Big day for Norwich as two teams qualify for Wilmott Cup national finals

Norwich's finest, from left: Chris Cockburn, Andy Hawes, Neil Charles and Tony Zeqiri. Picture: Chri

Norwich's finest, from left: Chris Cockburn, Andy Hawes, Neil Charles and Tony Zeqiri. Picture: Chris Cockburn - Credit: Archant

Two Norwich teams travelled to Corby Smash Table Tennis Centre to represent the city in the Wilmott Cup.

The Norwich A team consisted of Wensum duo Neil Charles and Tony Zeqiri, whilst in the B team was Foxwood's Andy Hawes and Chris Cockburn.

The A team faced Luton and Kettering, whilst the B had to play Leicester and Cambridge.

The day started off exceptionally well for Norwich as Charles and Zeqiri secured a convincing 5-0 victory over Luton, and Hawes and Cockburn beat Leicester 5-0 in a match closer than the score suggests.

Cockburn saved several match points before beating the Leicester number one 16-14 in the deciding game.

In the second round of matches, both teams found the going slightly tougher.

The A team went 1-0 down before Zeqiri put in a superb performance to beat the Kettering number two and then paired up with Charles to take the crucial doubles.

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Charles then won his final singles to make it 3-1, securing a spot in the national finals for Norwich A. The final score was 3-2 to Norwich A, who have now qualified two years running.

The B team also started off 1-0 behind as Hawes put up a good fight against the Cambridge number one before going down 3-1. Cockburn got them back on track to make it 1-1 and then combined with Hawes to win the doubles, making it 2-1

Cockburn then lost the next singles, levelling the score at 2-2 and it was up to Hawes to win the decider.

Having missed out last season by losing the crucial match 3-2 to Watford, Hawes was determined to expel the demons and send the B team through.

And he did exactly that, winning 3-0 with a solid performance, taking the match for Norwich and sending the B team into the national finals.

It was a sensational day for Norwich, with all players winning three out of four singles and two out of two doubles matches.

And it means Norwich will have two teams at this year's Wilmott Cup national finals, with only eight teams qualifying in total.

The finals will be held on Saturday June 9.

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