Former champions beaten

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTHE latest round of league fixtures saw reigning league champions Sidewinders take on the last team to be league champions before them - Alpha.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

THE latest round of league fixtures saw reigning league champions Sidewinders take on the last team to be league champions before them - Alpha.

That was some three seasons ago, and the Alpha team have had a shaky start to this season. Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Ivan Hewitt visited the Sidewinders John Batchford, Martin Lawes and Paul Warner.

Hewitt levelled from two sets down to Batchford in the opener but the Sidewinder won the deciding fifth set 11-5. Elliott beat Lawes 12-10 8-11 11-6 12-10 but that was to be the only one of the nine singles games that went the visitors' way with Batchford unbeaten and outstanding top spins and powerful play also seeing Warner to a maximum.

Johns picked up a set in each of his three games and teamed with Hewitt for a doubles win as they won 12-10 in the fifth against the pairing of Lawes and Warner.

Sidewinders won the match 8-2.

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There was more success for the home side at Gimingham the next night as Specials' John Short, Ray Howe and Jonathan Care (playing up) defeated Backhanders' Murray Shanahan, Chris Marshall and Will De Neve 9-1.

Short took a while to adjust to Shanahan's anti-spin rubber on his backhand but became more attacking and hit good shots on both wings to win the opener in four. Care could not cope with the anti-spin of Shanahan for two sets before gifting the match to the Backhander in the third after making three mistakes at 9-7 up.

Marshall and De Neve produced a number of spectacular winners all night but also made too many mistakes, while Howe's backspin helped him complete his maximum in three against Shanahan. Short and Howe dropped the second set 12-10 to Shanahan and Marshall despite having recovered from 1-9 but still won in four to complete Specials' first win of the season.

In the second division the Seals team have found themselves short in number, but there is a never-ending supply of Barracudas who are able to play up for them. Seals gained clear water in the league table with their 7-3 win.

Former Sidewinders Peter Ward and Jon Care joined forces with Carl Hamilton as a strong Goblins visited the Barracudas. During the 5-5 draw both teams won exactly 274 points each.

It was a busy time for Poachers' Alan Rutledge, Barry Evans, Maureen Chapman and Jon Cheyette with two matches for the team in two nights. First they visited Delta for whom Phil Mole and Tom Baldock-Yaxley both took maximums. Rutledge defeated Jamie Carter in five and won the doubles with Evans in five over Mole and Stan Baldock but Carter picked up a brace as Delta won 8-2.

The Poachers were away again the next night, to Aces. A close night saw Rutledge and Cheyette defeat Clive Smith and Eric Dolden 14-12 in the fifth set of the doubles to draw the match.

An outstanding doubles cup fixture saw Dolphins (Scott Wallace, Steve Hudson and Steve Nicholls) defeat Seals (Toye, Tuddenham and Ray Amo) 5-3 with four games going the distance. Dolphins will host Alpha in the quarter-finals.

Players of the week: Maximum men Paul Warner, Ray Howe, Andrew Tuddenham, Peter Betts, Steve Nichols and Tom Baldock-Yaxley.

Knock-out Doubles Cup, round one: Seals 3, Dolphins 5.

First Division: Sidewinders 8, Alpha 2; Specials 9, Backhanders 1.

Second Division: Seals 7, Pirates 3; Delta 8, Poachers 2; Barracudas 5, Goblins 5; Aces 5, Poachers 5.