TABLE TENNIS: High-flying Castle race to JAG scalp

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Latest sport news from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @lfpsport on Twitter

The first round of Spalding and District Table Tennis League’s Marylands Cup brought its usual round of surprises and debates about the handicaps.

Played as a team event, each player starts on a handicap that can range from zero to 25, playing up to 31.

With last year’s winners Bladerunners having a bye, some interest levelled with runners up JAG.

Sitting just above the foot of Division One, they were drawn against Division Two leaders Castle Sports in what was always likely to be a difficult tie.

Reece Kerry got JAG off to a good start, but with James Gibson playing off his first single figure handicap it proved hard work catching back 12 points.

Castle took the remaining singles, which all went to the third end, plus the doubles for a 4-1 win and now meet the winners of South Holland and Defenders, which had to be postponed.

Phil Coote of Ha’st was another player battling a low handicap – possibly too low – and although he outscored his opponents, it was not enough to win the games.

Team mate Hannah Gilbert won one single but just missed out on another in a double deuce ending, so Outsiders’ Jon Chesworth and Keith Davey went through 4–1 to face Mine’s a Pint or Dark Knights.

With Dark Knights unable to field a full team, just two singles were played and the score stands at 1-1.

Nomads also proceeded through by 4-1 against Division One opponents, coming back from a first game loss to win.

The second singles and doubles went their way quickly, but the final two singles both went all the way – although Nomads took the final ends comfortably. They meet the holders next.

Insidious versus Tornados proved to be very tight, with seven of the 11 ends going down to the last two points.

Insidious took the first, but Tornados fought back with the next singles and doubles before Insidious levelled and then closed the match out 3–2.

They meet Casey’s Pingers in Round Two, which is scheduled for February 12.

Earlier in the evening, Tornados beat Mine’s a Pint 3-2 in a Division Two game that was brought forward.

In another close match, Phil Knowles scored a double for Tornados but Jeremy Hitcham and Andrew Hay levelled the singles with a point each – only to lose the doubles in four ends with two deuces.