Championships time

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueThe North Norfolk Championships take place on Saturday from 2pm at North Walsham Sports Centre and have attracted a larger entry than the last couple of years.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

The North Norfolk Championships take place on Saturday from 2pm at North Walsham Sports Centre and have attracted a larger entry than the last couple of years.

John Paul is set to defend his hat-trick of titles and is looking for a fourth consecutive win in the open singles but faces a strong field including John Hancock (Jnr), Martin Lawes, Ian Darricott and Dennis Elliott.

Hancock could be his biggest threat and could be the man to end his run of over 100 consecutive North Norfolk victories - with Hunnybell joining the league down in the second division and hence not playing Sidewinders - the championships could provide the first meeting between the pair.

Paul and Lawes will be a hard duo to beat in the open doubles, while Hancock starts as favourite in the second division events. There is a change to this year's veterans' event with the minimum age limit raised to 55 from 40 while the handicap events will be as unpredictable as always.

Spectators are welcome and there is free entry - it has the potential to be the best championships for years.

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In the Handicap Cup, the last quarter-final was a doubles tie between Sharks and Crosscourts.

Lining up for the hosts were John Barron (J), Mike Toye (L) and Nigel Hayward-Surry (H) as they faced Crosscourters Alan Rutledge (M), Maureen Chapman (R) and Anne Armitage (R).

The Crosscourters booked their place in the semis in double-quick time, not dropping a set in their 5-0 win.

The first doubles semi-final took place at Cromer as the Aces team of Geoff Long (Q), Clive Smith (O) and Ron Povey (R) faced Seal's Ray Amo (J), Chris Marshall (M) and Ron Millett (O) for a place in the final.

The handicaps gave the Aces team starts ranging between four and nine and they took the first four contests, although two of them went the distance. Amo and Marshall then pulled one back for the visitors against Long and Povey (+9) with a win in three from a set down, but Long and Smith (+4) booked the hosts place in the final with an 18-21, 21-13, 21-16 win over Marshall and Millet.

In the final the Aces will play the winner of Crosscourts v Beta.

The first semi-final of the Handicap Singles Cup saw Keith Register and Phil Baker join Hayward-Surry as the Sharks hosted the Delta line-up of Jamie Carter, John Vaughan and Tom Baldock-Yaxley.

Controlled play from Hayward-Surry won the opener from Carter (+12) in two and Sharks went 2-0 up as Register's 12-point start was too much for Vaughan. Some rash shots at crucial moments cost Baker against Baldock-Yaxley (+14), before some telling smashes from Carter (+11) kept Register at bay as the tie was levelled.

Baldock-Yaxley (+12) was confident in using his top spin to overcome the chop of Hayward-Surry before Baker (+4) played well against Vaughan to again level the tie at 3-3.

A bad start from Register allowed Baldock-Yaxley (+11) to grow in confidence as he won 21-1, 21-9 before Carter (+15) took the first from Baker. The Shark clawed his way back to 18-19 in the second, but Carter took the next two points to clinch the Delta's place in the final. Hayward-Surry beat Vaughan, but the night belonged to Delta who won 5-4.

In the second division Delta entertained Sharks, who won 10-0, and Aces won their derby with Crosscourts 9-1.

Players of the Week: Alan Rutledge, Tom Baldock-Yaxley and Maureen Chapman.)

Results. Handicap Singles Cup semi-final: Sharks 4, Delta 5.

Handicap Doubles Cup quarter-final: Sharks 0, Crosscourts 5.

Handicap Doubles Cup semi-final: Aces 5, Seals. Division Two: Aces 9, Crosscourts 1; Delta 0, Sharks 10.