Open singles a fitting finale to Dereham League event

Table Tennis: The Dereham League open singles, which finished this year's annual championships at Swanton Morley, proved a fitting end to the tournament.

It was an exciting match between the holder Chris Durrant and the more seasoned campaigner Paul Brown, who had last won the title in 1996.

The first set looked like a predictable pattern would be established, Chris taking it 11-7. But Paul was undeterred and started to dominate in the second, which he took 11-7. Winning that set inspired him going into the third, where he looked totally focused and in control to go 2-1 up with an 11-4 win.

The fourth set proved a much tighter affair, but Paul kept on his game and nicked it 11-9 to win the title with a 3-1 victory.

Chris was also on the losing end of the open doubles final with partner Paul Pegg where they faced Robin Thaxter and the ever-enthusiastic Howard Lupton. In another close four-setter Thaxter and Lupton ended with an 11-7 win. And just to rub salt in the wounds, Simon Halliday ran out a two-straight 21-17, 21-7, winner against Chris in the handicap final.

The U17s was a repeat of last year's final, where the two brothers in the final, Matt and Phil Denton, aged 14 and 12, showed how much their play had improved since last year.

There was little to choose between them in the first two sets, but they both went to Phil 11-9, 11-8, and with those under his belt he took the third 11-3 to win the match.

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Phil also won the U14s with a three-straight result against Matthew Walker, who is in his first season in the league.

The Division Two final mirrored the open singles with an experience-against-youth match, Paul Elsegood representing the former and Steve Brown, son of Paul, the latter. It proved to be the closest game of the night, Steve taking the first set 11-7, and looking good for the second. But Paul pulled back to take it 12-10, followed by an 11-5 third set. In the fourth, Steve came back to even it 12-10. Experience came good in the fifth though, Paul coming through with an 11-7 win.

A close Division Three final was edged by Colin Humphries, taking the first set 13-11, Simon Halliday replying in the second 11-8, Colin finishing off the next two close sets 11-9, 11-8.

The Vets' final between Nigel Houseago and Robin Thaxter was quite a battle, Nigel taking a 2-1 lead with a 12-10 third set win, but Robin came back to take the final two sets 11-6, 11-6.