Gresham’s retain league’s Knock-out Singles trophy


- Credit: PA

The first of this season's four cup finals in the Star Paving Services North Norfolk League was the first of two meetings between Gresham's School A and NWSCA.

The Knockout Singles Cup final was played at Trunch Village Hall with Peter Ward as umpire. Howard Lupton was unable to play for North Walsham so John Vaughan was drafted in as a replacement at short notice to join Andy Beane and Tom Baldock-Yaxley.

The impressive skill of young Jonas Lee showed as he beat Beane 11-7, 11-9, 11-7. Vaughan was then pitted against reigning six times North Norfolk champion Robin Thaxter who always had the edge in an entertaining game.

Another good start was then made by Gresham's as Haken Bennell took the first from Baldock-Yaxley 11-7, but the NWSCA player fought back in the second to win 11-8.

The third was level at 5-5 when a shot from Baldock-Yaxley was replayed due to the uncertainty of an edge. Baldock-Yaxley only got one more point as Bennell took the set 11-6.

A close and entertaining fourth set saw Baldock-Yaxley save a match-point at 9-10 and then y forced a deciding set by taking it 15-13. The deciding fifth again started very evenly but Bennell came through 11-5 to put Gresham's 3-0 up in the final.

On the table next was the battle between Thaxter and Beane. Thaxter's steady play and powerful hitting saw him in control as he registered a straight sets win to move Gresham's one win from a successful cup defence.

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Lee and Baldock-Yaxley contested the fifth battle with abundant skill from both players.

Good hitting, rallies, mistakes – the contest had it all, but Lee led the third 7-0 and secured the cup with an 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 win.

The night ended with an 'exhibition' dead rubber as Bennell beat Vaughan in five to end the night in an enjoyable, light-hearted contest.

The second semi-final of the Handicap Singles Cup saw Poachers' David Foster (5), Chris Fuller (18) and Andy Marsh (14) beat Gresham's School A's Robin Thaxter (0), Colin Humphries (25) and Haken Bennell (5) 5-4.

Poachers will meet Aylsham Enterprise in the showpiece match.

The date of this year's annual and trophy presentation night has been put back a week and will now take place on Wednesday May 31 at the Lighthouse Inn, Walcott.