THREE of Budmouth’s four teams made it safely through to the quarter-finals of the Weymouth Table Tennis League Handicap Cup as the competition really begins to heat up.
Budmouth A thrashed Pilgrims 5-0 in the second round and will now face either Springfield B or Preston C.
There was a walkover for Budmouth B against Shipton Gorge C while Budmouth D overcame Wyke D 5-3.
The two winners of those ties take on All Saints, who beat Pilgrims B 5-4, and Preston D, victors by the same scoreline against Land Registry, respectively in the last eight.
In the remaining quarter-final, Shipton Gorge A meet Colliton C following wins over Colliton X (5-2) and Wyke C (5-0).
The Budmouth A result may look one-sided but it was closer than the scoreline suggests with four games going to the third leg.
Pilgrims took the first legs in all of those but the cup holders came back in each one to keep alive their hopes of retaining the trophy.
Tom Cherry’s clash with Paul Beeston was one of the most entertaining of the year so far.
Both played some great attacking shots but even better defence away from the table in the big Budmouth school gym.
In the end, Cherry’s returning of Beeston’s smashes proved the difference.
Another standout game was the one between Lily Cherry and Stuart Walden.
Walden raced through the first leg from 8-0 down and the second looked to be going the same way.
Cherry saw her eight-point handicap quickly eaten up as Walden levelled at 12-12 before going in front.
But, despite Walden having match points, Cherry kept calm to produce some excellent forehand shots and crucial serves.
She won that leg 22-20 and the third was another close one but Cherry came out on top 21-17.
Sam Millar played solidly to record the only 2-0 result of the night against Beeston before a 2-1 win over Richard Wiltshire.
The final game was played between Tom Cherry and Wiltshire, and the Division Two rivals played off scratch.
Wiltshire won the opener 21-18 and reeled off 10 successive points in the second to earn a game point.
However, Cherry eventually came back to take it 22-20 and he edged the third 21-18 at the end of a titanic struggle.
All Saints were behind all night until the last two games against Pilgrims B and Preston D also played another long match in their battle with a spirited Land Registry side.
The tie was close all the way and began with Lee Stainer beating Mal Smith 23-21 in both legs.
Game two saw Kevin Goater defeat Steve Jackson then a really tight contest ended with Neil Hardisty overcoming Stan Smith by two legs to one.
The next three games went to Preston D to give them a 4-2 overall lead, leaving them just one from victory.
But Stainer beat Stan Smith, Jackson saw off Mal Smith and Goater and Hardisty were locked at 1-1 in the decider.
The tension was palpable as the players battled to 20-20, meaning whoever wanted the victory had to win by two clear points on alternate serves.
Goater went 21-20 up on his serve then, to everyone’s dismay, Hardisty missed his serve to lose in the most unfortunate manner.
The Handicap Cup structure is such that all teams in the league are able to be matched no matter which division they are in.
In extreme cases the better player can start with minus four points and the lesser player with plus 14.
Individual games are the best of three legs and the winning team is the first to five victories in each tie.
First round results
All Saints w/o Springfield C, Budmouth A 5-1 Dorset Youth B, Budmouth B 5-0 Wyke A, Budmouth D 5-1 Budmouth C, Colliton C 5-2 Colliton A, Red Triangle 3-5 Colliton X, YMCA 3-5 Land Registry, Pilgrims 5-4 Wyke M, Pilgrims B 5-0 Preston B, Preston D 5-4 Shipton Gorge B, Shipton Gorge A 5-3 Preston A, Hawks 1-5 Wyke D.
Second round results
Budmouth A 5-0 Pilgrims, Colliton C 5-0 Wyke C, Colliton X 2-5 Shipton Gorge A, Land Registry 4-5 Preston D, Pilgrims B 4-5 All Saints, Shipton Gorge C w/o Budmouth B, Springfield B v Preston C (to be played), Wyke D 3-5 Budmouth D.