Cup win for Sidewinders

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueThe final match of a 31-week season saw Sidewinders lock horns with Hunnybell as the league champions met the winners of the second division in the showpiece Knockout Singles Cup final.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

The final match of a 31-week season saw Sidewinders lock horns with Hunnybell as the league champions met the winners of the second division in the showpiece Knockout Singles Cup final. Sidewinders won 5-4.

Lining up for Sidewinders were Martin Lawes, Peter Ward and four times north Norfolk champion John Paul. John Hancock Junior was still out through injury, so father John Hancock Senior took his place alongside Hunnybell colleagues Colin Humphreys and Ian Darricott. The match took place at Trunch Village Hall with neutral Derek Philpott in the umpire's chair.

The opener saw Humphries defeat Lawes in three sets, however he needed three chances to take the first set, six in the second (winning 13-11 after originally being 10-6 up) and four to close out the match.

Hancock took the first set from Ward and with the help of two service winners, saved three set-points from 7-10 down in the second - however Ward took the next two points and was then in control in his win in four.

With the final poised at 1-1, Paul and Darricott faced each other for the very first time in any league.

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Darricott took the first set 11-9, Paul the second also 11-9. Paul then raced through the third 11-4 and there seemed no way back for Darricott. Paul become a little more defensive in the fourth - one rally was over 90 strokes - and it cost him as Darricott levelled the contest by taking the set 11-9.

There was nothing to choose between the players in the fifth as Paul cut back Darricott's slender lead to tie at 8-8. Darricott gained the upper hand and had two match-points at 10-8. Paul was in danger of losing a north Norfolk singles match for the first time since February 15, 2006. But he hit form to win the next four points and the match. Sidewinders led 2-1.

Humphries levelled affairs with a win in three over Ward, who squanderedg two set-points in the third and then foul-served at 10-10.

The next three games were all straight sets affairs - Darricott defeating both Lawes and Ward with Paul's win over Hancock sandwiched inbetween.

Next Paul took on Humphries. With Hunnybell leading 4-3, Paul had to win to keep Sidewinders in contention, and he did so in three comfortable sets.

That set up a deciding match between Lawes and Hancock, Sidewinder Lawes winning 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 to secure the cup 5-4.

Although Paul and Darricott's clash was the undoubted highlight, maybe this final was something of an appetiser of fascinating rivalries to come next season. Following Hunnybell's promotion, the teams will meet in the first division. With Hancock Jnr back to the mix, Sidewinders will be under a lot more pressure to retain their titles.

Knockout Singles Cup final, Sidewinders 5, 4 Hunnybell 4.

Humphreys bt Lawes 11-8, 13-11, 12-10, Ward bt Hancock (Snr) 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7, Paul bt Darricott 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, Humphreys bt Ward 11-7, 11-6, 12-10, Darricott bt Lawes 11-9, 11-2, 11-8, Paul bt Hancock (Snr) 11-7, 11-2, 11-8, Darricott bt Ward 11-5, 11-5, 11-8, Paul bt Humphreys 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, Lawes bt Hancock (Snr) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7.

The games and chip night at North Walsham Sports Centre raised £133 for Sport Relief, taking the current total raised so far to over £480.

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