Playing catch-up on tables

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTHE Outlaws trio of north Norfolk champion John Hancock (Jnr), Jamie Craig and Colin Humphries were one of the teams playing catch-up in the first division of the league this week.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

THE Outlaws trio of north Norfolk champion John Hancock (Jnr), Jamie Craig and Colin Humphries were one of the teams playing catch-up in the first division of the league this week.

But the dropped points in an 8-2 victory over Beta and a couple of 6-4 wins against Alpha may have cost them dear.

Mary Sawyer was on fire for Alpha, beating Craig and Humphries, while Beta's Matt Robinson also took a brace against the pair. Then it was the contest against Specials' Martin Lawes and the Johns Batchford and Paul.

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Craig looped well to take the opener at Gimingham against Batchford in four tight sets. Hancock took a maximum, controlling on both wings in four over Batchford, playing a dead spin game to defeat Lawes in four also, plus a 13-11, 11-7, 11-3 win against Paul.

Intelligent play saw Lawes take a comfortable brace and Paul beat Humphries in straight. Outlaws led 4-3 before the final three battles produced a remarkable climax to the evening.

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Paul slowed down to stop Craig attacking in the fourth set, levelling with an 11-3, 11-13, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3 victory, before Batchford won an excellent contest with Humphries 14-12, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9. With Specials now leading 5-4, a doubles win for Batchford and Paul would give them the match and they took the first two sets 15-13, 11-8 - but Outlaws needed this for a draw and Humphries and Hancock took the next two sets 11-7, 11-9.

Outlaws led the deciding set but Batchford and Paul came back to take the set 11-8 and give Specials a vital 6-4 win and bonus points.

At the bottom of the table, Seals and Beta will be relegated pending next season's format and the teams finished their campaigns with Alpha beating Seals 9-1, the same score by which Beta lost to Dolphins (Simon Halliday with a five-set win over Steve Nichols). Cobras are safe and beat Dolphins 6-4, but lost 3-7 to Sharks in a match which saw James Baldock-Yaxley defeat Keith Register 9-11, 20-18, 11-4, 11-8 but lose his maximum to Phil Baker from two sets up.

Delta are second division champions after Crosscourts conceded their match.

The real battle is between Pirates and Backhanders for the second promotion spot. Backhanders slipped to a 6-4 loss to a two man Gresham School team.

Rod Goffin took the visitors only non-walkover point 11-2, 4-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 against Ian Darricott while Alan Ponder defeated Teucer Wilson 3-11, 11-8, 17-19, 11-3, 11-4. Pirates' quintet of David Thompson, David Lake, Andy Marsh, Mark Fairhurst and Stan Munn have moved onto equal points with Backhanders, following 7-3 and 10-0 wins against Goblins and Poachers. Poachers beat Barracudas 7-3 and Echoes whitewashed Aces. Barracudas never got going in their handicap semi-final with Goblins who recorded yet another 5-0 win.

The handicap singles semi between Specials' Martin Lawes, Hugh Rout and Ray Howe and Ace's Clive Smith, Eric Dolden and Anne Armitage was closer, six deciding sets. Specials won 6-3 and will play either Gresham's School or Goblins in the final.

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