Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League report
The Star Paving Services North Norfolk Championships may be over for another year but a busy week has seen a mixture of League and Cup matches.
With the League starting to build to a climax, Outlaws Colin Humphries, John Hancock and Steve Patterson hosted NWSCB's Dennis Elliott, John Vaughan and Dave Johns at Hunworth in the first division. Elliott and Vaughan both took braces, while Johns was unlucky not to take a single, edged out 11-9 in the fifth by Humphries.
Despite being on painkillers and struggling with a back injury Hancock took a maximum – his returns seeing him edge out Elliott 12-10 in the fourth.
Hancock chose not to put his back through anymore strain in the doubles which saw Elliott and Vaughan come back from 5-8 down in the fifth to Humphries and Patterson – their 11-9 win in that set securing the draw.
The same NWSCB trio were also in action in a derby as they beat NWSCD 9-1 – although Philip Stone hit a purple patch to defeat Johns for the loss of just 10 points. Elsewhere in the top flight, Howard Lupton made his debut for Specials as the defending league champions won 10-0 away to Sharks.
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Backhanders Teucer Wilson, Rod Goffin and Paul Warner won 6-4 against NWSCA's John Batchford, Andy Beane and Simon Halliday (playing up) with Warner taking a maximum but Wilson being denied by Beane, who won 11-9 in the fifth.
In the second division, Poachers' dismal run of form continued – the lower of the trio of teams from Hunworth won eight out of their first 11 league matches this season and looked to be in promotion contention, but have only won one out of their last six games, including this week's 7-3 derby loss to Pirates.
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Andy Marsh and Jack Bramwell both took maximums for Pirates including Bramwell's 15-17, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 win against Barry Evans. The win has helped take Pirates into promotion contention as games in hand could see them overtake NWSCC and Barracudas for that all important runners-up spot. And those two aforementioned teams had a crunch fixture against each other. With the match poised at 4-4, Mike Toye defeated Chris Johnson in five, before maximum man Chris Gould (who had been taken the distance by Joe Kirkup) teamed up with Sean Grimes for a doubles win that closed out a 6-4 win for the Barracudas.
Elsewhere Hubert Cheng continued to impress as Gresham's School won 7-3 against Crosscourts and Goblins – who are already assured of winning the division – won 9-1 at home to NWSCE, with Bev Baldock-Yaxley taking the point for the visitors with a win in four sets over Hugh Rout.
Goblins made the return journey to play NWSCE in what turned out to be the most dramatic of all this week's games played in the Handicap Cups as Stan Baldock, Naomi Myhill and Edna Stone hosted Peter Ward, Jonathan Care and John Miller in the quarter-finals of the doubles.
The handicaps gave the hosts 13 point starts in every game, but at 4-4 it came down to a deciding match between Stone and Baldock and Miller and Care. There was a delay in the first set as Miller took what looked to be a very nasty tumble, during which he hit his head on a bench. However he was able to proceed and the match progressed to a deciding set where the Goblins saved half a dozen match-points before Miller missed a smash at 19-20 to hand NWSCE a 5-4 victory. NWSCD have had a good run to reach the semi-finals of both cups, although have had trouble crossing the finishing line in each of their matches. First the team of Mary Sawyer, Charlie Usher and Philip Stone led their first round if the singles away at Crosscourts 3-0 before coming through 5-3 (5-4 after dead rubber).
Paul Price took the place of Sawyer in both quarter-finals, NWSCD leading a doubles derby 4-0, before a golden point play-off ended their 5-1 win over NWSCC. NWSCD then beat Specials in the singles, although Philip Stone wasted nine match-points at 20-12 in the second against Ray Howe, before winning the sudden death point to take the set 21-20 and close out the 5-1 win.
Finally Gresham's School won the first round of the singles 5-3 against Barracudas, before losing out in the quarters as a maximum from Beane helped NWSCA to a win. There was consolation for the School in the doubles however as a 5-1 win in the quarter-final against Barracudas saw them reach the semi.