Rising table tennis stars make their mark

TABLE TENNIS: Youth dominated the Great Yarmouth & District League handicap singles, with five youngsters reaching the last eight.

Group A had Luke Demetriou and Josh Baxter in a play-off for top position, with the latter winning. James Smith was a clear winner in Group B, with Curtis Beales taking the runner-up spot.

Again a play-off was needed when, in Group C, Mike Wood and Joshua Baker tied for first spot with six points each, with Josh winning the play-off.

Group D was hotly contested, with Martin Clarke just scraping the odd point to take top position, followed closely by Tadeusz Maciocha.

The quarter-finals saw the first two matches go to three, with Josh beating Tadeusz and Luke taking out Martin.

Mike Wood then came up against a determined James Smith and went down 21-11, 21-12. Curtis Beales fell to Joshua Baker in two straight games.

Josh lost a close first game in the semi-finals to Joshua and then the latter took advantage of his 15-point start to hit his way to the final with a second game win of 21-10.

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The second semi between Luke and James swung first one way and then the other. Luke won 21-19, 13-21, 21-18 in a most sporting encounter enjoyed by all the spectators.

With both young players on handicaps of plus 15, the final started at scratch, and the youngsters gave a highly an entertaining performance.

Joshua took the first 21-18 then lost the next 14-21, and determined players took the third to 20-20 before Luke won the deciding point to claim the title. An excellent final umpired by Lewis Carby.

There were two groups in the doubles. The A section saw Ryan Moore partnered by Lewis Carby dropping just one point to Ray Lee and Martin Clarke and progressing to the semi-finals. Ray and Martin joined them as runners-up with five points.

The B section was fiercely contested and again youngsters Joshua Baker and Luke Demtriou, this time in partnership, forged ahead unbeaten to take their place in the semi-finals.

Ernie George and his partner Curtis Beales scored five points to move to joint second, together with Colin Fortescue and Josh Baxter. The play-off was won by Ernie and Curtis, who then met Ryan and Lewis, losing 21-15, 19-21, 17-21.

Joshua and Luke defeated Ray and Martin to reach the final.

Their confidence was high when they won the first set 21-12, but the experience of Ryan and Lewis served them well and they won the next two sets 21-19, 21-19 to take the title.

Tournament officer Charlie Hacon was in attendence and the referee was Edna Fletcher.

Thanks went to Mill Lane Centre and Kings Church Centre for providing the facilities.

The next tournament will be the Town Championships during the week beginning March 28, with the finals the following week.