Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis round-up
In the first division of the Star Paving Services North Norfolk League this week, NWSCA's Andy Beane, Tom Baldock-Yaxley and John Batchford hosted Sharks' Keith Register, Matthew Hudson and Ray Amo.
Amo was playing up from second division Barracudas, but took a good win in four sets against Batchford. Register also beat Batchford in four but after Baldock-Yaxley won the first set 14-12 against Hudson he was largely untroubled as he took a maximum. Beane also took a maximum for NWSCA – including an entertaining 14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 win over Hudson – as the hosts won 8-2.
The following day Amo was back in second division action as he joined Mike Toye for the trip to Gresham's School to face the trio of Hubert Cheng, Henry Yeung and Adam Partridge. Cheng was in scintillating form in the singles as a great all-round display saw him defeat Amo for the loss of just nine points and Toye for the loss of only five. The Barracudas were a man down but managed to dig out a draw as Amo's spin and Toye's hitting won their remaining singles and they teamed up for a doubles win in straight against Cheng and Yeung. And that draw could be vital in the race for the final promotion spot as Barracudas stay in that all important second position.
Poachers Barry Evans, Alan Rutledge and Andy Woods rejoined the promotion race with a 10-0 win away to NWSCE, for whom Edna Stone got the closest to taking a point, serving off at 10-11 down in the fifth to Rutledge. And NWSCC are also in contention, although the team of Joe Kirkup, Chris Johnson and Toby Usher went down 1-9 to Goblins, who have already wrapped up the second division title. The trio of John Miller, Peter Ward and Hugh Rout won eight of the singles in straight – Johnson saving six match-points at 4-10 down in the third to Miller to take the set 12-10, before the hitting of the Goblin saw him won 11-9 in the fourth. But NWSCC saved the best for last with a battling performance in the doubles seeing Kirkup and Usher beating Miller and Rout 10-12, 19-17, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9. Barracudas, Poachers and NWSCC need to be wary of Pirates who have three games in hand and could leapfrog them all.
The Goblins were also in action in the semi-final of the Knockout Doubles Cup with Jonathan Care taking the place of Rout to face Outlaws Colin Humphries, John Hancock and Steve Patterson.
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The Goblins put up a spirited display - at 1-0 down in the tie, Ward and Care took the first two sets against Hancock and Patterson, before a glancing edge towards the end of the fourth set helped to turn the tide Outlaws' way as they battled back for a win in five. Ward and Care later won in four against Humphries and Patterson but it was a win in four for Hancock and Patterson against Miller and Ward that concluded Outlaw's 5-1 win.
The same Outlaws trio also hosted NWSCD's Mary Sawyer, Charlie Usher and Paul Price in the first division. Usher hit and served intelligently to pick up a very good win in four sets over Humphries and Sawyer also out-hit the Outlaw in four. However maximums plus a doubles win for Hancock and Patterson saw Outlaws to an 8-2 win.
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Also in the first division, Specials John Paul, Martin Lawes and Ray Howe hosted NWSCB's John Vaughan, Dennis Elliott and Simon Halliday. The night featured four five-set encounters which were split – Lawe's defence just losing out to Elliott, but his spin defeating Vaughan 12-10 in the decider, while Vaughan won a hard fought battle against Howe but Howe and Paul came through in the doubles.
A maximum from Paul in straight sets helped Specials to an 8-2 win.
Finally the final quarter-final in the Handicap Doubles Cup went the distance as Crosscourts' John Welsh, Clive Smith and Eric Dolden came back from 3-4 down to edge out Shark's 5-4. The deciding battle saw Welsh and Dolden defeat Sean Grimes and Chris Marshall (+2) 21-20, 21-16.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
This week's star players are Ray Amo, Hubert Cheng, Edna Stone, Jonathan Care, John Hancock and John Paul – plus there was some great umpiring from Peter Ward!