Tough weekend for Norfolks teams

Norfolks continued lack of strength in depth, particularly in the ladies events, is always most cruelly exposed when they are up against strong teams fielding a sprinkling of former international players. And so it was last weekend when the countys first and second teams were soundly beaten by an identical 11-4 scoreline by Bucks and Cambridgeshire. Unfortunately, the ladies were unable to chalk up a win and lost all of their twelve singles and doubles games and all six mixed doubles also went to their opponents.

The first team were playing at the National Badminton Centre at Milton Keynes without Susan Pennington and Denise Coleman and their prospects didnt look good when the home side fielded ex England international stars John Quinn and Sara Sankey, Nevertheless, they got off to a great start with team captain, Ian Murphy and Eric Plane both winning their singles.In the level doubles Murphy and Grahame Wells and Plane and Tim Hudson-Church beat the Bucks second pairing, but Quinn and his Danish international partner displayed superior racket skills, reaction, speed about the court and the Danes strong smash which proved too hot for the Norfolk team to handle.

For the ladies, Sharn Crane played well in her singles, but Sara Sankey was a class above the Norfolk

pairings and Crane and Linda Sawyer and Katherine Cooper and Amber Lillingstone found the going tough and didnt really get close in any of their doubles.

Norfolks misery continued as they lost all three mixed doubles, with Hudson-Church and Lillingstone getting closest to a victory. But its now up to Norfolk to put that result behind them and, hopefully, field their strongest team in their next match at home to the Herts second string on November 28.

The second team also found the going tough in their away match against Cambridgeshire, also going down 11-4. The match started well enough with good singles victories for team captain, Alex Wyett and Jonathan Cooper. In the mens doubles, Wyett and Justin Gerrard continued their early season run of form by comfortably winning both their games, while Cooper teamed up with Jon Atmore who was making his county debut. Although they lost both their games they played well and look good prospects for the future.

Katie Price and Lani Yangchi Lin were also making their county debuts, partnering Katie Scotter and Tanya Harrison respectively, but their luck was out and they had nothing to show for their efforts against strong opposition. All three mixed doubles also went to the home side, making it a very frustrating day for the second team, but with a determination to do better in the return home match in January.