Table tennis ace tops 100 consecutive wins

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueOUTLAWS' John Hancock (Jnr) has become the second player within the space of a couple of years to record 100 consecutive North Norfolk singles wins.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

OUTLAWS' John Hancock (Jnr) has become the second player within the space of a couple of years to record 100 consecutive North Norfolk singles wins.

The landmark was reached during the semi-finals of the Knockout Singles Cup as Dolphins Terry Copland, Steve Nichols and Steve Hudson hosted Outlaws Colin Humphries, Jamie Craig and Hancock.

Copland hurt his knee at three match points up in the fourth set of the opener, which Humphries won in five.

Craig's forehand defeated Nichol's backhand in four before Hancock's 99th win came as he dropped few points against Hudson. Nichols won in five over Humphries before Hancock's century was completed with an 11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9 defeat of Copland.

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And with Hudson seeing off Craig in straight, Hancock's 101st straight win was required to complete Outlaws' 5-2 win - his spin-filled but controlled defeat of Nichols a story similar to many of his preceding century of matches.

An eventful week in the first division saw something of an upset as Sharks Keith Register, Peter Betts and Phil Baker defeated Alphas Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Mary Sawyer 8-2.

Top spin defensive returns from Register subdued Elliott's opening attack in four, before Betts was much too consistent for Johns, and Baker's fast returns undid Sawyer in four.

Elliott took a single in three against Betts but Register's pace proved too hot for Sawyer to handle. Baker won from a set down against Johns, before a steady Betts overcame a miss-firing Sawyer.

Baker won an open game with Elliott 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 14-12 and then it was the turn of Register to complete his maximum with a four-set win over Johns.

The Alpha males restored some pride in the doubles, but the win keeps Sharks second in the division.

Cobras v Specials always throws up some epic clashes and the latest chapter between the teams of James Baldock-Yaxley, Adam Brown and Alex Spragg and North Norfolk champion John Batchford, Martin Lawes and Ray Howe did not disappoint - least of all in the opener which Batchford took against Baldock-Yaxley 11-4, 17-19,

11-8, 9-11, 11-7.

Batchford was also taken the distance by Brown and lost in four to Spragg, who also defeated Howe in five.

Baldock-Yaxley took a single against Howe, but the Special responded with a five-set win against Brown.

The final singles featured one of the great comebacks as Baldock-Yaxley battled Lawes, who had won both his earlier singles in four sets. The opening two sets ebbed and flowed but Baldock-Yaxley went two sets and 5-0 up before succumbing in five sets, squandering eight match points along the way - three at 10-7 in the third, four at 10-6 in the fourth and a missed smash on his final chance at 13-12 in the same set.

Lawes dominated the final set of his great escape, winning the joint second longest match of the season 10-12, 9-11, 12-10, 16-14, 11-5.

Ironically, the duo then had to face each other again straight away - this time in the doubles with Baldock-Yaxley partnered by Spragg. But Lawes and Batchford again winning from two sets down to take the match 7-3.

There was better news for Beta however as the team of Simon Halliday, Jay Gardner and Philip Stone celebrated their first win of the season against Seals John Barron, Ray Amo and Mike Toye.

Halliday and Stone both dropped just the one set to Toye, although Stone needed eight match-points to get past Barron. Like Stone, Gardner edged out Barron 15-13 in the third while Halliday and Stone took the doubles against Amo and Toye in five to complete an 8-2 win.

The Deltas were also having a much better time of things in the second division away to Goblins, with one highlight Jack Morton's win in five against Peter Ward.

Even the appearance of Chris Pooley and his interchanging coloured balls in the doubles could not stop Deltas' promotion charge, who raced to a 10-0 whitewash.

So what of their closest rivals? It was nearly a full house for Backhanders, but Barracudas Derek Philpott saved match-points at 8-10 down in the fourth against Chris Marshall - his win in five the visitor's only point.

Elsewhere, Pirates David Thompson, Andy Marsh and Barry Evans hosted a new-look Echoes team, featuring Edna Stone and Stan Baldock who have both transferred from Delta. Phil Mole took a brace for the visitors, but a Marsh maximum secured an 8-2 win for the hosts.

Elsewhere, Aces' woes continue as Poachers stormed to a 9-1 win - Andy Wood defeating Eric Dolden 16-14,

7-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5, Clive Smith taking Aces' point against Jon Cheyette in four while Alan Rutledge was unbeaten.

The first drawn match in the division occurred as Gresham School and Crosscourts could not be separated - Alex Lam completing his maximum in five against Whil De Neve.

Players of the week: An incredible week, and making an impression were Phil Baker, Keith Register, Simon Halliday, Jack Morton, Andy Marsh, Alex Lam, comeback king Martin Lawes and John Hancock Jnr.