Table tennis season is drawing to a close
The Star Paving Services North Norfolk League has started to build to a climax with the final full week of league activity (there are still half a dozen matches to catch up on plus the climax to the Cups).
NWSCB's Dennis Elliott, John Vaughan and Dave Johns and Backhanders' Teucer Wilson, Rod Goffin and Whil De Neve ended their campaign in the first division with a hard fought battle at the Sports Centre. Elliott kept control at the vital stages to win the opener in four against Wilson, before Vaughan rallied to beat Goffin from two sets down. Good attacking from De Neve saw him to an 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7 win against Johns before some scintillating play from Wilson had all the answers as he defeated Vaughan 11-9, 11-8, 11-7. There was little to choose from as Elliott and De Neve split their first four sets, but a 5-1 lead in the decider proved pivotal for the Walsham player and then Johns won 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-13, 11-6 against Goffin.
Two straight sets battles went the hosts' way as Vaughan and Johns defeated De Neve and Wilson respectively and then Elliott won in four over Goffin. Backhanders won a tremendous doubles in five as NWSCB won the match 7-3.
At Trunch, the Sharks team of Keith Register, Matt Hudson and Mike Toye (playing up) needed one point from their final match to move out of joint bottom place with NWSCD – unfortunately for them they came up against an Outlaws trio in command and control as the team of Steve Patterson, Colin Humphries and John Hancock won 10-0 in a mixture of three and four set encounters to leave the two teams in the relegation zone tied on points.
Toye was also on duty – despite feeling under par – for Barracudas in the second division as he joined team-mates Ray Amo and Chris Gould to host Poachers' Barry Evans, Andy Woods and John Cheyette, with Toye taking a single against Cheyette in five. Evans' spin game and serve proved difficult for the Seaflames clan and he attacked and counter attacked throughout with nice deft touches in general play to take a maximum, dropping just one set to Amo.
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Gould took a brace for the hosts – in five sets against Cheyette plus 12-10 in the fourth against Woods – and partnered Amo for a four sets doubles victory against Woods and Cheyette but with the latter Poacher taking a single and the former a brace, the visitors won a close match 6-4.
NWSCD had two cup games, starting with the semi-final of the Handicap Singles Cup as Charlie Usher, Paul Price and Philip Stone took on NWSCC. With all of NWSCD on the same handicap, NWSCC's Chris Johnson started on +4 for all games, Toby Usher on +2 and Joe Kirkup on +6. Kirkup took a brace for NWSCC with a 21-18, 21-17 win against Stone before coming back from only picking up four points in the first set to defeat Charlie Usher 10-21, 21-16, 21-16.
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Charlie defeated Johnson in straight and Stone won from a set down to Toby Usher. Price saved match-point to defeat Johnson 16-21, 21-20, 21-14 and took a maximum – his 16-21, 21-18, 21-11 defeat of Kirkup confirming NWSCD's place in the final. Had the match gone the distance it would have produced a fascinating deciding encounter between the two Usher brothers. This was played as a dead rubber and produced the best fare of the night with Toby's defence against Charlie's attack producing a fluke winner off what looked an impossible defence shot not once or twice, but thrice.
Mary Sawyer took the place of Usher as NWSCD then took on NWSCA in the quarter-final of the Knockout Singles Cup. The NWSCA team of Andy Beane, Jonathan Batchford and Tom Baldock-Yaxley won 5-1. For NWSCD, Paul Price repeated his four set win over Batchford from last week in the League, Stone took Andy Beane the distance and Sawyer took a set from both Baldock-Yaxley and Batchford.