Big win for Alpha aids relegation battle

THERE was a rather surprising result in the Star Paving Services Table Tennis League first division this week.

Alpha's Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Mary Sawyer battled Cobra's James Baldock-Yaxley, Adam Brown and Alex Spragg.

The result of 9-1 in Alpha's favour would have seemed pretty normal a season or two ago perhaps, but with Cobras and Deltas having been the dominant teams from North Walsham — what was only Alpha's third win of the season could play an important part in the battle to avoid relegation.

Maybe lack of practice hurt the Cobras as five matches went the Alpha's way in the deciding set, including the doubles (despite them dropping the second set to love) and Sawyer putting in a vintage performance to take a maximum.

Spragg needed nine set points to level against Johns in the fourth, but the Alpha took the fifth 12-10. Baldock-Yaxley was still a little below par after illness, but took the Cobras only point in four against Johns.

In the second division, Seals' Matt Hudson, Ray Amo and Chris Marshall battled Beta's David Beane, Simon Halliday, Philip Stone and Chris Johnson.

Halliday and Stone both took maximums for Beta, making plenty of mini comebacks along the way such as Halliday battling back from 4-0 down in the second to defeat Amo in straight.

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Plus he also defeated Marshall in three, despite losing the first six points and Stone coming from behind to close out his win against Marshall in the fourth and winning 11 straight points from 4-0 down in the third to defeat Hudson.

Amo was unlucky not to take a win going down in five sets to both Stone and Beane. The latter won 13-11 in that deciding set on his fourth match-point having earlier squandered a couple trying to go out in a blaze of glory.

The Beta only managed single, erratic performances going down to Hudson's solid attack in four and the more consistent Marshall in three, but Beta did take the doubles with Johnson in four against Hudson and Marshall as they closed out Beta's 8-2 win.

Backhanders found themselves a man down this week but Teucer Wilson and Whil De Neve edged out Crosscourts 6-4 with De Neve winning nine points in a row from 2-6 to defeat Clive Smith in straight.

Eric Dolden took a set from De Neve but with Wilson not dropping a set, including the doubles.

The only non-walkover point to go to the Crosscourters was John Welsh's straight sets defeat of De Neve.

At Gresham School the team of Roy Lau, Ian Darricott and Henry Yeung hosted Poacher's Steve Patterson, Andy Woods and Barry Evans.

With Paterson taking a brace but losing out to great hitting in four by Lau, plus Woods and Evans a little too steady for Yeung and Darricott taking a maximum, the teams found themselves locked at 4-4.

The final singles saw Woods defeat Lau 8-11, 11-13, 11-2, 12-10, 11-8, but the Gresham's player bounced back in the doubles winning with Darricott against Patterson and Woods in straight to end the night as a draw.

Finally, the match between Echoes' Paul Price, Franchesca Bennet and Naomi Myhill and Goblin's John Miller, Peter and Rosie Ward started with a very good four-set win for Price against Miller.

All the remaining games were straight-sets affairs, Price also beating Rosie Ward but Goblins cruising to an 8-2 win. Myhill hit the shot of the night in the doubles however.

The draws for the handicap cups have been made.

With 16 teams left following Dolphins' exit, there is no need for the preliminary stage and so some rounds have been brought forward hence some rounds will take place on different dates than stated in the fixture list in the handbook.

The first round of the handicap singles cup moves forward to week commencing February 14, with the second round now scheduled for week commencing February 28 and the semi-finals taking place week commencing March 21.

The doubles cup remains as stated in the fixture list, with the exception of the semi-finals which also move forward to week commencing March 21. Handicap supplements will be sent out to all teams as usual.

Players of the week are Naomi Myhill, Simon Halliday, John Welsh, Andy Woods and all three Alphas.

n The results and tables are on the first page of sport.