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Brookes lifts eighth Autumn Cup curtain-raiser

Dean Brookes, left, and Nathan Hollingworth in action in the final.
Dean Brookes, left, and Nathan Hollingworth in action in the final.

The annual curtain raiser to the Mansfield and District League season, the Autumn Cup, was won by Dean Brookes for an eighth time.

However, Brookes was taken all the way in the semi-finals and the final, highlighting the improving strength in the league.

The tournament started with four groups of six, with each playing in a round robin format of two games per match.

The top two seeds from each group progressed.

The top four seeds all won their groups with the maximum 10 points — Dean Brookes, Joe Zygadlo, Kalpesh Bhatt and Jack Kirkland.

Second-placed qualifiers were Nathan Hollingworth, Pete Eyre, Mark Sansom and Erlands Skels.

Three of the quarter-finals followed the form book with Zygadlo, Brookes and Kirkland all winning 2-0 against Skels, Sansom and Eyre.

In the other quarter-final, Hollingworth, who played in Division Two last year, beat the experienced Bhatt 11-4, 11-4.

Hollingsworth continued his giantkilling run, beating Zygadlo in the semi-finals 4-11, 11-8, 11-9.

In the other semi-final, Kirkland took Brookes all the way in a fine display of attacking table tennis, Brookes edging through 11-9, 10-12, 11-9.

In the final Hollingsworth, in only his second season in the league, threatened another upset, winning the first game 13-11, before Brookes hit back 11-4, 11-5 to triumph.