Table tennis league focuses on cup

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueTHE quarter-finals of the Handicap Singles Cup took place this week, as Crosscourt's Peter Triston, Will De Neve and Anne Armitage hosted Delta's Jack Morton, Jamie Carter and Tom Baldock-Yaxley.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

THE quarter-finals of the Handicap Singles Cup took place this week, as Crosscourt's Peter Triston, Will De Neve and Anne Armitage hosted Delta's Jack Morton, Jamie Carter and Tom Baldock-Yaxley.

Morton (+4) won the opener for Delta as he took both sets from Triston 21-15, but then six sets later De Neve had taken a brace and Armitage (+6) had defeated Baldock-Yaxley as Crosscourts moved 3-1 ahead. And that became 4-1 as despite Baldock-Yaxley winning 11 points in a row at one stage, Triston came through 21-12 21-19. However the next six sets all went to the visitors, straight set wins for Carter (+2) and Morton (+5) against Armitage and Baldock-Yaxley producing a great effort to defeat De Neve (+8) 21-19 21-20.

The deciding match was between two players on the same handicap and saw Carter defeat Triston 21-19 21-16 - from 1-4 down; the Deltas won 5-4.

At North Walsham, Cobras' James Baldock-Yaxley, Alex Spragg and Adam Brown hosted Specials' John Miller, Hugh Rout and Ray Howe. Baldock-Yaxley excelled in the fast opening attacking game as he defeated Miller (+6) 21-19 21-12 and Spragg (+4) put Cobras 2-0 up with a comfortable 21-7 21-10 victory against Rout.

However, two games later the Specials had levelled , Brown not able to take advantage of his eight point start as Howe won 21-15 21-20 and Miller in front all the way as he won an evenly matched handicapped game in two close sets against Spragg.

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The next game also started on even terms and saw Baldock-Yaxley take the first set 21-19 from Howe. The Cobra then had three match-points (with the sudden death) at 20-18 in the second, but luck helped the Specials edge it 21-20 and Howe chopped away to win 21-16 in the decider as he moved Specials 3-2 up.

Brown (+6) easily levelled with a 21-11 21-9 victory against Rout and Spragg (+6) moved Cobras back ahead as he won both of his sets against Howe 21-14. Miller came back strong from a set down against Brown (+2) as he forced the deciding match, but Baldock-Yaxley ended the evening in style for Cobras against Rout (+2) his 21-11 21-15 win sending them through to the semi-finals.

At Trunch, Seal's Mike Toye, Ray Amo and Peter Betts hosted Beta's Matt Robinson, Simon Halliday and Philip Stone. Robinson won several cheap points on serve against Toye (+4), who was mis-firing at times as the Beta won the opener in straight.

Amo (+4) then took on Halliday, the Seals' hitting was very accurate while the Beta lost a lot on his serves as Amo levelled 21-14 21-15. Betts and Stone started on scratch and were evenly matched for the first two dozen points - the Beta had won their two league meetings this season but this time it was Betts who was much the stronger player as he won 21-17 21-12.

Amo(+6)'s excellent form continued as he defeated Robinson in two sets, before Stone pulled one back for Beta with a 21-14 8-21 21-12 win against Toye (+2). Betts then made the score 4-2 in Seal's favour with a 21-12 21-13 win against Halliday (+2) and then Amo (+6) secured their place in the semis with a 19-21 21-14 21-16 win against Stone.

The two dead rubbers were played out with wins for Betts and Toye against Robinson and Halliday respectively completing Seals' 7-2 win.

The final quarter-final saw Goblin's Chris Pooley, Jonathan and Simeon Care host Barracudas' Rod Hill, Nigel Pegg and John Barron. The opener between Pooley (+6) and Hill was all signature, but errors from Pooley let Hill in to win in three. However with Jonathan Care (+2) outwitting Barron and Simeon smashing his way to victory against both Pegg and Hill, Goblins soon found themselves 3-1 ahead. Pooley (+13) returned well on both wings against Barron to move his team one win from victory and a comfortable 5-1 win for the Goblins had a tense conclusion. Jonathan Care played catch-up well especially in the deciding set as he defeated Pegg (+12) 21-17 18-21 21-20.

There was also another league game this week as Specials hosted an Alpha team who needed to win to claim third place in the first division.

Dennis Elliott took a maximum for the visitors, including a win in five against Rout, and Ivan Hewitt defeated Miller in four, but there was no joy for Dave Johns who lost 13-11 in the fifth against Miller. Rout and Howe won the doubles in four against Elliott and Hewitt to seal Specials' 6-4 win. A win for Specials in the last first division match of the season would see them leapfrog Alpha in fourth and 8-2 or better would see them also pass Sharks in third - that's easier said than done though as it is against Outlaws!

The players of the week are Will De Neve and Tom Baldock-Yaxley (great game from both players), James Baldock-Yaxley (played so well), Ray Amo (reactions), Simeon Care (consistency), Dennis Elliott (maximum) and birthday boy Ray Howe!

Results. Handicap Singles Cup quarter-finals: Cobras 5, Specials 4; Goblins 5, Barracudas 1; Seals 7, Beta 2; Crosscourts 4, Delta 5.

First Division: Specials 6, Alpha 4.

Handicap Singles Cup semi-final draw: Cobras v Goblins, Delta v Seals.