancashire marginally ahead at this point.
All to play for on Day 2 with every match and every point critical as relegation loomed for the bottom 2 of the 8 teams and 4 teams still in with a chance of Victory. We opened against bottom team Middlesex, who proved to be the biggest obstacle yet and after a titanic struggle we edged the match 6-4 to keep pace with Nottinghamshire. Rhys won his opening match but couldn’t quite overcome the Middlesex No.1 who won it 11-9 in the decider. Next up were Durham, who boasted a very strong boys’ section and they won both the opening contests against Yameen & Rhys before our Girls levelled the tie at 2-2, The boys then shared the next 2 matches to make it 3-3. All very close and very high quality. Amazingly we won the next 4 matches for 7-3 victory, winning 2 of the contests in the deciding 5th set including a win for Rhys against the England No.10 Junior. 
With Nottinghamshire next and both teams still having a match to play, the result between the top 2 would be important but not decisive. Nottinghamshire had the strongest boys’ line-up with players ranked at 4,8 & 19 in England and despite Rhys boys losing in a 5th set decider and the final matches nearly going all the way we lost all 6 contests. Fortunately, our girls were just too strong for the very young and talented Nottinghamshire girls (both sisters in the England Youth Squads), and the result ended 6-4 against us.  
That put Nottinghamshire as favourites, but they had to play Kent to finish and with our better results elsewhere any win for us and any loss for Nottinghamshire would see Lancashire crowned champions.
And so it unfolded! 
A comprehensive 8-2 win for Lancashire in quick order against Glamorgan, meant we could keep an eye on matters on the tables behind us as Kent slowly took control of the match to win 7-3. That result meant that Lancashire were champions, Nottinghamshire finished in 2nd and Kent 3rd.
Rhys finished with a record of 8/14 playing every match despite illness and Yameen with 4/8 having played against the top 4 teams.
Congratulations to the entire team who were well supported by parents, family and friends and to coaches Dave Graham & Mark Davies who are still both grinning from ear to ear.
Overall the boys won 26/42 contests and the girls who were the backbone of the team winning 24/28 with a special mention for Megan Gidney who managed a full house winning all 14 of her matches. Not surprisingly, most of the team are young enough to compete next year and hopefully a strong chance to defend the title. Before then, the U/15 equivalent takes place at the end of February and 3 of this U/18 team (Ryan Choong, Rhys Davies and Sandy Choong) will look to do the double for Lancashire.      Mark Davies

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WEEK 12 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Our first stop after the Christmas break was Crosby High School, where an intriguing double dose of 1st division action awaited. Leaders Crosby A hosted the much improved Southport A, whilst lowly Crosby D looked to have a tough test against third placed Argyle A. Liam Shaw got the leaders off to a great start with a three straight win over an ‘out of sorts ‘ Kyle Lavender, before Southport’s number one Ogi Kostov drew his side level with an impressive three straight win over Matty Laird. With Jack Dempsey missing for Crosby, Yameen Al Dahiri took over his number one position and showed his worth with a convincing four game victory against Mark Barnes, only for Bernhard Frank to tie it up at 2-2, edging a fascinating contest verses Crosby’s captain Sylvia Graham, in the fifth. With the games scores fluctuating somewhat, a 9-11,11-3,10-12,11-2,9-11, scoreline gave the point to Bernhard, although Sylvia had out pointed her opponent 50-39!  Matty was up next to face Kyle, who in the first two games looked a different player, frustrating the home players attacking intent, nicking them both 14-16,11-13. Different story in the next two though, as Matty hit himself level, 11-6,11-5. In the ascendancy, comes to mind, but not this time, Kyle had other ideas and took the the fifth 7-11, to make it 2-3 Southport. A superb performance then from Yameen against Ogi, brought them back to all square at 3-3. Southport were not quite finished with their surprises, first Bernhard got much the better of Liam, which was then quickly followed by Marks pivotal win over Sylvia, which gave the visitors a deserved 3-5 lead, with just the doubles to play...

With one major upset in the making, Crosby D also had their eyes on creating one of their own, and with two wins a piece from Gemma Grant and Tony Dixon they too held a 5-3 lead after the singles encounters. In fact they were always looking the more likely throughout as they had kept their noses in front of the Argyle outfit at every stage. Two wins from Chris Parkes and a single win from Paul Lunan kept the visitors in contention.   Into the first doubles, and for Gemma this time it wasn’t to be although, with partner Marcus Doyle, they did take the first game, just 14-12, only for the Argyle pair to rattle off the next three games, to make it 5-4 Crosby. Could Barry Crook and Paul now salvage the draw. Well if Gemma couldn’t oblige, then a Tony, Lee Madin combo did, three straight, and the D team got their upset , 6-4 to them, and so well deserved…. Back with the leaders, and with both doubles starting off simultaneously, it was difficult to follow who had the advantage. Not surprisingly both contests went to five, and actually finished within seconds of each other. Southport needed just the one, they clinched both, to give us a Final Score of 3-7 Southport, and a remarkable victory, a remarkable evening overall.  That loss coupled with Crosby B’s narrow 4-6 win at Princes St A left Crosby A in 2nd place with 78pts, leaving Crosby B in pole position on 80pts. Southport A (66pts) are now 3rd on matches won ahead of Argyle A in fourth. Princes St A (65pts) remain in contention in fifth place. Elsewhere in the top tier , Princes St C had a fine away win at Argyle B, where Martin Machin stepping up from the E team played a decisive part in their 4-6 win. Finally, bottom team Crosby C’s New Year resolution may well have been answered with a deserved first win, away at Holy Trinity A. Rashad Al Dahiri with two superb victories along with success in both doubles, were key in the win.

Argyle D (85pts) with a maximum win at Crosby E, look to be in complete control at the top of Division 2, now being 14pts ahead of their nearest rivals Argyle C, who also were in an unforgiving mood form after a 9-1 home win over bottom team Crosby F.  Third placed Southport B (64pts) welcomed back both Tom Ray and Mike Rice for the visit of Holy Trinity B, and their presence was certainly needed in securing a narrow 6-4 win. Waterloo B edged a very close affair at home against Princes St D. It finished 6-4 with young Nathan Jago the hero, securing the victory with his dad Chris in the final encounter, adding to his two earlier single wins.  Another tremendous match, this time between Princes St E and Waterloo A also kept you guessing throughout. Home captain Nick Foss gave his side a great chance, putting his side 5-4 ahead , only for ‘player of the match’ Chris Greaves to level at the death.. Wonderful finish.

Argyle H (87pts) stretched their lead at the top of Division 3 to a commanding 20pts, after an 8-2 success over their J team. Whilst the ‘H Factor’ team racked up the points, teams from the chasing pack were all dropping them. Para’s (60pts) held 2nd place Argyle F (67pts) to an exciting draw, and with 3rd placed North Meols (64pts) suffering the same fate against Argyle G, then it seemed to be all going the way of the leaders. Add to that Crosby H’s resounding 9-1 home win over Princes St F (60pts), then the young Crosby side now also on 60pts  must be considered of adding some spice to the promotion race. Southport D won the battle of the bottom two, a 7-3 home win over Crosby G was their first of the campaign. Gunson Cup next week, fingers crossed for some close matches.. All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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GUNSON WEEK 2 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

GUNSON CUP 2nd Round

Even with the impressive improvements in the 1st round compared to last seasons efforts in establishing a new player handicap system, the 2nd phase of ties were still under intense scrutiny, especially from the ‘Handicap Committee’ themselves. Well, apart from a couple of matches that could have turned out a little closer, that improvement continued across the board, where there was no better example than at the all Crosby tie between there 1st Divison D team and there H team from the third. Benefitting from a 254 advantage, the H team got the ‘bit between their teeth’ from start to finish. Young Charlie Williams led the assault with 53pts from his two contests, but sadly a great team effort fell short by just 2pts in a 438-436 loss. Another plus here was the return to action of the D teams Stefan Schober Thomson after a long absence through illness, great to see you back Stefan. On the same night Crosby F from the 2nd division narrowly missed out against 3rd division leaders Argyle H, who with just 8pts awarded to them kept their heads to progress with a 359-376 win.  Second division Argyle E with a 206 advantage gave their illustrious A team from the first , a real run for their money, keeping there hopes alive until the very last couple of games. Chris Parkes had been the A teams ‘ace in the pack’ conceding just 32pts in his two contests, whilst Brian Sharrock with 73 pts accrued was the E teams, but in the end Paul Lunan was the A teams saviour overturning a 9pt deficit to send his side through 428-437. First division Holy Trinity A just about looked to have had the measure of Waterloo A from the 2nd, their 120pt advantage wasn’t enough with the 1st division outfit winning 380-413. After clinching their first league win last week, 1st division Crosby C’s fortunes took a jolt at 3rd division Para’s, where to be fair, a generous looking award of 200pts looked to be insurmountable. That did prove the case after the Para’s number one Ian Littlewood, produced a crucial outright 44-43 win over his opposite number in the 6th contest to help his side to a 44pt victory at the finish. An 80pt start for Argyle B against leaders Crosby B in an all 1st division clash looked to have all the right ingredients. But they are top for a reason and when that advantage was wiped out and passed, mainly due to two maximum wins from Rhys Davies and one from Francois Rafferty, by the 5th contest, then the writing was truly on the wall. It finished 359-410 Crosby B.  In the final two ties, compared to the others you could say the handicaps were a little off the mark. Or it could be that the winners were just to good on the night. North Meols ran out 321-392 winners over fellow third division side Southport C, whose advantage was just 16pts. However,Princes St E overcame 2nd Division rivals Holy Trinity B 425-355, meaning their 50pt award wasn’t needed after decisive outright wins from the ever improving Sam Davies, talisman and captain Nick Foss and Mr Reliable, Andy Armstrong. Outstanding team performance it seems.

GUNSON PLATE 1st Round (Cup 1st Rd losers)

With Southport B progressing via their opponents Argyle J conceding and Argyle C afforded a bye, then only six ties were contested in the Plate Competition. In a repeat of last seasons Gunson Cup Final Crosby A were again pitted against Princes St A (Waddington as was). With Crosby calling up Elliot Cooper from their E team, an advantage of 40pts was now theirs to hold on to, and what a tie unfolded, with an unlikely hero to boot. Both sides held the lead in turn until taking into account the full handicap it became all square after seven contests. Enter Elliott to decide it against the visitors captain Darren Taylor, as unlikely as it looked, super-sub Elliott clinched it 48-47, and the match 371-370, one point, and what a finish. There was a similar last gasp finale at Argyle where there G team from the 3rd Division with a 248 start so nearly eliminated 1st division Princes St C. Again it went down to the very last game Lewis Hible falling short by just 5pts against the visitors captain Josh Taylor, giving them the victory 416-421, tense! Second Division Princes St D just about overcame there F team from the 3rd Division, where good wins from Gordon Wood and Irene Mullen along with a 66pt advantage wasn’t quite enough in a 389-372 loss. Crosby G also from the 3rd division fell short by just 16 pts at 1st division Princes St B. Hard as they tried, even with a 294 advantage, it wasn’t to be, 440-426 the final score.  In the all Southport clash between their 3rd division D team and top tier A team, who were not at full strength, the honours this time went to the D team. Add to the 174pts award a 89pts haul from Dai Davies, and you have both the standout performer and a 420-395 triumph. Finally Argyle D won the all 2nd division clash with Waterloo B, overturning the 64pts awarded to the Merchant Taylors based side. An outstanding performance from the visitors number one Nathan Jago, who first fought out an tremendous 46-46 draw against Nick Miller before a maximum 45-55 win over Callum Richardson had kept his side in it. Only for Callum to return the favour against Aidan Mooney, leaving Mike Parker to clinch the 396-372 win in the last contest.

 

Overall, a very successful Gunson week of Table Tennis, some wonderful ties in there as well, giving us a good mix of qualifiers for the Quarter Finals.  Back to league action next week,all information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 13  SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Crosby B(87pts) maintained their slender lead at the top of the 1st Division, after a 7-3 home win against Holy Trinity A, where Rhys Davies and his Dad Mark did most of the damage. Fierce rivals Crosby A(85pts), who again were somewhat understrength, held onto a narrow 4-6 success away at Argyle A. Chris Parkes inevitably caught the eye again for the home side, whilst Yameen Al Dahiri did likewise for the visitors, but winning both doubles was key in both matches. Southport A (74pts) head the chasing pack after a convincing 8-2 win over bottom side Princes St B. Princes St A (72pts) are now fourth, a 7-3 ‘derby’ win  over their C team kept them in contention. With their second win in a row, Crosby C moved out of the bottom two, at the expense of their D team, a convincing 9-1 win over their rivals causing the turnaround.

At the top of the 2nd Division leaders Argyle D entertained Waterloo B in a repeat of last weeks Gunson Plate win, and too see if the visitors could exact some revenge, this was the destination for our ‘feature match’. There was one change each from last week, Les Dodd coming in at number 2 for the hosts, Euan Mason in at number 4 for Waterloo. Gary Corran got the visitors off to a very promising start with a cracking four game win over Mike Parker, before Les Dodd nullified Aidan Mooney’s attacking style in three straight to make it 1-1. Euan then proved his selection with aplomb, overcoming Les Lord in three straight , but as the 4-11,9-11,11-13 scoreline suggests, edging the third looked decisive. Argyle’s number one Nick Miller, was then  given a bit of a test by Gary, who in fact took the second 4-11, before Nick reasserted control to take the next two and level matters at 2-2. Les Dodd then returned to the table to do battle with Waterloo’s Nathan Jago, who has regularly caught the eye this season. Fascinating contest this, as the young player quickly found out , with Les’s uncompromising style of close to the table ‘dead bat blocks’ causing him plenty of problems. After losing the first two games, 11-4,11-3, it looked like the youngster was catching on, and a 9-11 success followed by a 7-11 win squared it all up. Into the fifth and that learning curve was cruelly ended, 11-8 to Les and Argyle had the lead at 3-2. Back came the visitors, in the form of Euan, another three straight win over Mike made it 3-3, and it got even better with Nathan and Gary, pulling off a brilliant doubles win against Nick and Les Lord. Having played second fiddle to the home pair, for most of the first three games trailing 11-5,12-14,11-3, they mounted a superb recovery , 9-11,9-11 to take the contest and the lead at 3-4. Second doubles also provided an unexpected ‘sting in the tail’, playing catch up at 13-11,8-11,9-11 down to Aidan and Euan, Les Dodd and Mike fought back 12-10,12-10, to draw the match level at 4-4, leaving the Waterloo duo in despair. Mind you with Argyle getting two very fortunate ‘nets’ in the last two points played, you could understand their disappointment. Nick then won the honours  overcoming Nathan in three sumptuous games, Nick summing up his win by paying the Waterloo starlet the compliment ‘ that kid, can really play’. At 5-4, last up was home captain Les Lord to face Aidan, who started much the better taking the first 4-11. But as the second and third games then slipped away from him, so did the chance of what would have been a deserved draw for the visitors. Fourth game to Les 11-6 and the win was secured, 6-4 Argyle , no revenge for Waterloo , but what a great match from start to finish. With that win they stay well out in front on 91pts, fourteen ahead of their C team in second place, who also recorded a fine 4-6 win at Holy Trinity B. Southport B(68pts) stay in 3rd place despite losing out 6-4 away to an inform Waterloo A, their number one Phil Cashmore with two wins being the pick of the bunch. Princes St E (66pts) are in fourth place after earning the bragging rights in their ‘derby’ win over their D team. Captain Nick Foss and the returning Derek Aitken took the plaudits in yet another 6-4 win. Crosby E completed a full house of 6-4 wins in the 2nd tier, away at lowly Argyle E, where it was good to see Emily Clare back in action for the home side.

At the top of Division 3, it continues to go the way of leaders Argyle H(97pts). A maximum win at home to North Meols was duly taken, but not expected, as the visitors were very much below strength. However a family atmosphere prevailed throughout this match, with brothers Lee and Paul Hesketh turning out for the home side, with their Dad Jeff in a supporting role. Whilst husband and wife Dennis and Val Morley were in fine voice for North Meols. They had to be, their Grandson Ollie Moir was also in opposition, and it’s not everyday you play your Nan, is it Ollie!

Argyle F(71pts) are still in 2nd place, even after a surprise away 6-4 loss and a first win for bottom team Crosby G, but being without number one Tom Johnson did not help the cause. The Para’s(66pts) move up to 3rd place after an exciting 6-4 victory over Crosby H who are now 4th on 64 pts. Finally, Southport D had a good 3-7 win at Argyle G. All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.co/southport

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WEEK 14 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Crosby B (92pts) just held on to top spot in the 1st Division, after being held to a draw by their C team. Crosby A (91pts) gained those few points with a 7-3 win in their ‘derby‘ match verses their D team. A full quota of wins from Yameen Al Dahiri certainly was decisive in the win, although securing both doubles was also key. In fact family connections must have swung the balance here, as not only did Yameen partner brother Rashad, Crosby’s captain Sylvia Graham teamed up with her daughter Cherith. Southport A (79pts) remain in 3rd place, this after being held at Argyle B. It could have been worse too, if not first Jonny Cummins and then Bernhard Frank had not won the final two contests in a tense finish. Fourth placed Argyle A (75pts) were also embroiled in an intriguing match away at bottom side Princes St B (38pts), who fought back admirably from a 2-4 deficit to square it up at the finish. Martyn Coleman with two very good wins the hero of the hour.  Holy Trinity A, had both Paul Gittins and Barry Davis back in the fold for their home match against Princes St C, which wasn’t the best news for the visitors as they both finished unbeaten in a 7-3 win.

Argyle D(97pts) remained in charge at the top of Division 2, although their 4-6 away win at Princes St E was soured a little with the loss number one Nick Miller through what looks like a serious injury, conceding his last contest with Nick Foss. Captain Les Lord certainly played a captain’s role with a full quota of wins, vital in the circumstances to secure an important win.  Second placed Argyle C (86pts) closed the gap on their rivals with a convincing 9-1 home win over Waterloo A, which brought their run of 5 unbeaten to a shuddering halt. However it was better news for Waterloo B, where Nathan Jago and Euan Mason were again the difference in a 8-2 home success against Argyle E(41pts), which in turn lifted them 15pts clear of the bottom two, their opponents and Crosby F (30pts), who also were on the receiving end of a comprehensive 1-9 defeat against a strong Holy Trinity B side. To round up the second tier action, we called in at The Amelan hall to see if Southport B, could consolidate 3rd position when they played host to Princes St D. Home captain Alan Nolan was first up to face Chris Foley, who by her own standards, gave her side a great start with a superb three straight win, only for Jeff Cummins  to repay the compliment against the visitors captain Frank Proffitt, this time in four games, 11-2,10-12,11-7,11-8. Princes St’s Colin Fyles then restored his sides advantage, overcoming Jim Irving in four games ,having lost the first. It was all square again at 2-2, after Mike Rice edged a pulsating attack minded encounter verses Ian Lunt. Having shared the first two games, 7-11,11-9, Mike took the third 11-6, and then edged the fourth 12-10, just! Southport were playing catch up again when Chris Foley started where she left off against Alan, to win an interesting contest against Jim. Close one this throughout, Jim pinched the second 13-11, after losing the first 9-11, which left Chris to take the next two 7-11, 9-11, to make it 2-3 for the visitors. Second doubles pairing Alan and Jeff then continued the trend to tie it up again with victory over Ian and Frank in four games, and at 3-3, would there be an outright winner?  Mike then put Southport ahead for the first time on the night, with a three straight success over Colin, which was then improved on by Alan’s similar winning margin over Frank to put the home side in control at 5-3, making that stalemate less than likely! With both the 1st doubles and Jeff’s clash with Ian ,starting simultaneously could Princes St rally and secure the draw that looked odds-on from the start. Well, after Chris and Colin did exactly that against home pair Jim and Mike, making the score 5-4, with a three straight win, then all eyes turned to the singles encounter.. Jeff after losing the first 5-11, had turned it around to lead 11-8,11-8, against Ian. Fantastic contest to finish off a great evenings Table Tennis, into the fourth and Ian squared it up, 9-11, just getting the better of the topspin attacks. Another ding dong game ensued in the fifth,’ caution thrown to the wind’ again, and another 9-11 win for Ian, which secured that inevitable draw 5-5,  Which was just about right... The result does leave Southport in third place on 73pts, just 3pts ahead of Princes St E in fourth.

   

At the top of the 3rd Division Argyle H (105pts) travelled to Southport D without Liam Ward and Ollie Moir, leaving the Hesketh family in charge of that unbeaten record. With their side on the scorecard looking like a ’census form’ they did come away with a 2-8 win, but not before the home side had made it very difficult. Dai Davies and young Matt Bishop were the standout performers for them, ably led by captain Jordan Shandley. Argyle F(79pts) kept pace with the leaders, overcoming their G team 8-2, to remain in 2nd place. Para’s(73pts) are now in 3rd place after a 7-3 victory against Crosby G, whilst North Meols (72pts) welcomed back Les Rimmer and Bill Dawson to move into 4th place after a very good 8-2 home success over Southport C. Finally, Princes St F got the better of Argyle J with a 2-8 away win, which keeps them handily placed on 68pts with a match in hand on all four  teams above them. Further information can be at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

 

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WEEK 15  SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

At the top of the 1st Division, there was no change, as both leaders Crosby B (101pts) and 2nd placed Crosby A (100pts) ran out comfortable 9-1 winners over Crosby D and Princes St B respectively. Rhys Davies for the B team, and Yameen Al Dahiri for the A team led from the front, whilst their captains Mark Davies and Sylvia Graham marshalled their troops well, in what looks like becoming an interesting two horse race for the title. Quite the reverse for the two defeated sides, as they remain in the bottom two, 9pts adrift of Crosby C (50pts), whose luck has certainly changed since the New Year. A creditable 5-5 draw away at Princes St C continued their run of four matches undefeated, their captain Max Davies with two wins being the key . Leaving the top two to fight amongst themselves, the chase for 3rd place, was also hotting up and with Argyle A in contention, we paid them a visit for their ‘derby’ against their B team. From the off, the B team, were dealt a massive blow, with number one Julian Quirk already ruled out, Mike McCormack was also a late withdrawal, so Les Dodd stepped up from the D team.  A tough match, got even tougher as first Matthew Hyde and then Barry Crook, gave the A team an early 2-0 lead with wins over Allister Taylor and Monica Coogan, although Monica was a tad unfortunate to go down 12-10,11-9,12-10. A team captain Mark Jagger was up next to do battle with his opposing captain Angus Taylor, and with a whisper in my ear that this was an ‘old school confrontation’ further explained of being ‘old bat verses hard bat’ then a long tussle was to be expected. What a contest, mostly defensive, very cagey, tactical knowhow, and to be fair although the four games won by Mark 9-11,14-12,11-4,11-9, probably lasted as long as seven, it was a great watch. Not so great for the B team though... they trailed 3-0. It was soon 4-0 when Chris Parkes, having lost the first to Monica 6-11, gained complete control and took the next three. Matthew then made the match safe overcoming Les in three straight, before both doubles also went the way of the A team to give them a commanding 7-0 lead. Chris against Angus was called on next, would Argyle’s ‘Mr Perpetual Motion’ be tamed by the ‘hard bat’. Not this time, only three games but what a wonderful contest. Great defensive work from both players throughout, pity we didn’tt see a Chris’s double-handed backhand winner , but you can’t have everything. Unlike the A team who polished off the evening with a further two wins to give them an unexpected maximum win and 3rd place for the time being with 85pts. Great entertainment Argyle. To round off the 1st division news, Southport A (81pts) dropped from 3rd to 4th place after losing out to a resurgent Princes ST A, who made no mistake with a 2-8 away win. Being without number one Ogi Kostov did not help the home side, but with Matty Wilson and company in fine form, Princes St’s charge up the table to 5th place on 80pts, was not to be denied.   

Just like the top tier, the 2nd Division title race is also looking like a two horse race, again with both teams coming from the same club. Argyle D (104pts) still lead the way ,this after a 7-3 home win over Southport B, whilst fierce rivals their C team (95pts), did a little better with a convincing 1-9 win at Princes St D. Southport B were joined on 76pts by Princes St E, who just about had ‘enough in the tank’ to get past a spirited Argyle E, with a close  4-6 away victory. Two wins apiece here from Nick Foss and Andy Armstrong proved to be crucial in the win, whilst a full quota of wins from the Argyle’s Emily Clare kept the victors on their toes. It was a great week for the Waterloo teams, a maximum win from their A team at home to Crosby F, moved them into 5th place on 70pts, leaving the Crosby outfit rooted to the bottom on 30pts, thats 15pts behind Argyle E. Waterloo B nearly matched their A teams performance, an excellent 1-9 away at Crosby E, helped them leapfrog their opponents.     

Argyle H(113pts) strengthened their grip on the 3rd Division title, after a very good 8-2 win over their nearest rivals Argyle F (81pts). A close 6-4 win over Argyle G, moved the Para’s into a familiar 3rd place on 79pts. However, Princes St F were the big movers into 4th place in the race for what seems that second promotion place. A maximum points win against North Meols put them on 78pts, but more importantly a match in hand gives them a slight advantage over the other contenders.  Crosby H just won the plaudits in their ‘mini derby’ verses their G team, a full quota of wins from Charlie Williams proving the difference, in an exciting 6-4 win. Finally, in Southport’s ‘mini derby’ between their C and D teams, it ended all square, where only the C teams number one Andy Bush avoided defeat, in a very exciting match. No league action next week, as it’s Cup and Plate quarter final week, who will be the semi finalists … all information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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FINALS NIGHT and the ANON/GUNSON CUP and PLATE QUARTER FINALS

To add to a very hectic week of Cup and Plate Quarter Finals, Southport’s Closed Championships were also on the agenda, and with a record set here on Finals Night then it’s here we start… After a very competitive Championship Sunday at Crosby High School, seven finals took centre stage at Argyle, which got underway with the Junior event between Rhys Davies (Crosby)and Ogi Kostov (Southport), the first of three duels between these two talented players. First round to Rhys in uncompromising fashion 11-4,11-5,11-3. Dave Mullen (Princes St) verses Ollie Moir (Argyle) in the 3rd Division Restricted was next and an intriguing defensive tussle was taken by Ollie 5-11,4-11,11-4, 8-11. Barry Crook (Argyle) then won the Over 55s against Sue Hughes (Holy Trinity) 11-5,11-7,11-8, before Rhys and Ogi continued their battle, in the Doubles, where Rhys and his dad Mark overcame Ogi and Tom Ray (Southport), 11-6,11-4,11-7, making it two out of two for young Rhys. Barry then returned to the table to clinch his 2nd trophy of the night, with a four game success over Mark Barnes (Southport) in the Over 40s, 8-11,12-10,11-5,11-8. In the penultimate contest, the 2nd Division restricted, Tom then had the chance to put his previous disappointment behind him when he faced Ciaran Lynch (Crosby), and that looked the case as he took the first two games 11-9,11-6. But a superb response from Ciaran, 12-14,9-11, levelled it up, only for Tom to mount his own comeback in the fifth to take it 11-7. Great build up that to the main event ,the ‘Singles Final, and Yes, Rhys verses Ogi again. Much better start from Ogi this time, as he took the first 6-11. Again Ogi made the running in the second, as both players put on a brilliant display of attacking topspin. So close, 13-11 Rhys and we were level. No doubts from Rhys in the third, brilliant winners combined with some outstanding counter hits gave him the third 11-6, before a near repeat 11-7 performance in the fourth earned him the 2019 Title and a possible record of ‘three out of three’. Record archives suggest that this is the first time this has been done, Congratulations to Rhys and to all the winners and runners up in making this ‘a night to remember ‘.  League President Stan Clarke rounded off the evening by presenting the trophies, ‘do you need a hand with all those Rhys?’

ANON CUP

Southport A were the first team through after a comfortable win over Princes St B, although the loss of Dave Britton early on through injury, made the process a lot easier for the Southport side.

A strong Princes ST A eased past Crosby C 6-1, whilst Holy Trinity A progressed by the same scoreline against an well understrength Argyle B. Crosby A completed the all 1st division semi final line up with a 6-0 victory against Princes St C.

ANON PLATE

Princes St E back at full strength, won the ‘bragging rights’ in their derby against their D team, captain Nick Foss and Derek Aitken with two wins apiece, being the difference in a 6-2 win. An impressive Holy Trinity B line up were made to work hard by Southport B, where Tom Ray with a full quota of wins had kept his side in it at 4-3, before wins from Colin Mitchell and Janette Hutchings secured the win for the home side. Waterloo A bounced back from losing the first contest away to 3rd division Southport C, to make it three sides from the 2nd division with a 1-7 win. In the all 3rd Division clash, leaders Argyle H continued their good league form in overcoming their G team 6-0.

GUNSON CUP

Rhys Davies fresh from his Finals Night success was again the standout performer for league leaders Crosby B, in a very close 361-352 victory over Argyle A who started with a meagre 14pts award. Argyle themselves had Chris Parkes to thank for two exceptional outright wins, which kept his side in the mix until the last points were played. North Meols from the 3rd division with a 218pt advantage lost out to Crosby D from the 1st tier, by just 34pts, but if it hadn’t been for number one Les Rimmers contribution of 84pts the 400-434 loss could well have been a lot worse. However, the Para’s also from the 3rd division with a 240pt award to protect, did a fine job against Holy Trinity A from the 1st. Consistency here of reaching or bettering their target paid dividends throughout in a deserved 38pt success over their  illustrious opponents. Argyle H won through to their second semi final away at Princes St E, but had to count on a bit of luck when their opponents number one and captain Nick Foss, was a late withdrawal through illness. With each member of the home team now stepping up, including replacement Peter Crighton from the F team, there was only 12pts in it after five contests. Unfortunately that narrow Argyle lead dramatically increased to 74pts through the next two contests, meaning the tie was over with only 55pts available from the one encounter left. So, two 3rd division sides along with two from the 1st, will contest the Semi Final, and I don’t think any of the other three will relish facing young Rhys and Co….

GUNSON PLATE

 

Southport D kept the 3rd division flag flying with a close win over 1st division Princes St B.  A 262pt advantage looked about right, and with just 15pts the difference at the end, the win was certainly well deserved by a well drilled Southport side.  Another very close affair was played out in an all 2nd division clash between Princes St D and Southport B who started with a 30pt advantage. Again it was the Southport side who went through, this time by a 356-373 scoreline. Notable wins from Princes St’s Ian Lunt and Karen Gibson, and Southport’s Tom Ray and Alan Nolan kept it tight throughout.  Crosby A went through to their second semi final, after being run very close away at a determined Argyle C from the 2nd division. Yameen Al Dahiri was the pick of the bunch for the top tier side in a 403-435, which saw Argyles 202pt award slowly whittled away. Finally, the Handicap Committee could well be scratching their heads as to why 2nd division leaders Argyle D had such a comfortable 102pt win away at Princes St C. Was their 128pt advantage too much, or was Les Dodd’s two outstanding wins coupled with another from captain Les Lord the difference. Got to give the players the credit in this one. Overall, the handicapping continued to do the job it was intended to do, closer matches, exciting finishes… back to league action next week, all information can be found at www.tabletennis.com/southport

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WEEK 16 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Crosby A (110pts) returned to the top of the first division after a maximum win over an understrength Argyle B , which also coincided with the return of their number one Jack Dempsey, so no real surprise there then. Crosby B now find themselves as the ‘chasers’ again after a decent 8-2 home win against Princes St C, left them just one point adrift of their fierce rivals. Rhys Davies again caught the eye by only conceding 19pts in his two singles.  Princes St A (88pts) moved up into 3rd place, this after a convincing 8-2 home win over Argyle A, who now drop to fourth place with 87pts. But having lost their number one Barry Crook to injury, it could have been worse for the Argyle outfit, but for two great wins from Mike McCormack who stepped up from their B team. Holy Trinity A also got the ‘rub of the green’ in their home match verses a depleted Southport A, where it finished 8-2 for the home side, which left Southport back in fifth position on 83pts.  At the bottom there was no respite for Princes St B (42pts), who now face an even tougher task in keeping their top tier status. Second bottom Crosby D (48pts) saw to that, with a very good 3-7 win over them, Lee Madin and Tony Dixon doing most of the damage. Just two points now separate them from third bottom Crosby C, who had a free week.

Division 2 leaders Argyle D (111pts) came out on top in their ‘derby’ match against their ‘arch enemies’ second placed Argyle C. Les Dodd again was the key in the 7-3 win, with a full quota of wins. Meaning their lead at the top was now 13pts. With that result, third placed Southport B had the chance to capitalise and reduce the gap between them and second placed, so it was off to  The Amelan Hall, to see how they fared against lowly Argyle E. Southport got off to a great start with Tom Ray producing an ‘expressive as ever’ three straight win over Andy Stuart, before Argyle’s captain Ray Clarke squared it up at 1-1, overcoming Jeff Cummins in a wonderfully entertaining five game encounter which finished, 4-11,11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 6-11. Home captain Alan Nolan then restored his sides lead with a three straight win over Andy, and that lead was further increased to 4-1 with victory in both doubles encounters. Jeff then made the match at least safe after a four game win against Emily Clare who fought back well from 2-0 down to take the third 6-11, before just losing out in the fourth 13-11.  Could stand in number one Lewis Hible get Argyle back into the match, well Tom’s form was looking good as he took the first 11-6. Lewis then staged a bit of a comeback, but still missed out 11-9 in the second. Big chance again for Lewis in the third, at 10-10, but again, Tom’s luck held out to take it 13-11, which made it 6-1 Southport. Further wins from Jim Irving and Alan over Ray and Emily respectively, looked like the ‘icing was already on the cake’ at 8-1 for the home side. However the last word was to be with Lewis, who finally worked up a ‘head of steam’ to overcome Jim in three straight, all 8-11, to make the final score a tad more respectable at 8-2 Southport. So, the gap was reduced, but now on 84pts, they still have 14pts to make up on a top two place. Making it more and more likely of an Argyle one-two.  Princes St E stayed in fourth place on 81pts after being held at home by Crosby E, where the visitors made a late rally to comeback from 5-3 down. Nick Moustaka the hero of the hour having clinched a last gasp five game thriller against Derek Aitken to earn the draw.

Argyle H continued their march towards the 3rd Division title with an impressive 8-2 win over the Para’s, even the absence of number one Liam Ward did not affect the leaders resolve, Ryan Hesketh with his two wins, including a superb five game success over Kostya Sinitsa was the ‘pick of the bunch’. Now with 121pts it seems it could be all but settled in the next few weeks. Princes St F (86pts) moved into 2nd place after an 2-8 win at Southport D, and are now beginning to look the most likely team to grab that second promotion berth. But with nine squad members to keep happy in a rotation system, then Argyle F (86pts) and the Paras (81pts)  will be lying in wait for any slip ups. Talking of which, Argyle F were held at home by Southport C, who had both Andy Bush and Paul Harrison in great form, whilst Kassra Mohammadi was the standout performer for the home side. Crosby H (77pts) also have an outside chance of snatching promotion, and with a match in hand, it would be foolish to rule them out. Finally, Argyle G ably led by captain Lee Hones gained a good 3-7 win away at Crosby G. All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 17 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

As the final countdown begins across the three divisions our ‘port of call’ this week, had to be Crosby High School, where 1st division leaders Crosby A played host to third placed Princes St A, whilst second bottom Crosby D were looking for some good fortune when they entertained eighth placed Princes St C. With the leaders boasting an impressive lineup, even captain Sylvia Graham stepped down for her daughter Cherith to help build the pressure upon their rivals. Not the start that they wanted though, as Cherith, having taken the first 11-7 against Colin Turner failed to capitalise losing out in four games. Number one Jack Dempsey then settled the nerves, but only just, in three very close games 13-11,11-7,14-12 against a powerful Matty Wilson display. Wins from Liam Shaw and then Yameen Al Dahri  over Dave Noden and Darren Taylor respectively eased the leaders into a 3-1 lead before Jack kept to the script with a four game success over Colin to make it 4-1 Crosby. Yameen then increased his sides advantage even further with a four game win over Matty, which to be fair he never looked like losing. Victory was then secured by Liam, who got the better of Darren in four games, 11-7,8-11,11-8,11-3. If the visitors thought there now might be some respite from the onslaught, then think again, first doubles pairing Jack and Cherith made it 7-1 with victory over Matty and Dave. Cherith then added to Dave’s woes with a three straight win to make it 8-1 Crosby. A glimmer of hope was had in the second doubles encounter when Colin and Darren were just about holding home pair Yameen and Liam at 11-6,10-12,11-3,9-11. However it was not to be, as that glimmer was extinguished in style 11-3 in the fifth, giving a final score of 9-1 Crosby A (119pts), who now have  moved 10 points ahead of their B team, who were without a match this week. Princes St A (89pts) dropped a place to fourth, but are still in contention for third place having a match in hand. With the title outcome an ‘either or’ scenario, the relegation zone too, had a similar look, with Crosby D along with Crosby C facing the drop. Opponents Princes St C were also in a precarious position, but there hopes were certainly raised when Ray Hibbs got them off to a great start with a three straight win over Marcus Doyle. Stefan Schober Thompson, then levelled for the D team, winning in five games against Martyn Machin, where Stefans superb forehand proved the difference. Lee Madin then put the home side ahead beating Mick Winder in four games, before a Lee, Tony Dixon combo just about edged another five game thriller against Josh Taylor and Ray, which made it 3-1 Crosby D. A win apiece then from first Martyn over Marcus and then Josh over Lee , either side of a five game success for Tony against Ray, made the score 4-3 Crosby, with it all to play for. Securing the second doubles contest made the match safe for the home side at 5-3.  Stefen then went one better to make it 6-3, with another unstoppable forehand display against Mick, leaving Tony to cap a great evening off for himself with a third five game win, this time over Josh to make the final score 7-3 Crosby D, who in turn move out of the drop zone on 55pts. Great evenings entertainment, credit must go to all four sides…. With that good news for the D team, it was not so good for Crosby C whose run of good results came to a abrupt halt with a 9-1 loss at Southport A. They now drop into the bottom two, 4pts behind their D team whilst Southport leapfrog Princes St A into third place on 92pts. Princes St B remain bottom on 45pts, this after 3-7 reverse at home to Argyle B. Finally, Having already lost number one Barry Crook to injury, it didn’tget much better for Argyle A, who were on the receiving end of an 2-8 home defeat verses a strong Holy Trinity A side, where Messrs Gittens and Cranny inflicted most of the damage.

Division 2 leaders Argyle D(117pts), just about managed to stretch their win ratio to 15 wins from 16 matches. Bottom team Crosby B were the surprise package that made it difficult for them, before losing out 6-4. Second placed Argyle C’s (105pts) 7-3 win over their E team kept them 14pts clear of third placed Southport B, who also triumphed 3-7 away to Crosby E. Waterloo B made it a family night out in a 7-3 home win against Princes St E, where the father and son duo’s, Jago and Mooney made the most of an understrength Princes St outfit. A strong Holy Trinity B team selection proved far too much for Princes St D, although being without number one Colin Fyles did not help in the 1-9 loss.

Division 3 leaders Argyle H(130pts) look to be ‘home and dry’ after a 9-1 home win over Crosby G. With the Para’s losing further ground after a 3-7 loss against Southport C and Crosby H dropping three points at home to Argyle G in a 7-3 win, then those H team celebrations could well have been just a few points away.  However the important match between Princes St F and Argyle F was postponed at short notice putting the outcome on hold for a bit longer. It also denied the Princes St team a chance to forge ahead and make second place their own. Finally North Meols trip to Argyle J was made a little easier with the home team having only three players. Good job it seems as their 3-7 win may well have been in doubt...

All information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

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WEEK 18 SOUTHPORT & DISTRICT TTL

Crosby A (128pts) kept their noses in front in the race for the 1st Division Title, and did so in some style with a convincing 1-9 away win at Holy Trinity A. A 7-3 home success over Southport A ,for rivals Crosby B put them on 116pts, but with a match in hand, the gap it would seem to be a lot less. All could be settled when the two sides meet on the 29th March, one for your diary that one! In the fight for survival, bottom team Princes St B (45pts) were dealt no mercy by their A team, who inflicted a damaging maximum loss, whilst at the same time giving themselves a great chance of third place with 99pts. Crosby C(57pts) did their survival prospects a power of good, with a narrow 6-4 home win against Argyle A. Both Rashad Al Dahiri and Nick Wilson the difference between the sides. Crosby D (63pts) moved clear of the basement battle after a 2-8 win away at an understrength Argyle B, which in turn dragged Princes St C (58pts) without a match this week into the fight.        

Second division leaders, Argyle D (124pts) are now within just one point of securing promotion to the 1st Division, this after a very good away win at Holy Trinity B. Number one Les Dodd chipped in with two wins, once again, ably filling in for the injured Nick Miller. Callum Richardson and Mike Parker also with two wins apiece, made sure the celebrations were only a ‘whisker’ away. Rivals Argyle C (112pts), certainly look like making it an Argyle ‘one-two’ after matching their D teams score at home to Crosby E, where only the visitors captain Elliot Cooper made any distinct impression.  Southport B(95pts) remain in 3rd place, heading a clutch of teams, a 4-6 home loss to the ever improving Waterloo B, putting another dent in any promotion prospects. Waterloo A made it a great week for the Merchant Taylors based club, a convincing 9-1 home success over Princes St D continued their march up the table, whilst at the same time leaving their opponents in 9th position 14pts above the drop zone, which could be enough of a safety net to guarantee their survival. At the bottom however, Crosby F (40pts) and Argyle E (55pts), do look to be facing the inevitable drop to Division 3. That prospect though did not stop the sides putting on a super show, battling out an exciting 5-5 draw, Selwyn Goldthorpe and Ciaran Lynch for Crosby and Emily Clare for Argyle, each with two wins, being the standout performers.   

 

Runaway leaders of the 3rd division, Argyle H, actually secured promotion to the 2nd division and are just the one point away from clinching the title. A maximum win over their G team did the trick, putting  them on a virtually unassailable 140 pts. Princes St F (91pts) still look the favourites to take that second promotion place, a determined performance at the Para’s earned them a ‘share of the spoils’, although at 3-5 ahead, it could have been a lot better, but you can never rule out the Para’s especially with just the doubles to play.  Princes St’s Dave Williams took all the plaudits with two fine wins. Crosby H (89pts) remained in 3rd place, and are still in with an outside chance of promotion, a 5-5 draw at North Meols keeping them just in touch. Southport C came back from 4-2 down away to Crosby G to snatch a 4-6 victory, where captain Paul Harrison played a key role in the the dramatic turnaround. Finally,  Southport D and Argyle J fought out an entertaining draw, young Matt Bishop for Southport and Robert Yeung for the visitors being the stand out performers… It’s the Cup and Plate Semi Finals next week all information can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/southport

Table Tennis England County Championships

Lancashire U/15s

February 23rd – 24th 2019 – Wellingborough

The Lancashire 1st team competed in the Premier Division of the County Championships in Wellingborough over the weekend of 23rd / 24th February. Teams are made up of 3 boys and 2 girls who between them play 10 matches against each of the opposing counties in a round robin format.

Before play commenced all the coaches were assessing the opposition line-ups and making team selections and with our main rivals, Nottinghamshire, missing a couple of players on International duty, Lancashire started as firm favourites with Devon & Yorkshire the most likely rivals.

Lancashire who had won the U/18 equivalent in December could call upon 3 of that team to spearhead our challenge - siblings Ryan & Sandy Choong and Rhys Davies. Indeed, these three were the highest rated players at the event and were joined by 2 more pairs of siblings – Daniel & Kate Watkinson and Toby & Bethany Ellis.

Saturday saw us play 3 matches against Devon, Sussex & Durham. Lancashire got off to a great start beating title rivals Devon 7-3 despite Devon having the strongest girls’ section at the event. Next were Sussex and an emphatic 10-0 score line kept Lancashire & Yorkshire as the early frontrunners. Durham proved to be a severe test with England No.7 Tom Rayner accounting for our top 2 boys in succession. Despite the setback the team battled well to see out a 5-5 draw leaving us 1 point behind the unbeaten Yorkshire at the end of day 1.

All to play for on Day 2 with every match and every point critical as relegation loomed for the bottom 2 of the 8 teams and 4 teams still in with a chance of Victory. The traditional Lancashire V Yorkshire battle of the roses in round 3 looked on paper to be the likely title decider.

We opened against Kent, who put up a strong challenge before Lancashire ran out 7-3 winners. On the adjacent tables Devon lived up to their billing by overcoming Yorkshire 6-4 leaving Lancashire as the only unbeaten team and kept Devon in contention themselves. With bottom county Glamorgan next, Lancashire emphatically won 10-0 dropping only a couple of sets in the process to set-up the top of the table clash against fierce rivals Yorkshire. A strange quirk in the fixtures meant that every match was still important at this stage with 1st v 2nd 3rd, v 4th, 5th v 6th & 7th v 8th.

Rhys & Toby got Lancashire off to great start winning 2 hard-fought contests 3-1 before Sandy & Bethany took centre stage. Sandy won 3-0 and Bethany produced a superb performance to surprise the Yorkshire No.1 girl with a 3-1 victory having never beaten her opponent previously. Lancashire were 4-0 up and looking in control but Yorkshire rallied with 2 victories against Ryan & Toby. Sandy & Bethany returned to seal the tie and give Lancashire an unassailable 6-2 victory before Ryan & Rhys won the final encounters for an 8-2 score line – Rhys’ 3-2 comeback victory against Yorkshire’s No.1 boy being the pick of the contests.

This put daylight between Lancashire & Devon with Yorkshire now out of the running meaning a draw against Nottinghamshire in the final round would see Lancashire as champions. A comprehensive 8-2 win kept Lancashire as the only unbeaten team with Devon as runners up.

Congratulations to the entire team who were well supported by parents, family and friends and to coaches Dave Graham & Mark Davies who guided the team throughout the weekend.

The boys won 35/42 contests and the girls 20/28. Sandy Choong led the individual rankings winning all 14 of her matches with Rhys Davies (13/14) and Ryan Choong (12/14) ensuring that Lancashire were virtually unstoppable. Every single player contributed with wins – Toby & Dan both winning over 50% each and Bethany & Kate who at only 11 years old showed their obvious promise by winning 6 matches between them against much older and more experienced players. All of the girls and one of the boys are young enough to compete next year and hopefully a strong chance to defend the title.

Mark Davies

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