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Beane takes silverware as league rewards the excellence of its players

PUBLISHED: 10:37 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:55 27 February 2018

Richard Morley Memorial Trophy players, from left,back row: Paul Arthurs, James Austen, Steve Smith, James Skilleter. Front: Alex McRobie, Andy Broughton, Winner Andy Beane, President Bob King, Sophie Gurton. Picture: James Ashworth

Richard Morley Memorial Trophy players, from left,back row: Paul Arthurs, James Austen, Steve Smith, James Skilleter. Front: Alex McRobie, Andy Broughton, Winner Andy Beane, President Bob King, Sophie Gurton. Picture: James Ashworth

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The Norwich Table Tennis League held its annual competition in memory of former player Richard Morley, where league players who have shown particular commitment and excellent attitude are rewarded with an invitation to compete for the trophy.

Richard Morley Memorial Trophy winner Andy Beane. Picture: James AshworthRichard Morley Memorial Trophy winner Andy Beane. Picture: James Ashworth

The trophy is decided between the winners of two round robin groups.

The first group consisted of Paul Arthurs, James Skilleter, Andy Broughton and Sophie Gurton.

Broughton started well, using a tactical, pushing game to edge past the attacking prowess of Gurton and Arthurs.

Arthurs was then defeated by Skilleter’s chopping defence in three tough sets.

Richard Morley Memorial Trophy runner-up Andy Broughton. Picture: James AshworthRichard Morley Memorial Trophy runner-up Andy Broughton. Picture: James Ashworth

Skilleter next faced Gurton; seeming to fish Gurton’s loops off the floor time and again, he took the match in a third-set deuce.

A tight match between Broughton and Skilleter decided the group – Skilleter dominated many of the rallies but Broughton came up with big shots at crucial moments to take the match.

The second group welcomed holder Alex McRobie, Steve Smith, James Austen and Andy Beane.

McRobie’s defence got off to a good start, his slick forehand cruising past Smith, and overcoming Austen in a battle of fierce attacking shots.

Paul Arthurs taking on James Skilleter in the Richard Morley Memorial Trophy. Picture: James AshworthPaul Arthurs taking on James Skilleter in the Richard Morley Memorial Trophy. Picture: James Ashworth

Beane started the night against Smith, and after a succession of tiring rallies Beane’s loop was just too strong for Smith’s defensive game. Despite some excellent attacking play, Austen then lost to Smith, which set up the decider between McRobie and Beane. After a confident start the game became cagey, and it took a series of backhand drives from Beane to break the deadlock and take the match.

The final started slowly, early exchanges dominated by tentative pushing.

Broughton seemed more at home in these rallies and carved out a lead, controlling the ball around the table.

However, Beane began to work his attacking game into the match, using his serve to set up forehand loops. As the match wore on Broughton had little answer to Beane’s attacking play and Beane took the trophy, a worthy winner on the night.

It was an excellent evening of table tennis, with all players involved a credit to the league.

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