Wind of change in table tennis cup

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis LeagueThe Handicap Singles Cup was dominated by teams from North Walsham for the majority of the last decade.

Star Paving Services North Norfolk Table Tennis League

The Handicap Singles Cup was dominated by teams from North Walsham for the majority of the last decade. However this week's first round action saw all four of the teams in action from the club, including defending champions Delta, crash out.

It didn't come as much of a surprise for Alpha as the handicaps saw them give away starts between 11 and 17 against the Aces team of Eric Dolden, Geoff Long and Ron Povey.

Three of the battles went to a deciding set however - one won by Dave Johns and two lost by Mary Sawyer, while Dennis Elliott reached 16 points in three sets where he started 17 adrift, but Aces advance with a 5-1 victory.

And with Outlaws Colin Humphries, Jamie Craig and John Hancock (Jnr) defeating Beta 5-2 (Chris Johnson taking a brace for the hosts, but losing to Hancock who won 21 points on the trot from 0-13 in the first set) an intriguing quarter-final will therefore take place as one of the leading teams in the first division will meet bottom of the second.

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It was again a family affair for Delta as Tom, Bev and Stan of the Baldock-Yaxley clan met Dolphin's Steve Nichols, Terry Copland and Steve Hudson.

Tom found himself playing on the same handicap as Nichols and Copland. Although he found the latter too hot to handle, he showed just how much he has improved with wins over both of the Steve's, 21-16, 21-11 from an even start against Nichols and with just a start of +2, 21-6, 21-12 against Hudson. Bev also picked up a win against Hudson, but despite starting on average fourteen points adrift the experience of the Dolphins showed as they knocked out the defending champions 5-3.

Barracuda's Matt Hudson, Rex Parfitt and Derek Philpott hosted Echoe's Jack Wardle and Andy and David Beane.

Hudson (+4) produced good serves at the end to win a tight opener with Andy Beane before David levelled with a 13-21, 21-20, 21-18 win against Parfitt (+12). Philpott used all his experience to beat Wardle (+14) in straight, before Parfitt (+13) stretched Barracudas' lead with a win against two over Andy.

Wardle (+14) held his nerve against Hudson, hitting a winning smash to win the sudden-death 20-20 point in the decider, but a crucial game between two players on the same handicap followed as Philpott counter-blocked David Beane's top-spin to win in two. Parfitt sealed Barracuda's 5-2 win, and Walsham's bad week, as his good angles and deceptive serves saw him to a 21-16, 21-18 win against Wardle (+5).

Specials Ray Howe, Jonathan Care and Hugh Rout hosted Seals Mike Toye, John Barron and Ray Amo.

Despite giving away six points in each of the first four battles, the hosts raced into a 3-0 lead and Care was on the verge on making it 4-0 at a set and 20-19 up against Toye. However the Seal hit two terrific backhands to force a third set. The decider also went to sudden death with Care defending Toye's attack with high lobs, but a horrible edge gave the victory to the Seal.

While on the subject of luck, Amo (+4) took a winner off a ball that hit the middle of the net, travelled along it and then neatly dropped for a ludicrous edge, but it was Howe who won the battle of the Rays in three. Barron (+8) pulled one back in three against Rout, but Care closed proceedings with another deciding set victory against Amo (+4). The 5-2 win means Specials will host the one remaining team from Walsham in the quarters as they will face Cobras.

The Gresham's School team of Roy Lau, Ray Sin and Alex Lam found themselves back in table tennis class against Pirate's Andy Marsh, Stan Munn and David Thompson with the school having starts ranging from 10-15. Marsh took a brace of wins in the deciding set, but good play saw Gresham's to a 5-2 win.

Finally, Goblins Derek Sidway and Peter and Rosie Ward won 7-2 away to Poachers (Barry Evans taking the two) with four deciding set wins in the first half, key to the tie. Three handicap wins out of three this season mean Goblins are one of the teams to watch.

Team secretaries are reminded of the rule that states that all matches must have the agreement of the fixture secretary prior to postponement. All league fixtures must be completed by Thursday, April 8, with all scores delivered to the press officer by Saturday, April 10.

Players Of The Week: Impressive cup performances this week from John Hancock (Jnr), Tom Baldock-Yaxley, Derek Philpott, Jonathan Care and Alex Lam.

Handicap Singles Cup First Round Results: Alpha 1, Aces 5; Beta 2, Outlaws 5; Delta 3, Dolphins 5; Specials 5, Seals 2; Gresham School 5 Pirates 2; Barracudas 5, Echoes 2; Poachers 1, Goblins 5.

Handicap Singles Cup Quarter-Final Draw: Gresham School v Dolphins, Barracudas v Goblins, Specials v Cobras, Aces v Outlaws.