Star Paving North Norfolk Table Tennis League Handicap Doubles Cup latest

The first round of the Star Paving Services North Norfolk League Handicap Doubles Cup got under way this week – but there were nearly as many walkovers as matches played.

Outlaws have withdrawn from both cup competitions, meaning that their opponents in the doubles, Crosscourts, were the first to receive a bye. Also advancing to the quarter-finals are NWSCC after player illness saw Specials pull out while a Backhanders team down to two men were forced to concede to NWSCE.

At Trunch, Sharks Keith Register (G), Sean Grimes (H) and Chris Marshall (H) hosted NWSCA's Bev Baldock-Yaxley (L), Andy Beane (B) and Tom Baldock-Yaxley (C). With the handicaps level in the first battle, the opener started on scratch and saw the Baldock-Yaxleys defeat Register and Marshall 21-16 in the third – however a 12 point start saw Grimes and Marshall pull the tie level after defeating Beane and Tom Baldock-Yaxley in straight.

The story of the next two battles was almost identical as Sharks had a four point start in both, dropped the first set in each before pulling their act together to win in three and hence move the hosts 3-1 ahead. Another game on an even start followed and saw Register and Marshall beat Bev Baldock-Yaxley and Beane in three to put Sharks in a commanding position, before Register and Grimes (+12) sealed the 5-1 win in two sets against Beane and Tom Baldock-Yaxley.

Gresham's School's Hubert Cheng (A), Adam Partridge (Q) and Henry Yeung (Q) hosted NWSCB's Dennis Elliott (E), Dave Johns (F) and Simon Halliday (F). Cheng has made a big impression during his first term at the school, but without having played enough games to be given a handicap was forced to play on an A. The handicaps of the players in the doubles are averaged – this saw three of the games involving Cheng give the school an eight point start and they won two of these battles – including one on a sudden death golden point at 20-20 in the third as Cheng and Partridge won that vital point against Elliott and Johns.

Partridge and Yeung had a 14 start for the two times in the match they paired up and won one in two and one in three sets. Cheng and Partridge (+6) then completed the 5-1 win in straight against Johns and Halliday.

The final match of the week took place at Hunworth as Poachers Alan Rutledge (I), Barry Evans (I) and Andy Woods (H) hosted NWSCD's Charlie Usher (H), Philip Stone (H) and Mary Sawyer (G). With the handicaps so close, Poachers only had a two point start for each of the first four battles – with NWSCD opening up a 2-0 lead without dropping a set. The next two battles however went the distance – Rutledge and Evans edging out Usher and Stone 21-18 in the third on their fourth match-point before Usher and Sawyer also needed four match-points to defeat Evans and Woods. The fifth battle saw Usher and Stone edge home against Rutledge and Woods before Sawyer and Stone completed the 5-1 victory.

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