Table tennis cups start

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTHE sometimes controversial, often unpredictable and always entertaining Handicap Cups got under way with the first round of the singles.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

THE sometimes controversial, often unpredictable and always entertaining Handicap Cups got under way with the first round of the singles.

It is the third year in the current format with both the previous finals going down to a deciding set - last year Derek Philpott won a sudden-death one-point play-off on a fluke and he was back in action alongside his colleagues Ron Millett and Rod Hill as Seals hosted 2005 champions Aces.

Philpott won a tight opener, but had advantage of serve on the final point of his 21-19, 21-20 win over Povey (plus nine). The next two contests were on even handicaps with Clive Smith saving three match points against Millett to come back from 18-20 in the second before winning the third set 21-11 and Geoff Long taking the first from Hill 21-11.

Hill then realised he was holding the bat the wrong way round and the right colour on his forehand made a substantial difference as he took the next two sets 21-4, 21-7.

The next two contests saw Millett and Philpott recover from five and eight point deficits against Smith and Long respectively to win in straight and put Seals 4-1 up in the tie.

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Smith levelled at 5-5 in both legs against Hill (plus four) as he pulled one back for Aces in straight. Long (plus four) took the first from Millett 21-19, but good use of spin and smash helped the Seals to get back in contention.

Millett levelled at 8-8 in the decider and took the set 21-11 to book the Seals a quarter-final against Alpha with a 5-2 match win.

Also through to the quarter-finals are the Sharks team of Nigel Hayward-Surry, John Barron (now cup-tied) and Keith Register who defeated Specials 5-2.

Register was caught up in several sets, but then upped his game to win - he took a maximum including a 21-20 in the third (from evens) against Ray Howe.

The other Trunch-based team are out as Cobras defeated Dolphins 5-0. Three of the five battles went to three sets, but the Walsham team made fewer errors.

James Baldock-Yaxley defended well but also smashed winners to take a terrific battle with Steve Hudson. Alex Spragg was also on form and Adam Brown (plus two) played through a wrist injury to defeat Scott Wallace 21-10, 21-10.

There was another 5-0 result as bottom of the second division Crosscourts defeated divisional leaders Hunnybell.

Alan Rutledge (plus 13) defeated Colin Humphries 21-17, 21-17, as did Peter Tristan (plus 15) in a game of three sections 21-6, 20-21, 21-5, while Maureen Chapman (plus 12) sealed the win with a 21-10, 21-2 win over John Hancock Senior.

Crosscourts were also involved in a league match against Delta with Rutledge weathering an earlier storm before taking advantage of a loss of rhythm to defeat Jay Gardiner in four. That was the only point the hosts took however with Gardiner defeating Tristan 14-12 in the fifth and John Vaughan and Phil Mole taking maximums.

Players of the week are Ron Millett, Derek Philpott, Keith Register, Maureen Chapman, James Baldock-Yaxley and Jay Gardiner.

Results. Handicaps Singles first round: Seals 5, Aces 2; Hunnybell 0, Crosscourts 5; Specials 2, Sharks 5; Dolpins 0, Cobras 5.

Second Division: Crosscourts 1, Delta 9.

Handicap Single Cup quarter-final draw: Sharks v Sidewinders, Backhanders/Delta v Beta, Crosscourts v Cobras, Seals v Aces.