Double trouble on tables

In the Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League the attention this week turned to doubles, as the first round of the Handicap Doubles Cup was completed.

In the Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League the attention this week turned to doubles, as the first round of the Handicap Doubles Cup was completed.

Plus the second semi-final of the Knockout Doubles Cup took place as Dolphins' Terry Copland, Peter Betts and Steve Hudson hosted Outlaws John Hancock (Junior), Colin Humphries and Stubby Dams.

The pairing of Dams and Hancock won their first two games both in four sets, while two five-set victories moved Outlaws 4-0 up. Copland and Hudson then pulled one back with a straight sets win over Dams and Humphries, but Humphries and Hancock sealed Outlaws' 5-1 win with a five-setter against Copland and Betts to book their place in the final against Sidewinders.

The Aces team of Eric Dolden, Clive Smith and Geoff Long started their defence of the Handicap Doubles by hosting Beta's Matt Robinson, Philip Stone and Jay Gardner, with the handicaps giving Aces starts of either 10 or 12 through the tie.

Robinson and Gardner won the first eight points of the opener before going down to Dolden and Long 21-13, 21-15. Stone and Gardner then squandered three match-points at 20-18 in the second, as Smith and Long won 20-21, 21-20, 21-6.

The Betas won two more sets but after just over an hour's play, Aces progressed with a 5-0 victory. Crosscourts lost to Aces in the final last year, but this time the team of Peter Tristan, Anne Armitage and Will De Neve faced an away trip to North Walsham against Delta's Tom Baldock-Yaxley, Jack Morton and Edna Stone.

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The handicaps never gave a team more than six points and in the end it was Delta who were that little bit more consistent as they ran out 5-2 winners.

The first round draw produced two Seaflames derbies, but only one match as Dolphins conceded to Barracudas due to player shortages.

That left Sharks to play Seals. With Seals only losing three of their 16 doubles games in the league, and Sharks only winning four out of 13, you could see the result coming - Seal's Mike Toye, Peter Betts and Ray Amo progressing with a 6-0 win. Another derby took place at North Walsham as Cobra's James Baldock-Yaxley, Alex Spragg and Adam Brown (the handicaps giving the Cobras starts between 0 and 11) defeated Alpha's Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Ivan Hewitt 5-2. Four games went to a deciding set, including the two that went the Alpha's way.

Backhanders' Teucer Wilson, Rod Goffin and Chris Marshall hosted Pirates' David Thompson, Stan Munn and John Hancock (Senior) with the handicaps either giving Pirates a two-point start or the games starting from scratch.

Thompson and Hancock won the opener in three, but the turning point came in the third set of the second battle as Goffin and Marshall went from 10-10 against Munn and Hancock to lead 19-11 and took the set 21-12.

While no-one was picked for man of the match on the basis 'We were all poor', it was Backhanders who won 5-1 for the loss of just one more set. Goblins' Peter Ward, Jonathan and Simeon Care took on Specials' Ray Howe, John Miller and Hugh Rout with the handicaps in Goblins' favour, ranging from 0 to 11.

Specials found it difficult to attack as Ward and Jonathan Care kept it tight and when in trouble, defended well. Simeon Care made a nervous start, making several mistakes against the backspin of Howe in the opener, but after returning a few in the next game his nerves vanished and he played well for the rest of the night, with Goblins at one point winning nine consecutive sets during their 5-1 win.

Finally, the inclusion of Chris Pooley in the Sidewinders' line-up failed to stop Poachers' Barry Evans, John Cheyette and Andy Woods winning 5-1.

The latest darts and quiz night at North Walsham Sports Centre raised �132 for Comic Relief. From a field of 30, Jack Morton won the quiz, while Mary Sawyer became the new darts champion after winning a tie-break against Robin Sidle. The game-show themed night included questions that had been especially set by former game-show hosts Jim Bowen, Gordon Burns and Roy Walker.

Players of the Week: John Hancock Junior (just that higher class to influence many points), Tom Baldock-Yaxley and Jack Morton (the Deltas closing out their win in style), Mike Toye (fairly steady with some devastating hitting to win vital points), James Baldock-Yaxley (great play), Simeon Care (hardly missed a kill all evening) and Chris Pooley (any reason at all!)

Results: Knock-Out Doubles Cup Semi-Final: Dolphins 1, Outlaws 5.

Handicap Doubles Cup First Round: Cobras 5, Alpha 2; Delta 5, Crosscourts 2; Sharks 0, Seals 6; Backhanders 5, Pirates 1; Goblins 5, Specials 1; Aces 5, Beta 0; Poachers 5, Sidewinders 1.

Handicap Doubles Cup Quarter-Final Draw: Delta v Aces, Poachers v Seals, Barracudas v Cobras, Backhanders v Goblins.