MEMBERS of the Okehampton and District Table Tennis League have been playing out the group stage of their annual handicap cup competition over the last few weeks in the Pretoria Handicap Cup. This sees teams from both divisions competing against each other in randomly drawn groups with the winner of each group progressing to the semi-final.
Each player is given a handicap, based on their performance as at the mid way point of the league matches and has seen games ranging from a level start to a 16 point starting advantage. In a different format to league matches, games are played to 21 and are best of three with each match consisting of seven games including singles and doubles.
Group A saw three division two teams — Moreton- hampstead, Horrabridge A and Horrabridge B against division one’s Anchorage B.
In Moretonhampstead against Horrabridge A the first doubles was won by Horrabridge when Gerald Whitehouse and Gill Northey beat David and James May 22-20, 21-16, 22-20. Brendan Seward beat David May 21-16, 21-16 and Whitehouse beat Jude Shea 21-14-21-18. The next doubles Shea and James May played Seward and Northey, who won 5-21, 22-20, 12-21. Horrabridge won the last two singles to lead 6-0 into the last match. David May saved the whitewash beating Whitehouse 21-18, 21-18 for a 6-1 win for Horrabridge.
Meanwhile, there was a hard fought battle between Horrabridge B and Anchorage B. Matthew Dowie just beat Colin Brooker 21-13 in the third leg to put Horrabridge ahead however not for long after Roger Gilbert levelled against James Emony. Alex Cunningham and Dowie won the doubles against Roger and Jenny Gilbert to make it 2-1 in favour of Horrabridge. However, they could not maintain the lead with Brooker beating Emony. With everything to play for at 2-2, Cunningham put Horrabridge ahead once again, beating Jenny Gilbert. Roger Gilbert beat Dowie to level at 3-3. In a tense deciding doubles, Emony and Cunningham just beat Brooker and Jenny Gilbert 23-21 in the third leg for a 4-3 win to Horrabridge.
In the next group A match, Moretonhampstead were at home to Horrabridge B, where experience won in the end. David May and Richard Underhill won the first doubles against Andrew Frazer and Sue Blatchley, to put Moretonhampstead 1-0 up. David May won his singles against James Emony and James May beat Frazer to go 3-0 up. Horrabridge got one back with Emony and Blatchley beating Underhill and James May 21-18 in the third leg. Blatchley beat Underhill and Emony beat James May to bring it back level at 3-3 going into the final match.
David May was pushed all the way by Frazer just winning 21-18 in the 3rd, ending the night with Moretonhampstead winning 4-3.
Next was Anchorage B against Horrabridge A. Roger Gilbert lost to Crispin Jordan 13-21, 21-9, 13-21 putting Horrabridge ahead. Colin Brooker beat Jill Northey to level at 1-1. Roger and Jenny Gilbert won the doubles to go 2-1 ahead. Jordan won the next against Brooker 22-20, 20-22, 21-16 to make it 2-2. Horrabridge won the next two singles with Blatchley beating Jenny Gilbert and Northey beating Roger Gilbert.
In the last doubles Jordan and Blatchley beat Brooker and Jenny Gilbert 21-19 in the third leg for a 5-2 win for Horrabridge.
In the final round, unfortunately, Anchorage could not raise a team thereby handing Moretonhampstead a 7-0 victory. That left Horrabridge A playing club rivals Horrabridge B with all still to play for. In the first doubles Myles Pinkney and James Emony beat Gill Northey and Sue Blatchley 15-21-21-16-22-20 to put the B side 1-0 up. But before long Northey levelled it beating Mathew Dowie and Brendan Seward beat Pinkney putting the A side 2-1 up. In the last doubles Seward and Blatchley beat Dowie and Emony to make it 3-1. Blatchley then beat Emony and Seward beat Dowie 21-19, 21-11. Pinkney managed to beat Northey in a hard fought 8-21, 21-19, 21-16, making the final score 5-2 in favour of the A side and putting them through to the semi-final.
Group B consisted of North Wyke, Okehampton A and C from division one and Okehampton G from division two. There was a convincing first win for North Wyke against Okehampton C. In the singles, Enrique Cancer Berroya beat Zoe Bennett 21-12, 21-14 and Tom Misselbrook beat Josh Parsons 21-16, 21-17. Berroya and Yushu Zhang won the first doubles 21-18, 21-10 against Parsons and Cameron Brooking putting North Wyke 3-0 up. Bennett saved the whitewash, beating Misselbrook 21-16, 21-1 before North Wyke took the last two singles and remaining doubles for a final 6-1 win.
Meanwhile the experienced Oke A team took on their junior club rivals Oke G. Morgan Holt did well to beat Steve Tyler; Steve Madge soon brought it back beating Tom Chastey. The A side then won the next three singles and Karen Stephenson and Madge won the doubles making it 5-1. Chastey and Will Ash won the last doubles against Tyler and Stephenson, making the final score 5-2 to the A side.
Okehampton A played North Wyke. Karen Stephenson beat Tom Misselbrook and Steve Madge beat Yushu Zhang, putting Oke A 2-0 ahead. Stephenson then beat Zhang; Enrique Cancer Berroya did well to beat Steve Madge 21-16, 21-14, making the score 3-1. Okehampton then won the next two singles before Berroya and Misselbrook teamed up to beat Stephenson and Madge for a score of 5-2 to Okehampton A.
The next match in group B was between club rivals Okehampton C and G.
Emily Haskell beat Tom Chastey 23-21 in the third leg, Morgan Holt levelled it beating Josh Parsons. Haskell put the C side up beating Will Ash 21-18 in the third. Parsons won the next against Chastey to go 3-1 ahead. Holt and Ash won the next two making it 3-3 going into the last match. However it was not to be for the younger team as Haskell and Parsons teamed up to win the doubles for a 4-3 win to Okehampton C.
Okehampton G played North Wyke. Both teams could only field two players. Steve Grainger won the first against Morgan Holt putting North Wyke 1-0 up. Tom Chastey pulled one back against Yushu Zhang to level at 1-1. Holt and Chastey won the doubles to go 2-1 ahead; Chastey did well to beat Grainger to go 3-1 up. Zhang won the last singles for a final score of 3-2 for Okehampton G.
The match between Okehampton A and C went to the A side as the C team could only field one player, therefore securing a semi-final place for Okehampton A.
Group C saw division one winners Bridestowe and runners up Tavistock pitched against second and third place from division two, Gunnislake A and Okehampton E.
In some really tight matches, Lauren Loosemore and Alfie East for Okehampton E, beat Gunnislake 4-3, just lost to Tavistock 3-4 and did really well to beat Bridestowe 5-2. Gunnislake’s Michael Kinger, Jack Flockton and Michael Alexander did well to beat Tavistock 4-3 but could not fend off Bridestowe losing 5-2.
Tavistock’s Peter Hicks, Angharad Beman and Ptolemy Beman took a crucial victory against Bridestowe, winning 5-2. This put Tavistock and Oke E on the same number of winning games but Tavistock progressed to the semi-final on account of their earlier victory over Okehampton E.
Finally, Group D saw division two winners Milton Abbot competing against fellow division two side Okehampton F and division one teams Anchorage A and Okehampton D.
In the first round, Milton Abbot’s Tom Doidge, Tim Westcott and George Anderson secured a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Anchorage A’s Malcolm Hopkins, Dave Vanstone and Colin Jones. Meanwhile, Oke D’s Luke Bennett, Mari Baldwin and Sarah Jackson had a similarly tough match against Oke F’s Frank Cockburn, Tom Madge and Connor Madge, with the D side just taking it 4-3.
Anchorage A could not stop Okehampton D, with Dave Vanstone taking the only point for Anchorage in a 6-1 loss. Okehampton F did well to beat Milton Abbot 4-3, with Connor and Tom Madge taking singles victories against Anderson and Michael Blatchford and combining with Cockburn to take both doubles.
With all still to play for in the final round, Anchorage beat Oke F 4-3. In a rare trip away from home, Okehampton D travelled to Milton Abbot. In an enjoyable but highly competitive evening, Milton Abbot’s Doidge, Anderson and Ian Osborne did well to secure a 6 -1 victory against Baldwin and Jackson, therefore seeing the Milton Abbot team completing the semi-final line up.