Specials make flying start on tables

The Specials have got their defence of the Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

first division off to a flying start with two 9-1 victories – one against an Outlaws team struggling to find personnel.

At Hunworth, Colin Humphries was joined by Andy Woods and Barry Evans – both playing up from Poachers, to battle the Specials trio of John Paul, Martin Lawes and Ray Howe. Woods took the solitary win for Outlaws with a four set win against Howe and also ran Paul close in a couple of sets – the Specials winning 14-12, 11-5, 11-13, 11-1.

Five days later Hugh Rout took Paul's place in the Specials team as they hosted Dolphin's Mike Toye (playing up) and the Steves, Nicholls and Hudson.

The defending champions were pushed closer this time with Howe defying injury to win from two down against Nichols, the doubles also going the distance and four other wins coming in four sets, while Hudson took the point for the visitors in four against Howe.

The Alpha trio of Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Mary Sawyer faced Delta yet again. Things started well with Elliott's topspin denying a couple of chances John Vaughan had as the Alpha won in straight, but Morton levelled with a very good tactically thought out five set win against Johns. Andy Beane reeled back Sawyer from a set down to win in four, before Elliott was too strong for Morton.

The next three battles went Delta's way with Beane winning a tight five setter against Johns and Sawyer losing out to Vaughan and Morton – but the 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 19-17 score shows how close that latter contest was.

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Elliott completed his maximum in four over Beane, but Vaughan came back from 6-10 in the fourth to secure Delta the overall match with a 13-15, 11-7, 11-3, 12-10 defeat of Johns. Alpha took some consolation with a doubles win - but another week, another defeat as Delta won 6-4.

There were more epic battles in the Cobras versus Pirates match at North Walsham as James Baldock-Yaxley, Alex Spragg and Adam Brown hosted Mark Fairhurst, Andy Marsh and David Thompson.

A lucky edge decided Fairhurst's 12-10, 3-11, 9-11, 12-10, 15-13 win over Baldock-Yaxley but he proved it wasn't a fluke by following with a five set win against Brown. Spragg beat Fairhurst in four, but fell to Marsh in five. Braces from each of the Cobra trio plus an 11-3, 11-6, 16-18, 14-12 win in the doubles saw them maintain their good form with a 7-3 match win.

In the second division, the Beta line-up of Chris Johnson, Simon Halliday and David Beane took on the Gresham School team of Roy Lau, Ian Darricott and Ray Sin with the experience of Darricott seeing him to a maximum. Lau played well to beat Johnson in straight, but could not get the hang of Halliday's spin with the Beta also defeating Sin in straight. Beane defeated Sin 12-10 in the fourth, before the Gresham's player edged out Johnson 14-12 in a five-set thriller.

And talking of five set thrillers, Beane defeated Lau 11-13, 9-11, 19-17, 7-11, 12-10 in a match 120 points long, just eight behind the record. Johnson and Beane won the doubles in straight against Lau and Sin to end the match as a draw, the second for the school in as many weeks.

Elsewhere in the second division and after narrowly losing out on promotion last season, the Backhanders' team of Teucer Wilson, Rod Goffin and Whil De Neve (playing up) started their campaign with an 8-2 win over Echoes, with De Neve taking a maximum.

For Echoes, Phil Mole took a brace, Paul Price picked up a couple of sets and league debutant Charlie Usher took De Neve to four. Finally Seal's Ray Amo, Matt Hudson and Chris Marshall defeated Crosscourter's Clive Smith, Eric Dolden and Anne Armitage 9-1.

Armitage defeated Marshall in straight, but the Seal found his rhythm in a four-set win against Smith and a fast paced five-set victory against Dolden. Hudson and Marshall looked impressive as they took maximums.