TABLE TENNIS: Holland clinch title in emphatic style

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SOUTH Holland clinched the Spalding and District Table Tennis League Division One title in typical style.

Catching up on a delayed fixture, John Gilbert and Richard Hammond won through by 5-0 when they only needed a single point.

For the opposition Garry Wilkinson did well to take an end off Hammond, the current number one.

Despite winning by the same score, Bladerunners are all but out of the race for the runners-up place, trailing by nine with just ten available. Opponents Whipping Boys avoided a complete whitewash by taking ends in a singles and the doubles.

In Division Two, Chunky and Chunkier strengthened their grip on third, though second also seems to be beyond them, with a 4-1 defeat of rivals Moulton Butchers.

Paddy Palgrave was in fine form with two wins, while Gary Simpson scored for the losers.

Baldy n Bob picked up a rare point when they went down 4-1 to Untitled, Dave Pratt scoring his third of the season. However, only one of the five games finished in regulation and that had a high scoring deuce.

Away from league fixtures, Hammond confirmed his status by taking the Supreme title late in the evening. Jean White, having defeated Phil Chandler in three close ends earlier, lost out to the South Holland man 11-7, 11-8, 13-11.

In the Marylands Cup, Pow! had made spectacular use of their handicaps to reach the final at the expense of Division One outfit JDM Allsorts 4-1.

There they will play Whipping Boys, who saw off Extel 3-2 in a tight contest with just one game failing to reach a third end. Even then the right point scored the other way would have reversed the result.

However, Pow! lost out in their Guardian Cup semi going down 132-42 to Table Tekkers over the table with the hidden handicap of 68 not being enough to save them.

Progress was also made in the Roy Gibson with the last two quarter-finals being played. Chandler (5) defeated Dave Gibson (6) 31-29, 31-22 and now meets Wilkinson (16), while Jordan Hayes (15) had enough to overcome Hammond (3) 31-18, 31-28.

But then in the semi he found James Gibson (17) too strong and went out 31-24, 31-18.

• It looks increasingly likely that the league is going to lose at least four teams’ worth of players before next season, something it can ill afford both in terms of numbers and income.

Anyone at all interested in joining the sport after the summer will be welcomed at any time between now and September, regardless of their level, and the sooner the better to help the league plan the way forward.