Sidewinders in knockout form

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTHE second cup final of the season was the Knockout Singles between Sidewinders' John Batchford, Paul Warner and Martin Lawes and Special's Jonathan Care, Hugh Rout and Ray Howe.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

THE second cup final of the season was the Knockout Singles between Sidewinders' John Batchford, Paul Warner and Martin Lawes and Special's Jonathan Care, Hugh Rout and Ray Howe. As both teams came from the same club there was no need for neutral ground, the final being played on their home turf at Gimingham Village Hall with John Short in the umpire's chair for the duration.

North Norfolk champion Batchford had three set-points in the opener, before serving into the net at 10-11 to hand Care the first set. Batchford took the next two sets, but was always struggling to cope with the defence of Care and it was the Special who won in five sets - Care taking his third match-point to clinch the decider 12-10. Rout had a few moments of brilliance, but Warner always had the upper hand as he levelled in straight.

Spin serves and a slice of luck put Lawes in the driving seat as he came from a set down to win against Howe and Warner put Sidewinders 3-1 ahead with a win in straight against Care.

Of the first 16 points between Batchford and Howe, 14 were won by the server (with one point lost by each) and it was Batchford who edged the first set 11-9. Howe took his third set point to level and then clinched the third set on his second chance before simply out-hitting Batchford to win in four. Howe won the last set 11-1. A dour battle between Lawes and Rout only sparked into life when a subtle change from Lawes saw him recover from two sets to one down and take the last two sets for the loss of seven points.

Warner then completed Sidewinders' treble as his straight sets win over Howe completed their 5-2 win in the singles final.

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The final league game was played this week as Beta's Matt Robinson, Simon Halliday, Jay Gardner and Philip Stone hosted Pirate's David Thompson, John Hancock (Snr) and Stan Munn. With Pirates certain of third place and Beta coming in level on points with Seals, they only needed to win one of the 10 games to clinch the second division and although Thompson had a 4-0 lead in the first set and a 3-0 start in the third, Robinson made certain of that point for Beta in the opening game as he won 11-9,

11-9, 11-8.

Gardner had match-point at 10-9 in the fifth against Hancock before strangely nine consecutive points were won against server from deuce. However, it was Hancock who won 16-14 and took a maximum with wins in four against both Halliday and Robinson.

The Beta duo both took braces - Halliday going the distance with both Thompson and Munn.

The doubles finally got under way at 11.11pm but 8-0 and 9-0 starts in the first two sets helped Robinson and Stone defeat Munn and Thompson in just nine minutes to end the night as a draw and hence win the division by six points.

Knockout Singles Cup Final: Sidewinders 5, Specials 2. Care bt Batchford 13-11, 3-11, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10, Warner bt Rout 11-7, 11-5, 11-3, Lawes bt Howe 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9, Warner bt Care 11-8, 11-6, 11-6, Howe bt Batchford

9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1, Lawes bt Rout 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-2 and Warner bt Howe 11-5, 11-9, 11-5.

Second Division: Beta 5, Pirates 5.

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