The Frank Murphy Memorial Handicap Trophy
The Photo shows L to R
Umpire Graham Rollinson, Ian Wensley, Bill Clayton, Ken Jackson, Dave Berry, Sue Berry, Steve Green, Myra Lovelady, Marjory Murphy, Adrian Bramham, Dave Roberts, Ray Jackson, Fred Bainbridge
The last Final of the season, The Frank Murphy Memorial Handicap Trophy was played at Bootle YMCA between
Marconi 3ís Adrian Branham, Ray Jackson & Ian Wensley, against Bath St. Marine 1ís Ken Jackson, Steve Green & Dave Roberts on Wednesday 21st April, basically a regular first division squad v the rest, the spectators expected a slow cagey start as BSM had to give Marconi a start of 62 by way of a their own handicap of minus 44 added to Marconiís handicap of 18, BSM had used a reserve (Graham Oates) in the first two rounds due to Dave Roberts being injured, but for the final 3 rounds, the same 3 players and the
minus 44 starting handicap, whereas Marconi have used 6 players, maybe due to availability of players, or juggling the handicaps depending on the opposition, but BSMís philosophy seems to have been all out attack to win the matches, Marconiís may have been to hold on to the lead by good defending, and thatís how the night progressed, resulting in one of the best open matches of table tennis I, and Iím sure most of the spectators, have watched for many years, every point was a battle, none of the serve, return, smash, not just one set, but every set, impossible to separate any player out, everyone pulled out all the stops in turning out a ďcrackerĒ of a match. BSM providing most of the attacking with Marconi doing some brilliant defending from all over the room, Itís not often Iíve thought that Bootle YMís room was a bit small, but this match could have done with a couple of extra metres all round.
But as is expected, itís winning the points that matter, and this was the case tonight, BSM kept up a relentless pressure to restrict Marconi to defending, the roles were reversed during various games, but BSM coped with this keeping the point going till the chance came for the smash, it was only in set 7 that Marconi won their only game, when Ian opened up with some great ďgay abandonĒ hitting, taking Dave by surprise, and winning 21-16, but Dave took note, pushed Ian back into defensive mode, winning the next game 21-6.
Rayís best set was against Steve, both players hitting hard and fast, all the top shots, backhand smashes, forehand loops, returning from way back, but inevitably, to be smashed back again, both players were playing this attack, defend role, but overall, what luck there was on the night, I would say that 75% went to BSM. players.
The match started with Marconi in front by 62 points, after the first 3 sets BSM had pulled this back to 1point behind, after the next set they were 22 points in front, and kept increasing the lead every set, and after the 8th set BSM were 64 points ahead, making it pointless to play the last set, but in keeping with the spirit and quality of the nights matches, it was agreed by Adrian and Ken to play the last set, the 2 players turning out another two cracking ďexhibitionĒ games, Ken dictating, with his variety of hits and blocking, Adrian returning from all angles and distances, with appreciation from all spectators for a memorable nights T.T. performed by all the players.
BSM have turned the Handicap theory on its head, their policy was to play all their best players together to overcome the handicaps, and it certainly paid off, it may not work every time, but the 1st division quality showed through., no one can question this BSM teamís commitment, they won 76 out of a possible 90 games over 5 rounds
Thanks to Frankís widow, Marjory Murphy for again presenting the trophies and the after match refreshments, assisted by regular helpers Myra Lovelady, Sue and Dave Berry, Umpired again by Graham Rollinson, (4th), and Bootle YMís Jim Geddes for the venue and tea, and a sigh of relief from match official, yours truly. Match result - Marconi 3. 255 v Bath St. Marine 1. 329