Outlaws shoot to the top

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTWO wins in five days for Outlaws Colin Humphries, Jamie Craig and John Hancock (Jnr) sees the team to the top of the first division.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

TWO wins in five days for Outlaws Colin Humphries, Jamie Craig and John Hancock (Jnr) sees the team to the top of the first division.

First the trio hosted the Cobras represented by three players all playing up - Phil Mole, Andy Beane and Stan Baldock. Beane defeated Craig in five before losing out 16-14 in the fourth to Humphries, but Outlaws took the remaining games in straight sets during their 9-1 win.

Next it was the turn of the Betas to host the Outlaws with Humphries edging out Simon Halliday in five in the opener. Philip Stone won a pivotal third set on his fourth chance against Craig, with the Outlaw making service errors on two of his three set-points.

And despite destroying the Beta in the fourth set, Craig served into the net on match-point as Stone won 6-11, 12-10,

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17-15, 1-11, 11-8.

Hancock top-spinned his way past Ivan Hewitt before Humphries hit big forehands to defeat Stone 11-0 in the fourth. Hancock was in control on both wings as Halliday only picked up eight points, before Craig beat Hewitt in four.

Some good backhands helped Stone take the first from Hancock, but the Outlaw controlled the pace thereafter to take his 84th consecutive singles win. Humphries edged Hewitt by hitting more in the decider, with Craig then defeating Halliday in straight.

Hancock and Humphries won an entertaining doubles in three over Hewitt and Chris Johnson to complete another 9-1 win for Outlaws.

Other leading teams in the top division are starting to struggle as the Specials trio of Ray Howe, Jonathan Care and Hugh Rout were beaten 7-3 by Sharks, for whom Peter Betts and Phil Baker both took maximums.

Aggressive play from Keith Register, who had earlier lost in five to Howe and three to Rout, saw him combat the

fast-blocking of Care to win in five. Rout and Howe took the doubles over Register and Betts in four.

Meanwhile Alpha's Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Hewitt (playing up) were held to a draw by Dolphins at Trunch. All of John's games went the distance as he defeated Terry Copland and Andrew Tuddenham but he lost out to Steve Hudson. Elliott took a maximum, but together with Johns lost the doubles in four as Copland and Hudson sealed the draw.

Seals Mike Toye, Ray Amo and Rex Parfitt (playing up) visited Cobras for whom James Baldock-Yaxley and Alex Spragg both took maximums. Adam Brown lost to Toye in five and Amo in four but took a single plus a share of a doubles win with Baldock-Yaxley as Cobras won 8-2.

A key early clash in the second division saw Backhanders' Murray Shanahan, Rod Goffin and Chris Marshall host Delta with John Vaughan taking a maximum for the visitors. Tom Baldock-Yaxley took a brace, including a five set win against Shanahan but Goffin used his bat to good effect on key points. Vaughan and Bev Baldock-Yaxley won the doubles 13-11 in the fourth over Shanahan and Goffin as Delta closed out a 6-4 win that keeps them top of the division.

At Hunworth the visiting Echoes team of Phil Mole and Andy and David Beane beat Poachers 8-2. Andy Woods won in five against David, but lost in five to father Andy who took a maximum. For the hosts Jon Cheyette beat Mole in four.

Gresham's School picked up their first win in the league with a 6-4 defeat of Barracudas. A maximum from Ian Darricott supported good displays by two debutants - Adam Smith taking a brace with wins against Rod Hill and Derek Philpott, while Tom Howe had a two sets lead before going down in five to Matthew Hudson.

Goblins Chris Pooley, Peter Ward and Simeon Care defeated Aces Clive Smith, Eric Dolden and Ron Povey 6-4. Ward took a maximum while there were mixed fortunes for Care who recovered from 1-6 in the fourth while trailing by two sets to one against Povey to win the final two 13-11,

11-3 but lost from two sets, 5-0 to Smith.

Players of the week: Andy Beane, John Hancock (Jnr), Phil Baker, Peter Betts, James Baldock-Yaxley, Tom Baldock-Yaxley, Adam Smith and Simeon Care.