Minor premiers Loopers are the first side through to the grand final of the Lithgow Table Tennis Association summer competition following a tough major semi-final win over a gallant Charolais played at the Old Trades Hall.
Loopers always appeared to have Charolais' measure but couldn't quite put them away. Charolais got an early 2-0 advantage before Loopers went ahead 4-2.
Charolais kicked again to go ahead 6-5 but that would be the last time they saw the lead.
A 4-0 burst from Loopers had them up 9-6 and they finished the singles with an unbeatable 12-8 gap. Charolais now had to win both doubles 2-0 to force a sudden-death third doubles.
They made it halfway there, taking the first 2-0 but Loopers proved too good in the second, taking it 2-1 and with it the first Grand Final berth, 14-11.
Mark McAulay and Roy Barlow were in good form for Loopers, both recording 5-2, while Michael Wood lost a couple of close games to finish 2-4.
Dave May almost got his Charolais side home with a night-best 6-2, while Peter Jaccoud returned 2-4 and Sean Jenkins had a forgettable night with 0-6.
The minor semi-final between Grippers and Smashes took a similar route. It was evenly poised at 3-all early on before Grippers broke away to lead 5-3 and 10-6. A 4-0 Smashes run saw them level up at 10-all only to see Grippers grab the last singles for a precious 12-11 edge going into the doubles.
Grippers pinched the first doubles 2-1 to push two games clear at 14-12, leaving Smashes needing to win the second to force sudden-death. Grippers held firm though, taking it themselves 2-0 to end Smashes' season, 16-12.
Shane Eagle (6-3) continued his recent rich vein of form, winning all his singles 2-1, while Lou and Linda Kappos returned 4-2 and 2-6 respectively.
For Smashes, only Leon Rust (5-3) could get his head above water, with Kelly Gurney going 3-4 and Sharnie Roberts 3-5. Fourth team member Matt Kappos played both doubles rubbers, but was unable to turn his teams' fortunes around.
This week's match: Final Charolais v Grippers.
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