More sad news for league as season draws to close
Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League
The league has received more sad news with the death of Terry Copland.
Terry, who played in the league over numerous years, lost his battle with throat cancer.
The league's sympathy goes to Freda and the rest of the family. He will be truly missed.
The funeral will take place at Colney Wood, Norwich at 2pm tomorrow (Friday).
An obituary will appear in a future edition of the North Norfolk News.
The league season, overshadowed by four untimely deaths, ended with a final that will be remembered as a classic with umpire Chris Pooley describing the knockout doubles cup final as the best doubles final he has ever umpired.
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Ian Darricott, Alan Ponder and Robin Thaxter lined up for Gresham's School while Delta were represented by Tom Baldock-Yaxley, Andy Beane and Jack Morton, with Gimingham Village Hall hosting the last match of the season. Darricott and Thaxter won a reasonably tight opener against Baldock-Yaxley and Morton in four.
Beane and Morton took the first set of the next battle on their fourth chance as three foul serves cost Ponder and Thaxter dear, but the Gresham's duo hardly missed a ball from then on – strong starts in the next three sets helping them take the School into a 2-0 lead.
Baldock-Yaxley and Beane hit a purple patch to get Delta on the board by defeating Darricott and Ponder in straight, but Baldock-Yaxley and Morton then fell apart in the deciding set as a 5-0 lead saw Ponder and Thaxter move the School 3-1 ahead. Crucially, Baldock-Yaxley and Beane won five points from 1-5 down to take the third set against Darricott and Thaxter and one set all became two sets all.
The fifth set saw Baldock-Yaxley follow a missed smash at 9-9 with brave play to save match-point. Delta won the next point, despite colliding with Beane but another missed smash followed – but Delta hung on for a 13-11 win. And another five-setter followed, a 6-0 start in the decider for Beane and Morton enough to defeat Darricott and Ponder (who had come back from two sets down) and level it at 3-3.
Ponder teamed up with Thaxter next, but tired in the third set to let Baldock-Yaxley and Beane back in, but Ponder was back in form as Gresham's closed out the win in four.
Baldock-Yaxley and Morton then played well to defeat Darricott and Ponder in four. Earlier in the final, Delta were a set away from trailing 1-4 and were now heading to a deciding match where Darricott and Thaxter faced Beane and Morton. Trailing by a set and 4-7, Delta started to catch up but Beane missed a sitter at 6-7.
At that point he hit himself on his leg with his bat with little force but, quite bizarrely, it was enough for the bat to break.
There is never a good time for that to happen, but a set down in a deciding match of a cup final has to be one of the worst. Beane borrowed Baldock-Yaxley's bat to complete the game, but Gresham's School came through 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 to complete a memorable 5-4 victory.
Knockout Doubles Cup Final: Gresham School 5-4 Delta Darricott/Thaxter bt Baldock-Yaxley/Morton 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6; Ponder/Thaxter bt Beane/Morton 12-14, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4; Darricott/Ponder lost to Baldock-Yaxley/Beane 7-11, 4-11, 9-11; Ponder/Thaxter bt Baldock-Yaxley/Morton 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4; Darricott/Thaxter lost to Baldock-Yaxley/Beane 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-13; Darricott/Ponder lost to Beane/Morton 2-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 5-11; Ponder/Thaxter bt Baldock-Yaxley/Beane 11-9, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6; Darricott/Ponder lost to Baldock-Yaxley/Morton 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 9-11; Darricott/Thaxter bt Beane/Morton 11-6, 11-9, 11-4.
n The league is on the hunt for an assistant fixture secretary. Current fixture secretary Chris Pooley will be more than willing to work with, and help train up, any would-be recruits, with the aim of them doing the job full-time after the next couple of seasons. Call him on 01692 651000 (days) or 650738 (evenings).