High-five for Aces

THE Aces team of Geoff Long, Clive Smith and Ron Povey breezed into the semi-finals of the North Norfolk Table Tennis League Handicap Doubles Cup with a 5-0 win over Alpha.

THE Aces team of Geoff Long, Clive Smith and Ron Povey breezed into the semi-finals of the North Norfolk Table Tennis League Handicap Doubles Cup with a 5-0 win over Alpha.

The home team had starts ranging from 9-16 against the visiting trio of Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Stan Baldock (now cup tied) and won without dropping a set. They now host Seals for a place in the final.

There were two derby matches at North Walsham, and in the first division Cobras' James Baldock-Yaxley, Adam Brown and Alex Spragg took on Alphas' Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Mary Sawyer.

A foul serve at 11-11 in the first cost Johns dearly, after Baldock-Yaxley had saved a couple of set-points, and he went on to record a 13-11 11-9 11-5 win. Sawyer had match-point against the Cobra at 10-9 in the third, but Baldock-Yaxley turned defence into attack to win 6-11 5-11 12-10 11-4 11-4.

Spragg and Brown took a set from Sawyer and Johns respectively and Elliott defeated Baldock-Yaxley 14-12 in the fourth, but the rest of the contests were won in straight as the Alphas won the night 8-2.

The match on the adjoining table finished with the same score as Betas' Chris Johnson, Matt Robinson and Philip Stone defeated Deltas' Phil Mole, Jay Gardner and Jamie Carter.

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Strong forehand attack from his new bat and good use of side spin helped Carter take Johnson the distance, but the Beta captain won the opener 11-6 in the fifth.

Stone was two points from victory against Carter at 9-5 in the fifth, but had to survive a late surge from the Delta as he had to recover from 0-4 in the fifth during his 9-11 11-5 11-7 10-12 11-7 win.

Mole took a brace with four and three set wins over Stone and Johnson respectively and had a chance to take Robinson the distance - but the Delta served off at set-point in the fourth and it was those foul serves that hurt Mole badly as he went down in four. Robinson completed his maximum with a four-set win over Gardner and a defeat of Carter in straight.

The top two teams in the second division met for the final time this season as Sharks Nigel Hayward-Surry, Keith Register and Phil Baker hosted a formidable Hunnybell line-up of Colin Humphreys, John Hancock (jnr) and Ian Darricott. Humphries mis-fired on his forehand in the opener as a consistent Hayward-Surry won in three.

That was to be the hosts only win, but they put up a good fight with one highlight being Darricott's 11-8 11-6 10-12 9-11 11-2 win over Hayward-Surry.

Baker paid the price for not taking the opportunity he had to take the third, as Humphries won in four. Hancock took a maximum including an 11-5 12-10 10-12 11-3 win over Register and a 11-5 11-7 15-13 win over Baker and he was once again a class apart in the doubles as he teamed up with Darricott to conclude Hunnybell's 9-1 win.

The first division saw a battle between Special's Jonathan Care, Hugh Rout and John Short and Dolphin's Scott Wallace and Steve and Matthew Hudson.

Wallace took a good and dramatic brace as he defeated both Rout and Short 12-10 in the fifth, while Steve Hudson had an 11-6 8-11 12-10 11-3 win over Rout.

Care took a maximum including a win in four over Wallace and he teamed up with Short to take the doubles with a 5-11 11-8 5-11 11-5 11-8 win over Wallace and Steve Hudson as they concluded a 7-3 win for Specials.

Players of the Week: Matt Robinson, Nigel Hayward-Surry, Scott Wallace and Mary Sawyer.

Entry forms for the North Norfolk Championships must be returned by Saturday, March 29 to Chris Johnson. The draw takes place on the following day. The Championships take place from 2pm at North Walsham Sports Centre on Saturday, April 5, and a late finish is expected.