It was another weekend of mixed fortune and frustration for the county senior squad, with the first team crashing to their third successive defeat, this time at the hands of Herts 2, while the second string beat the Warwickshire third team by nine games to six.
Herts were always going to be tough visitors to beat but, with Norfolk fielding their strongest side of the season, hopes were high of the home team taking at least one point from the match. But they got off to a bad start when both Ian Murphy and Eric Plane lost their singles games. England star Charity Barnes, now at Herts University and paying a return visit to her home county, beat Susan Pennington , but Norfolk chalked up their first victory with Sharn Crane playing very well to take her singles.
But the match was lost when Norfolk failed to win any of the mens doubles, although three of the four games went to three sets. Murphy described his and Grahame Wells performance as "their worst ever" while luck was out for Plane and Justin Gerrard, who was playing up from the second team in the absence of Tim Hudson-Church.
The ladies, on the other hand, played well to share their level doubles with Katherine Cooper and Denise Coleman beating Charity Barnes and her partner, winning 15-13 in the third set, and Pennington and Crane beating the visitors second pair in two straight sets. Murphy and Pennington, playing together again for the first time in two years, had an encouraging victory in their mixed, but by then the match was well and truly lost.
With only one point gained out of a possible nine Norfolk are facing a difficult second half to the season with the threat of relegation back to Division 2 possibly resting on the double fixture against old rivals, Middlesex.
The second team are doing better in Division 3, with four points from two victories. They played very well to beat the Warwickshire third team 9-6, getting the match off to a good start by winning all four singles.Team Captain, Alex Wyett and Tanya Harrison had comfortable victories while Jonathan Cooper and Amber Lillingstone came out on top in tough three setters. Cooper came back from being 4-13 down in the third to win his game 17-14, while Lillingstone showed true grit and determination to take her singles 11-9,8-11,11-8.
The match was won when the men chalked up comfortable victories in their level doubles. Mark Bennett, playing as a replacement for Justin Gerrard, teamed up with his regular veterans partner, Eddie Simmons and they made light work of the opposition, comfortably winning their two doubles games, while Wyett and Jon Atmore totally overpowered their opponents in theirs.
Conversely, the Norfolk ladies had an unsuccessful time in their level doubles with Warwick winning all four, although Lillingstone and Harrison and Michelle Lewin and Katie Scotter had close games against their oppenents second pair. Norfolk needed to win two of the three mixed doubles to take the maximum three points from the match, but could only manage one, through Lillingstone and Wyett, who was unbeaten in his four games
* The County Under 13s and Under 15s took part in the East Anglia Challenge last weekend, playing against Herts, Essex, Suffolk and Northants. Both teams played well to beat Suffolk and Northants, but inevitably lost to the much stronger teams from Herts and Essex, thus finishing in third place in the competition. The Under 13s were represented by Craig Thomas, Kurtis Lefevre, Adam Stubbing, Luke Cox, Emma Davies, Rebecca Heeles, Kate Chilvers and Rebecca Chapmen, while Lucas Lefevre, Ryan Minns, Chris Piff, Sarah Lewin, Stephanie Rowland and Grace Jones played for the Under 15s.