2016-17 Mid Season Report


29/11/2016 - Bob Harman

Remember the League’s three ‘R’s? Result, Reaction, Report

As we approach the mid point of the season, I thought it might just be a good time to remind players and particularly team captains that we do need to keep our beloved match reports rolling in. I’m not sure everyone is checking their handbooks to see if the ‘R’ is there in the fixture chart against them as the home team, report required – in fact it is very unlikely this is the case unless you keep the handbook in your kit bag and bother to check it pre-match!

So let’s abandon the accepted protocol of waiting your turn for the ‘R’ to come round on a home night or two a season, and just email us what went on at any given match played on any given week – I do think we as players need to communicate the good things, the bad things and dare I say it the ugly things a little better than we do! As the League’s Press Officer, I feel it only right that I press you to do this, you know it makes sense…team captains especially who aren’t in the habit of supplying match reports, please do so!

Spicy Affairs

I can confirm that the League committee enjoy nothing more than getting useful feedback about the League through its lifeblood, the players and the ensuing matches, so I am appealing to all comers who enjoy reading match reports, as I and many do from what I hear on my travels, to break free of their shackles and submit a report to either my good self or Dave his very good self Unwin (or both of us if you wish) giving us all a flavour of your evening’s enjoyment. Be bold, whether you were playing at home or away, we don’t mind, a room with a view, two views even, two reports are after all better than one! Even better a report from a local derby could be fun, as I’m guessing they can sometimes be very spicy affairs…as hot as the hottest vindaloo, where bragging rights between friends in rival teams are often at stake. So spill the beans and paint us a picture that we can all enjoy and relate to, just as you did hopefully on the night.

Captain Tolstoy – No thanks…

It could be a few words, more than ‘we could of won easier’ but less than a chapter from ‘War & Peace’ – just a sentence or two, or a paragraph or two perhaps, or much more if you feel it necessary - detailing a moment that occurred during a match or maybe in the pub afterwards that was either really funny or adversely not quite so funny. Maybe a particular point played that really stuck in your mind or perhaps a win over someone you thought you would never beat but did or conversely the ‘bad’ loss – we all suffer those at times – but do be gracious if you can, give credit to the other player if you have suffered a defeat or even praise yourself if you feel it necessary, we don’t mind, the world will keep on spinning either way!

It could be a man/woman/boy/girl of the match nomination, or something about a particular venue you might not like that can be improved upon, or perhaps just how cool are Rougham’s natty shirts, or does Fred Hare really wear a toupee or should Rev Green be allowed to play in his dazzlingly white dog collar? Why is there an enormous Christmas tree lurking in the corner of the playing area? All reasonable reports that might or might not need addressing or editing will be very welcome!

One shaken, two barely stirred! Think…Spitfire pilot gripping the controls…Bingo!

It could be that you might want to report on something as simple as a handshake between players (and their umpire for the game) on any given night. Well simple probably isn’t a good choice of word for this thorny subject. It really cannot be just my teammates and I that notice how this ritual can vary from ‘correct’ pressure grip levels (let’s call it the norm) to the ‘gossamer’ grip (let’s just call it limp). This wild variety of shakes was offered even from within the confines of one team – three players, one shaken, two barely stirred at all! Two of the three players might as well have offered up just their little finger to shake rather than their entire hand, such was their lack of commitment throughout the evening to the said process.

While I’m not suggesting an arm wrestling contest should take place, win or lose as the last point is over, I do think it reflects badly on you as a player if you don’t make the said process at least meaningful – it’s very much a two way thing, please try and remember that if you happen to be of the wet lettuce persuasion - and whilst on the matter of handshakes, please try not to forget to press the flesh properly with the umpire too. I have even seen someone recently not bother to even shake the umpire by the hand post match, which was pretty poor and was swiftly pointed out to the reluctant perpetrator who just shrugged his shoulders. Definitely not cricket that…

Calling all chocoholics! Panda Patrol??

Has it been a seamless introduction for the new seamless plastic fantastic balls or not? Hang on, did the old balls have seams or not? I truly can’t remember - a tube of Smarties will go to the first chocoholic to write in and confirm this. From my own perspective, I find the new balls still break when you jump on them in a fit of pique, but not quite as easily as the old ones…that is progress of sorts in my book. My guess is there are a few ball suppliers doing a lot less business with these new armour-plated versions from the Far East. I hear the new test procedures for the very latest balls in production are very stringent indeed – involving the local zoo panda troop being forced to play with them for hours at a time and then made to sit on them afterwards for days on end while chewing merrily on their bamboo, all of which proves the new balls are panda-proof and therefore indestructible - I am really not convinced it’s as black and white as that personally…

Serving up a storm? ‘Swisher’ alert and a few apple pickers in court proceedings

Finally and on a more serious note, a somewhat touchy subject or two to reflect on, but they are covered in the League rules and in some cases not being adhered to, so I think it is only right to discuss them here. Are players when serving keeping to the rules? Let us know whether you consider this to be a problem or not on any given night. Definitely not I would think is the answer to the question posed, albeit it is probably only a small minority of ‘foul servers’ who do so deliberately to actually gain a perceived advantage - at best it’s often perhaps just a bad habit developed over years of playing and not being corrected or clamped down on by umpires. Arguably, some say that these players who are habitual foul servers actually gain little or no advantage from their dubious service action, well at least in the long term; serving straight off the palm of the hand without throwing the ball upwards at all is arguably the most ‘popular’ offence (tell me about it I hear you sigh), but in my opinion this heinous act of ‘Swishing’ (as I call it) actually prevents the Swisher from imparting much spin at all to the ball other than a hint of top spin. Some might argue that we would be doing Swishers a favour correcting their bad habit, as more often than not the ball tends to hit the net on the Swisher’s side and the point is yours and gained with zero effort on your part, which is of course a Brucie bonus.

All we can really hope for is that matches are fought fairly and played in the spirit they were intended to be played in…it is important to educate not only the Swishers of this world but also those few players among us who feel the need to repeatedly call a temporary halt to proceedings between points - using more routines than Rafa Nadal could ever be accused of – it is so easy to almost fall asleep mid-game as the culprits pace around at a snails pace at the back of the court, stealing precious time in order to gather their thoughts or perhaps apples from a nearby tree, who knows? So please try and stick to the rule that play should be continuous…..we really shouldn't need to introduce a code violation system for umpires to use, just a reminder to players should suffice. That’s it then…..hopefully a few bricks in place, as someone famously said recently, let's build that wall!!

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!!

Author: via Bury St Edmunds Table Tennis League
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