Table-top battles in cup

IN the first division and following two cup ties, Sidewinders met Alphas for the third time in the space of a month in the North Norfolk Table Tennis League.

IN the first division and following two cup ties, Sidewinders met Alphas for the third time in the space of a month in the North Norfolk Table Tennis League.

John Paul, Peter Ward and Paul Warner hosted Dennis Elliott, Dave Johns and Mary Sawyer.

It was another close contest and the players all seemed to fare better on one side of the table than the other.

Warner got off to a flyer in the opener against Elliott, winning the first seven points and dropping just four points in each of the first two sets. The Sidewinder had four match points at 10-6 in the third, and a fifth at 11-10 but Elliott took the set 13-11.

The Alpha saved two more match-points at 8-10 in the fourth and had one set-point, but Warner converted his 10th match-point to seal the win 15-13.

Next, although Ward took the last four points from 7-9 in the second, Johns levelled with a win in four. Sawyer played an interesting game of variation of length, but Paul won through in straight.

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Two five-setters followed - Ward winning from two sets down against Elliott in a contest that was to prove crucial and Sawyer defeating Warner 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7.

Paul gave Sidewinders a 4-2 lead with a routine win over Johns, before Sawyer defeated Ward straight.

Paul took the first two sets from Elliott, before the Alpha opened up a 6-1 lead in the third. Paul clawed his way back to match-point at 10-9 but Elliott took the first set he had won from his opponent this season 12-10. However, Paul went up a gear to take the fourth 11-2.

The second set was the critical one in the meeting between Warner and Johns - the Sidewinder needing six set-points during his 3-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5 win.

Although Alpha lost the doubles semi-final last week to Sidewinders 4-5, Elliott and Johns took a maximum and they continued their good form this week with an 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 win over Warner and Ward. If the Alpha duo team up during April's championship, they could have a decent crack at the open doubles title - however the night belonged to Sidewinders who won 6-4.

Special's Ray Howe, Hough Rout and John Short defeated Cobras 7-3 with the latter two players taking maximums, including an 11-6, 19-17, 5-11, 11-8 win for Rout over James Baldock-Yaxley.

Howe took a single in four over Adam Brown, but fell in five to Alex Spragg. Like the Alphas, Cobras have been in terrific doubles form of late and this week saw a win in five for Baldock-Yaxley and Brown over Howe and Rout.

In the second division the Aces trio of Eric Dolden, Ron Povey and Geoff Long hosted the Hunnybell quartet of Colin Humphreys, John Hancock (senior), David Thompson and Stan Munn.

Thompson took a brace including a win in five over Povey. Dolden recovered from two sets down against Thompson, before losing from two up against Hancock. Povey defeated Hancock in four, but five straight-set wins were included in Hunnybell's 8-2 match win.

There was a close derby between Sharks' Phil Baker, Nigel Hayward-Surry and Keith Register and Seals' Ray Amo, John Barron and Ron Millett.

Baker came back from 3-9 to seal his win 17-15 in the fourth against Amo, before Hayward-Surry defeated Barron 14-12 in the fifth.

Good top-spin from Barron saw him to a 13-15, 11-6, 16-14, 12-10 win over Register before Hayward-Surry played steady and took advantage of a loss of confidence from Millett to win from two down.

Two more five-setters followed - Amo lucky against Register and Baker winning a marvellous game featuring plenty of top-spin attacking play and attacking defence against Barron that sealed the win for the Sharks who won 6-4.

There is one error on the recently- issued Handicap Cup supplements which occurs on the draw for the second round of the Handicap Singles Cup - Alpha and Sidewinders appear in the wrong place and simply need to be swapped over. Any queries contact the fixture or press officers.

The players of the week are Mary Sawyer, John Short, David Thompson and Phil Baker.

Results. First Division: Sidewinders 6, Alpha 4; Cobras 3, Specials 7.

Second Division: Aces 2, Hunnybell 8; Sharks 6, Seals 4.