SFC B take Handicap Cup victory over Wensum G

Andy Watson, Andy Beane, Richard Westgate, Geoff Critten, Simon Halliday, Ed Horton, Pres. Robert Ki

Andy Watson, Andy Beane, Richard Westgate, Geoff Critten, Simon Halliday, Ed Horton, Pres. Robert King, Ben Stone, Matt McMillan. Picture: James Ashworth - Credit: Archant

The Norwich Table Tennis League held the final of the Handicap Cup this week.

The tournament is played alongside the regular season and games are contested with a handicap system, allowing teams of any ability the chance to progress through the rounds.

This year, the final was contested between Andy Beane, Richard Westgate, Simon Halliday and Andy Watson of SFC B and Ben Stone, Ed Horton, Matt McMillan and Geoff Critten representing Wensum G.

Wensum elected to send out Ben Stone for the opening game against SFC's Richard Westgate. Both players won points with attacking play, but Westgate managed to hang in tight rallies and move the Stone around the table to take the game.

SFC raced into a 2-0 lead, Andy Beane's variety proving too much for Ed Horton. Wensum needed to get on the scoreboard and turned to Matt McMillan, facing SFC's Andy Watson. McMillian rose to the challenge excellently; the more Watson fished shots onto the table, the more McMillan hit the white line with power and precision, taking the game in two sets.

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SFC's Simon Halliday looped his way past the tricky Geoff Critten, before Wensum managed to take the doubles. With the superb McMillian making full use of his handicap lead to defeat Westgate, the match was level at 3-3.

In the final stages of the match, Wensum's Horton found his forehand lacking against Halliday, and despite creating openings on his backhand, couldn't stop Halliday dropping heavy topspins onto the table, putting SFC one game away from the match.

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Wensum called on Stone to face SFC's Beane. Stone produced his best table tennis of the night. Beane improved in the second set and with a triumphant roar Stone took the match to a deciding game at 4-4.

SFC's Watson thus faced Wensum's Critten for the trophy. Critten tried to tie up Watson's controlled topspin game with chops and pushes, but Watson managed to find a rhythm, letting fly again and again deep into corners in a nerveless display, taking the trophy for SFC B.

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