TIMES & DIRECTORY PLATE STAYS WITH NMTTC
For the second year running, a team from the New Milton Table Tennis Club had reached the final of the Annual Times & Directory Handicap Plate competition. Last year it was won by their D team (Terry Jenvey, Chris Pusey & Kai Major), and this season it was the G team (Eddie Tompkins, Graham Underwood & Lewis Reading) seeking to keep the Plate within the club.
The Gees had already seen off their own B team in the semi-final, and their opponents Merton H (Simon King, Rob Searle & Christine Renaut) had done likewise to their own club mates in the Merton D team. The New Milton side usually ply their trade in Div 4 of the Bournemouth and District league whereas Merton play in Div 3, both teams ending up mid-table.
The handicapping reflected the league differential with Simon King giving a +5 start, Rob Searle conceding 6 and Christine Renault giving the less generous +3 start to the Milton players.
Milton went 2-0 up with Reading beating King 21-19, 21-14 and Underwood seeing off Rob Searle 21-19, 13-21, 21-10. It looked like Milton were going to go 3-0 up as Eddie Tompkins took the first end off Christine Renaut, but Renaut tantalisingly edged the next two 21-20, 21-19 to peg one back for Merton. Next up was Rob Searle who breezed past Reading 21-17, 21-16 to level things off at 2-2.
All eyes were on Tompkins who just edged his match against King 21-20, 21-19, then Underwood beat Renaut in a very tight sixth match 20-21, 21-19, 21-16 to put Milton 4-2 up.
Merton needed to win the next match to stay in the final, and Searle duly obliged by just getting the better of Tompkins 21-16, 17-21, 21-19. Milton started to get the jitters as Renaut saw off Reading in two straight ends 21-19, 21-19 to level things off at 4-4. The decider was between Underwood who was looking for his hat-trick and King who had lost both his matches, but Milton weren’t counting their chickens as King had only just lost out to Tompkins. Underwood starting off +5 quickly pulled away in the first end to take it comfortably 21-9 and won the second 21-14 to secure the Plate for New Milton. The victorious G team are pictured below (l-r Eddie Tompkins, Graham Underwood & Lewis Reading):-