Another good weekend for both Norfolk Teams

The county first and second teams fought hard to achieve two excellent away wins against Oxfordshire and Staffs III in the Inter-County Regional Championships.

For thr first team, captain Ian Murphy and Eric Plane both won their singles, Murphy in two straight sets and Plane in three. Murphy and Alex Wyett then took both their level doubles while Plane and Tim Hudson-Church and Katherine Cooper and Amber Lillingstone chalked up one apiece. Ann Jenkins and Michelle Lewin, playing up from the second team, lost both their games.

With the match score standing at six all, the mixed doubles became the deciding factor. Hudson-Church had to pull out with an ankle injury, so "super sub" Plane

partnered Cooper to a 15-10,15-12 victory. Meanwhile, Wyett and Lillingstone, 5-13 down in the first set, battled their way back into the match to win 15-13,15-13. Despite suffering from a sudden migraine attack, Murphy teamed up for the first time with Jenkins and they ran out 15-4, 15-2 winners to make the final scoreline 9-6 in Norfolks favour. Murphy won all four of his games for the second match running and the team has taken a mid-table place in Division 1b, with half their matches played.

The second team had a real rollercoaster ride against Staffs III. Steering defeat in the face with the score 4-7 down, they showed an admirable team spirit to eventually come out on top 8-7. This was despite getting the match off to a poor start, with only Sharn Crane winning her singles. But the team fought back in the doubles, with captain Justin Gerrard and Christian Nielsen and Crane and Linda Sawyer winning both their doubles. However, the scratch pairings of Jon Plunkett and Jonathan Cooper and Katie Price and Mel Love, making her county debut, found the going too tough and lost their games.

So, Norfolk needed all three of the mixed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Cooper and Love were first on court and won a tense three setter, 17-15 in the third. Then Nielsen and Sawyer comfortably took the second, to leave the match tied with one game to go. Gerrard and Crane easily won the first set and victory was in sight when Gerrard slipped and twisted his ankle. Although Staffs tried to get their opponents to concede, the Norfolk pair dug deep, finally winning the game and match.

Amongst some excellent individual performances, Sharn Crane won all four of her games, whilst Justin Gerrard, Christian Nielsen and Linda Sawyer were undefeated, with Sawyer yet to drop a set this season. The second team are also sitting in a mid-table spot.

* With four regular players missing, the Over 50s county team found the going tough against Lincolnshire and lost their match 4-8. Bob Tooby and Bob Henderson and Bob Collinson and Peter Newman picked up one level doubles apiece, while Collinson and Joy Eglen and Newman and Carol Longland each won a mixed. Despite playing well, Sue Banks and Linda Foster came away empty handed.

* Nottinghamshire are still the county to beat in the Shires League. They were far too strong for Norfolks Under 13s & Under 17s teams winning comfortably 15-5 in each match. For the Under 13s, Mark Robinson, Ashley Robb and Andrew Carrier won their singles and Robinson and Luke Cox and Robb and Carrier won one doubles. Serena Verney, Louise Thacker, Annie Giles and Amy Bonham found the going too tough. It was the girls who chalked up most wins for the Under 17s. Kirsty Spinks and Pavitra Chotai won their singles and then Spinks and Stephanie Buttle and Sarah Lewin and Lauren Blake won a doubles each. Lee Thomas and Pavitra Chotai played well to take their mixed doubles. Chris Piff, Rohan Chitale and James Worthington-Hill played to the best of their ability, but the Notts boys were just too good.