The top four in the Fakenham Table Tennis League were in action against each other this week, writes Chris Fuller.
Leaders Bircham A’s team of Andy Marsh, Aaron Howell and Laura Marsh hosted fourth placed Thorpe Trafalgar (Simon Rayner, Ben Andrews and Archie Rayner). Andy Marsh won the opening game with a tight four leg victory over Simon. Howell then proved to be too strong for Andrews, winning out in three.
Archie got the first point for the away side over Laura in four legs but only after some long rallies. Aaron picked up his second win of the night, after losing the opening leg to Simon he fought back to take the next three.
Game five was tight. Andy Marsh took the first leg 11-4 over Archie Rayner but the next two legs went to deuce with both players winning one each. The fourth leg was just as tight but Marsh won 11-9.
Another four leg game followed between Laura and Andrews with Ben just winning. Howell completed his maximum with a straight sets win over Archie Rayner before Dad Simon did the same against Laura to make the score 5-3.
Andy beat Andrews, and this game also went to four legs with Andy edging it for his maximum. The doubles saw the regular duo of Aaron and Laura taking on Andrews and Archie with another four leg game, which went to the visiting side to give a final result of 6-4.
Third placed Billingford’s side of Pete Fuller, Dave Lake and Tony Wright welcomed second placed Snoring A (David Foster, Steve Damms and Chris Fuller).
The visiting side got off to a good start with Foster winning out in four after losing the first leg against Pete Fuller.
Lake then put in a strong performance against Damms winning out in three to get the home side’s first point.
The next two games went to the visitors in straight legs with Chris Fuller proving too consistent for Wright before Foster played Lake. Both were unbeaten so far in the league but Foster proved too consistent and won in three.
In the battle of the Fullers, Chris took the first leg 11-8 before Pete levelled with the same score but more consistent hitting from Chris enabled him to take the next two legs 11-8, 11-6.
Wright was then up against Damms in a clash of styles.
The heavy chops from the away player were too consistent for Wright to get his attack going with Damms winning in three. Fuller beat Lake in the first leg 11-6, but Lake won the next three. Foster then completed his maximum with a straight legs win over Wright to make the score 6-2 to the visitors. In the final singles Pete Fuller was too consistent for Damms, winning in three legs.
The doubles saw Fuller/ Lake take on the strong pairing of Chris Fuller/ Foster.
This one went all the way to the fifth leg but the visitors won out 11-5 in the fifth for a final score of 3-7 and draw Snoring A level on points at the top with Bircham A.
In the preliminary round of the cup competitions, Eagles’ John Welsh (-16), Jack Bramwell (-20) and Jon Cheyette (-12) took on Thorpe Nelson Mary-Ann Woodhouse (-16, Mick Minns (-8) and Mick Ruffles (-24) in the Handicap Cup (handicaps in brackets).
All the games were played up to 51 with each point counting to the final total. There were some tight matches with Eagles coming out on top by 17 points over the nine matches 269-252.
In the Doubles Cup a strong team from Thorpe Trafalgar of Ben Andrews, Simon and Archie Rayner took on the Conservatives of Pat Johnson, Dennis Chamberlain and Graham Thomas.
Although there were one or two close games, Trafalgar were too good and won 9-0 to progress to the next round.