Gresham’s into semis without playing a tie

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The quarter-finals of the Knockout Doubles Cup were due to have taken centre stage.

But Delta won their tie played earlier and player shortages forced Dolphins and Sharks to concede their ties with Gresham's School and Goblins respectively. That meant the School have reached the semi-finals without hitting a ball in the competition courtesy of two walkovers.

Only one fixture was left – a cracker as Specials battled Outlaws at Gimingham Village Hall.

The hosts were represented by John Paul, Martin Lawes and Ray Howe while Outlaws were represented by Jamie Craig, Colin Humphries and the returning John Hancock (Jnr).

The opener saw a five-set win for Paul and Howe over Craig and Hancock before Hancock and Humphries levelled in straight.

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The pattern of a home win followed by the visitors levelling continued until 3-3 with two four-set encounters shared, a straight sets victory for Paul and Howe and Humphreys and Hancock defeating Paul and Lawes 1-11, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 13-11.

The sequence was broken as Craig and Humphries moved Outlaws one win from the semis with a four-set win over Lawes and Howe. But Paul and Lawes kept Specials in the contest with a win in four against Craig and Hancock.

The last match went to a deciding set as Paul and Howe defeated Humphries and Hancock 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9 to complete a tight 5-4 win for Specials.

The Gimingham team were also involved in a catch-up match in the league – Hugh Rout taking the place of Lawes for an away match against Pirates David Thompson, Mark Fairhurst and Stan Munn.

Fairhurst took Rout the distance and Munn took a set from Howe, but that was as good as it got for the hosts as Specials raced to a 10-0 win.

An intriguing derby in the first division pitted Delta's John Vaughan, Tom Baldock-Yaxley and Andy Beane against Cobras James Baldock-Yaxley, Adam Brown and Alex Spragg.

That meant a first-ever League meeting between the two brothers – James winning a hard hitting battle 12-10, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5.

James had fought back from two sets and 2-6 down to win in five against Vaughan – saving five match points including from 7-10 in the fourth during his 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 12-10 victory.

He went on to complete his maximum in four against Beane. However those three points were all the Cobras could manage as Delta ran out 7-3 winners, Vaughan changing his game to come back from two sets down against Brown in style – the rest a mixture of three and four-set tussles.

At Trunch, Barracudas Derek Philpott, Mike Toye and Rex Parfitt brought the second division up to date by hosting Goblins John Miller and Jonathan and Simeon Care.

Philpott and Miller shared their first two sets before Philpott's serve at 10-10 in the third hit the edge on his side and went backwards to give Miller a set-point chance which he took with an edge on the identical spot.

Philpott fought back to force a decider but Miller took the fifth at 14-12.

Philpott took the only point for the hosts in four over Simeon Care, the Goblin improving to win from two sets down to edge out Parfitt 12-10 in the fifth.

A straight-sets maximum from Jonathan Care helped Goblins to a 9-1 win.

The division is now a match ahead as a game from January was brought forward.

Backhanders Teucer Wilson, Rod Goffin and Whil De Neve visited Echoes Phil Mole, Stan Baldock and Charlie Usher.

Wilson admitted his attack was a disaster in the opener while his opponent Mole was attacking well, but the Backhander found a way to win in five.

Mole fell in five to Goffin but picked up a single against De Neve in straight. Backhanders won 9-1 although Usher played well to take a set from Goffin.

This week's players of the week are John Paul, James Baldock-Yaxley, Simeon Care and Charlie Usher

Some of the teams this season are a bit short on players and are struggling to complete fixtures.

Could you help out and fancy a game or two? All standards are welcome – give Chairman Chris Pooley a call on 01692 651000 (days) or 650738 (nights) and he will put you in touch with a club local to you.

A reminder that all levies for this season should have been paid by the end of October and now must be paid by this Saturday, December 4.

Results. Knockout Doubles Cup quarter-final: Specials 5, Outlaws 4.

First Division: Delta 7, Cobras 3; Pirates 0, Specials 10.

Second Division: Echoes 1, Backhanders 9; Barracudas 1, Goblins 9.

Knockout Doubles Cup semi-final draw: Gresham's School v Specials; Delta v Goblins.