Saints see off Thompson to clinch final spot

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St Chad’s defeated their closest rivals and Division One champions Thompson Insurance A in the semi-final of the Team Handicap Cup, in a thrilling encounter to progress through to the final.

The Saints were given the perfect start when they won the first two sets.

Firstly, Dave Bissett (+6) came from 20-16 down in the first end against Marc Cotton to win 22-20, before comfortably taking the second end 21-13.

Cuthbertson, fresh from his excellent semi-final victory in the Singles Handicap Cup, played well to defeat Thompson’s Diane Cartmell despite giving his opponent a nine-point start

He won the first comfortably 21-12, but was made to fight all the way in the second, narrowly winning 21-18.

Thompson’s Andrew Wilkinson pulled one back for the Champions, defeating Jimmy Scope (+6), eventually winning 21-12 and 21-14.

Cuthbertson (+9) restored the two-set lead for the Saints with an excellent win over Cotton 21-13, 21-14.

Wilkinson made the match score 3–2 after a fine win over Bissett (+9).

Next up saw Scope play Cartmell (+13) in a very close and entertaining game.

Both players played some great table tennis despite the importance of the set, with Scope just edging the set 22-20, 21-18, to put the Saints into a commanding 4-2 lead.

Once again, Wilkinson gave Thompson’s hope by defeating Cuthbertson (+11) 21-16, 21-18, to make the score 4-3 to the Saints.

If the champions were to have any chance of progressing to the final, they had to win the next set. Scope (+2) took the first end against Cotton 21-11, before Cotton drew level.

In the final and deciding end, Cotton continued to dominate the game taking a 10-9 lead at the halfway stage, before Scope eventually edged the game 21-15, for St Chads, to ensure his team progressed to the final.

The other semi-final was a more straight forward affair, with Division Three’s St John’s B progressing to the final with a 5-1 win over Sacriston St Bede’s C.

Sacriston’s McPherson gave his team a glimmer of hope with a good win over Gleghorn (+4), winning 21-13, 21-16.

However, the hope was short lived and St John’s won the next two sets to win the match 5-1 and can now look forward to a final encounter with Division One side St Chad’s.

The final will take place on Tuesday at Silksworth IM Church, with a 7pm start.

In the first semi-final of the Singles Handicap Cup, St Chad’s team-mates Barry Cuthbertson and Jimmy Scope were drawn to play each other.

Cuthbertson (+8) set out his stall to play steadily and not be drawn into attacking play which would have played to Scope’s defensive strengths.

Cuthbertson took the first end comfortably 21-9, but was pushed all the way in the second, narrowly winning 22-20 before winning the third 21-10 to progress to the final against Billy Upton (+10) (Durham CA A).

Upton had a great victory over Dave Pringle (North East Bed Centre), coming from 2-0 down to win the final three games 21-17, 21-18 and 21-18.

The final will take place on Friday, April 26, at Sandhill View Centre.

Results: Division One: Durham CA A 10 vs. Thompson Ins. B 0, St Chads 10 vs. Thompson Ins. B 0

Division 3: Sacriston St Bedes C 9 St John C 1, Sacriston St Bedes D 9 St John C 1, St John B 8 St John C 2, *Lanchester CC 0 Redby CA B 10, *St John B 7 Sacriston St Bedes C 3, *West CA B 4 St Gabriels C 6

* Denotes not included in league table

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