Table tennis title for Specials

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueA BUSY week saw the final crucial matches in the league plus the final of the Knockout Singles Cup.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

A BUSY week saw the final crucial matches in the league plus the final of the Knockout Singles Cup.

The Dolphins team of Andrew Tuddenham, Mike Toye and Steve Hudson hosted Specials before visiting Outlaws to wrap up proceedings in the first division.

The Specials team of Hugh Rout, Ray Howe and John Batchford knew that a win against the Dolphins would seal the league crown for them, regardless of what happened in the following match.

The Specials took the first six battles to secure the win and the title, however it could have very well

Most Read

been 3-3 instead of 6-0 as Hudson

took both Batchford and Howe the distance and Rout won 13-11 in the fifth against Toye.

Hudson beat Rout in straight and the Dolphins took the doubles but the 8-2 victory was good enough for the Specials team.

Hence the Outlaws' trio of Jamie Craig, John Hancock (Jnr) and Colin Humphries following 9-1 win became slightly irrelevant, although it did serve to take Hancock's string of consecutive singles victories to 123 not out - he is now 20 wins from equalling the record held by John Paul, a record that looks set to fall next season.

The one Dolphins' point went to Toye who saved match points and took the last four points from 8-10 down in the fifth against Humphries.

There was also important business in the second division as Pirate's David Thompson, David Lake and Andy Marsh needed to take one point from Barracuda's Derek Philpott, Jonathan Dempsey and Rex Parfitt to break their tie with Backhanders and secure promotion.

Thompson assured the success in the opener with a win in four against Philpott and Pirates rushed to a 10-0 victory with the only game not won in straight sets being Thompson taken to five by Parfitt.

Outlaws then met Specials in the final of the Knockout Singles Cup with the teams being represented

by the same trios as who were on league duty.

The final took place on neutral ground at Trunch Village Hall with Chris Pooley and John Barron sharing umpiring duties.

Batchford won the opener in three against Craig with the Special stronger on serve and return - a series of service errors cost Craig dear, especially given each set was only won by a couple of points.

The next battle between Hancock and Rout would have been hugely entertaining had it lasted longer, but spectators had to settle for flashes of brilliance in Hancock's master-class as the final was levelled.

The whole final was an entertaining affair with so many different styles of play on display an interesting spectacle was guaranteed in each tussle and in the third one, Howe produced some exceptional defence but Humphries won in five.

Batchford then threw the kitchen sink at Hancock, but the Outlaw quickly pulled the plug and even had time to answer the Village Hall's phone during the match (a wrong number).

With Outlaws 3-1 ahead in the final, Craig dropped the first set to Howe - however the Outlaw took control and dominated from the second set onwards and survived a mini-comeback from his opponent in the fourth set when 4-0 became 6-6 to move his team one win from the Cup.

Humphries survived some scorching play from Rout to seal

the cup, a 5-0 lead in the fifth set proving decisive as Outlaws completed a 5-1 win.

The second semi-final of the Handicap Singles final also took place this week but with players stranded abroad because of the volcanic ash situation, Gresham School had to field a different team than intended.

And so Ian Darricott (A), Alan Ponder (A) and Adam Smith (G) hosted Goblins' Simeon Care (Q), Peter Ward (F) and Rosie Ward (N).

With the Goblins having starts of 17, 10, 11, 17 and 16 this was always going to be something of a mis-match but they played well to win 5-0 in less than three-quarters of an hour.

And Goblins' victory will give their stable-mates the Specials something to scratch their heads about - the two teams will meet in an

all-Gimingham final.