Crosscourts battle to victory

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTHE 23rd week of the season brought a mixture of first and second division league matches and first-round handicap singles and doubles cup ties.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

THE 23rd week of the season brought a mixture of first and second division league matches and first-round handicap singles and doubles cup ties.

In the ultimate handicap battle the doubles event saw bottom of the second division host top of the first as Crosscourters Alan Rutledge (M), Neil White (R) and Maureen Chapman (R) took on Sidewinders Martin Lawes (C), Peter Ward (D) and John Paul (A).

The handicaps gave Crosscourts starts ranging from 15-17 and the hosts took the first battle in three sets, however Ward and Paul levelled for Sidewinders with a 21-20, 21-20 win over White and Chapman. Rutledge and White then defeated Lawes and Ward 21-20 in the third, before Lawes and Paul again levelled the tie 6-21, 21-18, 21-17 over White and Chapman.

The next two battles went to the hosts in three and two sets respectively, before Lawes and Ward kept Sidewinders in contention with another 21-20, 21-20 win over White and Chapman.

Rutledge and White (+16) sealed what had been an unexpectedly close contest with a 21-19, 21-11 defeat of Lawes and Paul.

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Meanwhile Deltas made up for the disappointment of crashing out of the doubles at the first hurdle with a comfortable 5-1 win over Backhanders in the handicap singles.

Eric Dolden kept his nose in front to take the single win from evens for the hosts against Phil Mole in straight, but Mole (+13) later pipped Rod Goffin 21-19 in the third. Meanwhile Jay Gardner and Tom Baldock-Yaxley made the most of their average +13 start as they did not drop a set. The Deltas are likely to prove a handful for the Betas when they meet in next week's quarter-final.

In the first division the Special line-up of Jonathan Care, Hugh Rout and John Short hosted Alpha's Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and John Vaughan (playing up from Delta).

Elliott levelled the opener from two down against Care and then recovered from 2-6 to win the fifth 11-8. Care went on to take a brace with two five-set wins, including a good recovery following a poor third set in his 10-12, 11-5, 1-11, 11-5, 11-7 win over Vaughan.

Short also took a fine four-set win over Vaughan - the president started to improve as the match went on, but was unable to recover from a two-set deficit as he went down in four. Short also took a set from Elliott, but other than that and one set dropped in the doubles it was straight sets for the Alphas who won the night 7-3.

In the second division, Betas Simon Halliday, Edna Stone and Matt Robinson hosted the Aces team of Clive Smith, Geoff Long and Anne Armitage (playing up).

Smith had two chances to force a decider in the opener, but Halliday closed out his win 12-10 in the fourth. Armitage needed five chances to take the second set and saved two set-points along the way, while Halliday needed five to take the fourth as he won a tense battle 11-7, 12-14, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9.

Stone also won a topsy turvy battle with Armitage - possibly the key coming in the second when she saved set-point and took the last three points of the set. Armitage changed her bat in the third when realising she was using Long's by mistake and a late surge saw her recover from 0-3 to take the fourth - but it was the Beta who won 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7.

Stone also defeated Long in three and her fast serves took a set from Smith - the Cromer player taking Ace's only point with an entertaining win in four. Robinson was efficient and effective throughout as he won his three singles in straight and he teamed up with Halliday for a 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-3 win over Smith and Long to complete the Betas' 9-1 win.

Shark's Nigel Hayward-Surry, Keith Register and Phil Baker defeated a Crosscourt team that was down to two players 9-1, however Alan Rutledge played a blinder to defeat Register 11-7, 11-5, 11-9. The doubles went to Sharks by the strange score of 11-1, 11-7, 19-17.

The players of the week are Tom Baldock Yaxley, Jay Gardner, Dennis Elliott, Matt Robinson, Alan Rutledge and the Handicap Committee.


Handicap Singles Cup round one: Backhanders 1, Delta 5.

Handicap Doubles Cup round one: Crosscourts 5, Sidewinders 3.

First Division: Specials 3, Alpha 7.

Second Division: Betas 9, Aces 1; Sharks 9, Crosscourts 1.