Weekend Match Roundup
The two county teams continued their fight against relegation in matches against Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire at the UEA Sportspark over the weekend. Although both teams narrowly lost their matches 8-7, the scoreline was sufficient to give them a "losing point", which could prove vital at the end of the season.
The first team, playing Bucks, got their match off to a good start with singles victories for Ian Murphy and Eric Plane. A third win looked on the cards with Katherine Cooper 10-3 up and at match point in the third set of her game. But, unfortunately, she slipped, fell and, after paramedic treatment, had to retire and forfeit the game to her opponent. The rules permit a substitution in these circumstances, so a quick phone call resulted in Sharn Crane arriving in time for the level doubles. Sharn had, earlier, pulled out of the match, feeling far from well, but, nevertheless, she and Susan Pennington played well to take one of their games. Denise Coleman and Linda Sawyer fought hard but without success in their two games.
The mens doubles saw the return, after five years absence from county play, of Tim Vickers, who partnered Murphy to one win out of two games played. Plane and Tim Hudson-Church also halved their games.
So, with the match score standing at 5-7 going into the mixed, Norfolk needed just one game to secure a point, but they managed two through the good play of Murphy and Pennington and Hudson-Church and Coleman.
With two matches left to play, Norfolk are now two points ahead of bottom placed Middlesex - and those two matches are against - Middlesex! It couldnt be much closer.
The second team also welcomed the return of an ex-county player, Louise Culyer, who agreed to play in the absence of Tanya Harrison, not knowing she was required to play singles as well as doubles! But she teamed up with Amber Lillingstone, in a scratch partnership, to take one of their doubles games. Lillingstone had earlier won her singles as did Alex Wyett and Jonathan Cooper. Wyett and Justin Gerrard also shared their doubles, but Jon Atmore and Eddie Simmons and Katie Scotter and Michelle Lewin missed out on both.
This meant that the second team also had to take one mixed to pick up a "losing point", but Wyett and Culyer and Gerrard and Lillingstone saw them home with two great wins. This still leaves them just ahead of bottom placed Warwicks III, who have yet to win a match and look destined for the drop into Division 4.
* Those two Norfolk stalwarts, Eric Plane and Tim Hudson-Church, continue to sweep aside all opposition in the Over 40s section of Veterans Tournaments. This time it was the Scottish Open, with Eric comfortably winning the singles title and then teaming up with Tim to take the level doubles. Tim, with his partner Debbie Rigby from Lancashire, made at a hat trick of wins for the Norfolk duo, by coming out on top in the mixed doubles, a repeat of their Nationals success. Next month they will be representing England in an international match against Scotland.