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Aigburth 4 v Linacre 5
This season’s Final was a repeat of last season’s Final which finished with a runaway 5-0 victory for Aigburth, but what a close contest this season’s was, both teams fielded similar teams to last season, with one change each, Aigburth had a last minute change, losing No.1 Alan Davies, with Derek Traynor stepping in at No. 4, and Linacre now had Dave Ferguson at No. 4, so the two teams were -: Ian Laird, Lee Proffitt, Graham Rollinson & Derek Traynor for Aigburth, and Linacre’s Harry Reeve, Harry Nelson, Jack Davidson & Dave Ferguson.
Linacre won the toss for the away team, calling Dave to play Graham, Graham soon settled down to take the first game 11-5 with some sharp hitting, Dave slowed the next game down a bit, chopping a bit more, upsetting Graham’s pace, to level the score at 1-1, the next game was pretty level, Dave content to sit back and return Graham’s hitting, going into a 10-6 lead, Graham fought well to pull back level, only for Dave to get the next two points, 12-10, the 4th game went the same way, Dave sitting back, Graham’s need to win the points was making him make a few unexpected mistakes, in the main it was Graham both winning and losing the points, with Dave throwing in the odd surprise hit to take the next game and the first set.
Next call from Aigburth was Lee v Jack, Jack just couldn’t get to grips with Lee’s pace with the set going to Lee in 3 straight, 8, 5 & 3.
Next call from Linacre saw the two ones, Harry R. v Ian L., Harry had decided to take the ‘bull by the horns’ as Ian had beaten Harry in 3 straight 2 weeks before, but Harry went straight into the attack, not giving Ian a chance to settle down, with some great shots coming from the Linacre captain, driving him into a two game lead, Ian won the next one, but that only urged Harry to put more pressure on, to win the next game 7, sets now 1-2 to Linacre.
Aigburth again called Jack D. to the table, this time against Derek T., Derek won the first, Jack the next, then Derek, and Jack the next, 2-2 with neither player settling down to their best play, but the fifth game saw Derek playing a bit more confident with more of his ‘out of the blue’ smashes landing on the right part of the table to take the 5th 11-2, so match level again.
Fifth call to Linacre, Harry N. v Graham, a similar game to the two No. one’s, Harry winning the first two 7 & 6, Graham the third, 8, Harry the next, 11- 6, Linacre in front again 3-2.
Next call to Aigburth to keep in the match was the doubles, Ian & Lee v Harry R. & Jack, a surprise here as Linacre’s No. 1 doubles of Harry R. & Dave F. had beaten Ian & Lee in 3 straight in their recent league match. This doubles got under way with tension showing from the start, Ian & Lee setting up the smashes, but not having much luck with the shots, throwing points away, Harry and Jack defending well, and winning a tight game 17-15, Aigburth won the next two with that little extra pace on their hitting, the fourth game started to take its toll on the young Aigburth players, rushing into their shots, with Harry & Jack holding on with some good defending, and throwing in the odd attack to keep Ian & Lee on their toes, H & J won the levelling game 13-11, the last game passed with some devastating hits from Ian & Lee to win the 5th game 11-5, match level again 3-3.
Linacre next called on Dave to play Derek, as in sets 3 & 5, Dave forced the pace by going into a 2 game lead, Derek again winning the third game, but wasn’t playing a settled game, missing too many easy hits, Dave playing his steady game, offering up the “easy hits” with loads of chop on them, won the 4th game 11-9, so again Linacre take the lead, 4-3.
To save the match, Aigburth call on No.1 Ian to play No.2 Harry N., Ian had one thing on his mind to win this one, and kept pressure on Harry all the time, Harry not having the time to pick his shots, and in that situation, a bit of bad luck, but Ian deserved his 3 straight win, 5, 9 & 4.
So all sets gone to the call, the final set between Lee and Harry R., putting all the pressure onto young Lee, with Harry increasing the pressure by winning the first game 11-6, after a few words from his corner, Lee slowed a bit, thinking more about his game, not rushing into his shots, and showed that he was capable of winning, duly taking the next 11-5, but Lee then fell back into the trap of having to win the points with smashes, where as Harry is the great exponent of making the other player lose the points with some good defending, as well as throwing in some unexpected smashes, to win the 3rd game 11-9, then with Lee losing heart, trying that bit extra to no avail, Harry won the final game of the night, and the match 5 sets to 4, a good nights competitive table tennis.
An extra bit of info was that this was Linacre’s 15th Div. Cup final, but the 1st time they have won, well done to both teams for an entertaining night.
Match played at Bath St. Marine
Match Official -: Mike Power
Refreshments by Roly Wright, Ron Georgeson & John Langton (Ron & John also umpired all the games)