GEES VERY CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR IN PLATE FINAL!
The final of the Times and Directory Handicap Plate competition took place at the neutral venue of the Merton Table Tennis Club last Thursday. Squaring up against each other were the New Milton G team (Graham Underwood, Bev Scott-Johns & Mike Toole) from Div 3 and the Bournemouth Sports D team (Lee Devaney, Alan Gordon & John Tennant) from Div 1. Suffice to say the match went right down to the wire but sadly the Gees lost 4-5.
First up, veteran Mike Toole took on the Bournemouth left-hander Lee Devaney (captain), and with a +3 start Toole took the first set very comfortably 21-12. However, Toole started to have real difficulties reading Devaney’s serve and lost the next two 17-21, 15-21.
Next up, Milton Club Secretary Bev Scott-Johns received a +13 start from ex Milton player Alan Gordon, but Gordon very quickly overcame the handicap in both sets to win 21-18, 21-17 to make it 2-0 to the Bourne.
It was up to Milton Captain Graham Underwood to try to stop the rot, and he profited from a very generous start of +11 on John Tennant to win 21-7, 21-9 and get one back for Milton.
Toole benefitting from a +5 start on Gordon took the first set off the ex-Miltonian 18-21. Gordon was gradually gaining ground in the second set and caught up at 18-18, but a much relieved Toole won it 21-19 to level proceedings off at 2-2.
It was then up to the captains to try to sieze the intiative for their respective teams. Underwood received a +11 start from Devaney but lost the first 17-21 having never got to grips with the Bourne man’s serve. Still suffering from the serve in the second set, Underwood came out on top in open play however to win it 12-21, Devaney having seemingly switched off. In the third and final set, Underwood was 14-10 up at the change-round but still troubled by “that” serve eventually lost 17-21.
Scott-Johns received a +12 start from Tennant, but Tennant quickly caught up at 13-13 overwhelming Scott-Johns with his all out attack. In the only 20-20 of the evening, Scott-Johns lost 21-20 and went on to lose the second set making it 4-2 for the Bourne.
It was up to Captain Underwood to keep Milton in the match, and aided by a generous +12 start on Gordon he duly won 21-18, 21-12 to claw one back for his team.
Toole playing off +3 needed to beat Tennant to restore parity and kept in front throughout to win 15-21 in both sets to level things off at 4-4.
And so it came down to Scott-Johns against Devaney who was well up for his hat-trick. The Milton man showed his team mates just how to handle Devaney’s service and played his best match of the evening. Devaney was now playing exhibition stuff however, and despite giving away a 12 start, he won it 21-18, 21-19 to land his team the Plate.
The G team above (l-r Mike Toole, Graham Underwood (Captain) & Bev Scott-Johns) were still smiling after narrowly missing out on the T&D Plate.
There was a lot of good, competitive table tennis played in a very sporting and friendly manner, so thanks to the Bournemouth boys Lee, Alan and John for playing their part in that, and congrats on winning the Plate.