Table tennis titles decided

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueThe 21st and final week of league activity saw Sidewinders and Hunnybell emphatically win the first and second division league titles respectively.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

The 21st and final week of league activity saw Sidewinders and Hunnybell emphatically win the first and second division league titles respectively.

In the first division, with both teams still having games later in the week to catch up on, Sidewinders came into their final meeting with Alpha knowing that just four points would secure the league crown.

Martin Lawes, Peter Ward and John Paul lined up for Sidewinders against Alpha regulars Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Mary Sawyer.

Lawes' spin serves brought him back from 1-6 in the third as he closed out the opener over Elliott 11-9 11-8 11-9.

Johns levelled with a win in straight over Ward, although he needed four and then three chances to take the first two sets. Sawyer's variation of pace and short serves often create problems for Paul, but overall the Sidewinder was too powerful as he won in four.

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Elliott had two set-points at 10-8 in the first, but he foul-served on the second before handing Ward the set with another service error. Elliott was to fight back from two sets down, but a 7-0 start in the fifth for Ward was to prove vital.

It was then Sawyer's turn to make a recovery from two sets down as her hard hitting started to overcome the formidable defence of Lawes, but the Sidewinder hung on for an 11-6 win in the fifth which officially secured the league crown.

Paul had to save a total of four set-points in his straight sets defeat of Johns before Sawyer pulled one back with a win in three over Ward. Paul took the first from Elliott in a repeat of the finals from the Championships. Elliott was unable to convert two set-points in the second but positive play took the third set before Paul won through 11-6 13-11 9-11 11-9.

Two five setters concluded the night - Lawes defeating Johns 11-13 11-9 11-13 11-7 11-7 and the new North Norfolk champions Paul and Lawes tested at the start of their 11-7 10-12 2-11 11-2 11-3 doubles win over Elliott and Johns - as Sidewinders won 8-2.

That left some loose ends to be tied up - Sidewinders won their final match 8-2 away to Backhanders with Eric Dolden taking a set from John Paul. Alpha went 7-0 up against Backhanders to cement their position as league runners-up with Sawyer and Johns winning in five against Rod Goffin and Eric Dolden respectively but the visitors took the last three points of the night.

In the doubles Elliott and Johns led 7-1 in both the final two sets, but Goffin and Teucer Wilson won through 10-12 7-11 11-6 12-10 12-10.

The final two games in the division saw two draws for the Specials with the team of John Miller, Ray Howe and Hugh Rout sharing the honours with Alpha, and Jonathan Care and John Short joining Howe to take part in a late-night thriller with Cobras. James Baldock-Yaxley's battles all went the distance as he took a brace, but he fell to Short, and Brown won from two down to Care.

Hunnybell topping the second division was practically a foregone conclusion but they still had three matches to play and with half the team injured Ian Darricott, Colin Humphries and Stan Munn were left to wrap up the season.

First they played Beta in what was likely to be the final match at the Hunnybell pub - the table tennis room is going to be converted into a restaurant, so the plan is to move into the village hall next season.

Simon Halliday had chances to take the opening two sets, but Darricott won 16-14 13-11 11-1. Chris Johnson recovered from two down to defeat Munn, while Halliday won a battle of spin and wit against the Hunnybell captain in four.

Philip Stone took Humphries the distance and defeated Munn in straight, but the doubles saw a win for Darricott and Humphries in four over Johnson and Stone to conclude Hunnybell's 7-3 win.

A two-man Hunnybell team went on to defeat Aces 6-4 and their victorious season concluded in style, as Hindringham was used as a one-off venue for their 10-0 whitewash of Seals.

Seals were also in action against Sharks where an in-form Mike Toye defeated Ray Amo in five to take Seals only point.

Beta and Delta ended their league campaigns on a high, both defeating Crosscourts 10-0.

Sidewinders win the first division by 33 points, Hunnybell the second by 26.

Hunnybell and Sharks will be promoted to the first division next season, and only the inclusion of new teams in the league may save Dolphins and Cobras from the drop.

There are still four very interesting cup finals to be played out.

Players of the Week: Teucer Wilson and Rod Goffin, Eric Dolden, John Miller, James Baldock-Yaxley and Adam Brown, Ian Darricott, Colin Humphries, John Walker, Neil White, Jay Gardner and Tom Baldock-Yaxley, Mike Toye and Dennis Elliott.