Sidewinders into final

IN the first semi-final of the North Norfolk Table tennis League KO Doubles Cup, Sidewinders Peter Ward, Martin Lawes and John Paul took on Alpha's Dennis Elliott, Mary Sawyer and Dave Johns.

IN the first semi-final of the North Norfolk Table tennis League KO Doubles Cup, Sidewinders Peter Ward, Martin Lawes and John Paul took on Alpha's Dennis Elliott, Mary Sawyer and Dave Johns.

It was a closer match than many would have predicted.

The best partnership was Elliott and Johns who took a maximum - including a five-set victory over Ward and Paul - but the teams could not be separated as 1-1 became 2-2, then 3-3 and 4-4. In the decisive battle Ward and Paul booked Sidewinders place in their second final this season with a four-set win over Sawyer and Johns. In the final they will face the winners of Backhanders or Sharks.

The same Sidewinders trio were also in first division action away to Dolphins where each of the home team of Steve Nicholls, Scott Wallace and Steve Hudson picked up a single win. Lawes was taken the distance by Wallace, who made an emphatic recovery from two down against Ward to win the fifth 11-1. Maximums from Lawes and Paul - now on 103 consecutive North Norfolk single wins - saw Sidewinders to a 7-3 win.

At Cromer, six battles went the distance as Backhanders narrowly defeated Cobras 6-4. Teucer Wilson lost out to Cobra James Baldock-Yaxley in straight before going down in five to both Alex Spragg and Adam Brown.

Rod Goffin and Steve Thompson both defeated Baldock-Yaxley in five-setters. The doubles, won by Cobras, also went to five while Goffin defeated Spragg 5-11, 11-9, 18-16, 8-11, 11-7.

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Second division leaders Hunnybell hosted Beta as Colin Humphreys, David Thompson and John Hancock (junior) took on Chris Johnson, Simon Halliday and Philip Stone. Thompson was unlucky, losing two battles in four and a five-setter to Halliday. Johnson and Stone had straight sets wins in the doubles over Humphreys and Thompson.

It was the closest Hunnybell had been pushed all season, however their victory was never really in doubt with Humphreys and Hancock dominating in their 6-4 win.

Deltas Phil Mole, Thomas Baldock-Yaxley and Jay Gardiner had a 7-3 win over Aces with Baldock-Yaxley defeating Eric Dolden in four. All three of Gardiner's matches went the distance as he defeated Dolden and Ron Povey before losing to Clive Smith.

Seals Ray Amo, Ron Millett and Chris Marshall hosted Crosscourters Alan Rutledge, Peter Tristan, Neil White and Maureen Chapman. Rutledge forced a decider from two down in the opener, but a 5-2 lead steered Amo to victory. Rutledge went on to take the visitors only points with a brace.

Seals' 8-2 win included a win in five for Marshall over Tristan and a brace for Millett in his first league appearance.

Four games went the distance in the derby between Aces and Crosscourts which ended as a draw although it was very nearly Crosscourts' first win of the season with Smith and Dolden winning the last doubles 5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-0.

The Handicap Cups draws have thrown up some interesting clashes most notably for Crosscourts who face the ultimate handicap test against second division leaders Hunnybell in the singles and first division leaders Sidewinders in the doubles.

Players of the week: Dennis Elliott, Martin Lawes, Colin Humphries, Jay Gardiner, Tom Baldock-Yaxley, Ray Amo, Alan Rutledge and Ron Millett.

Results. Knockout Doubles Cup semi-final: Sidewinders 5, Alpha 4.

First Division: Dolphins 3, Sidewinders 7; Backhanders 6, Cobras 4.

Second Division: Hunnybell 6, Beta 4; Delta 7, Aces 3; Seals 8, Crosscourts 2; Crosscourts 5, Aces 5.

Handicap Singles Cup first round draw: Specials v Sharks, Sidewinders bye,Backhanders v Delta, Beta bye, Hunnybell v Crosscourts, Dolphins v Cobras, Seals v Aces, Alpha bye. Matches to be played week commencing January 28.

Handicap Doubles Cup first round draw: Delta v Sharks, Crosscourts v Sidewinders, Specials bye Beta bye, Backhanders v Aces, Alpha bye, Hunnybell v Seals, Dolphins v Cobras.