Murphy takes Suffolk Open title
It was eight years ago when Ian Murphy came runner up in the Cambridgeshire Open only to go on and win the Suffolk Championship. History has now repeated itself when, having lost the Cambs singles final to Daniel Plant (Essex) a few weeks ago, Murphy is, once again, Suffolk champion, beating James White (Leics) in the final. Seeded four, Murphy survived a very tough and pacey semi-final against James twin brother, Simon, 15-11,15-10, while White came through a very exhausting three setter against Plant. The final was an anti-climax with White, frustrated by a string of unforced errors, having no answer to Murphys aggression and speed around the court, which gave the Norfolk man a relatively comfortable15-4,15-7 victory.
Another Norfolk triumph came in the womens doubles, when Katherine Cooper teamed up with ex county star, Charity Barnes, now playing for Herts, to beat Rebecca Panteney (Glos) and Toni Sturgeon (Suffolk) in arguably the most exciting match match of the Championship 15-11,3-15, 15-8. Both pairs played some excellent badminton of contrasting styles and Katherine was delighted to win her first open title, which was very well deserved.
Murphy and Cooper continued to catch the eye by reaching the semi-finals of the mens and mixed doubles.In the mens, Murphy, partnered by Daniel Plant, put up a good fight against hot favourites and eventual champions, Chris Roe and Tom Armstrong (Warks/Leics) before going under 15-10,15-13. In the mixed doubles Murphy partnered Toni Sturgeon while Katherine Cooper teamed up with James White, but both pairs were beaten in the semis in three sets.
* The Over 40s had a good win in the Veterans League, beating Cambridgeshire 8-4.
Mark Bennett and Steve Thacker and Geoff Roff and Julian Ross won both their mens doubles games, but the women found victory more elusive with Linda Sawyer and Sally Bridgstock winning one and Jane Sheldrake and Suzanne Benton having nothing to show for their efforts. Norfolk then won three of the four mixed to claim the match.
* Norfolk county player, Stephanie Buttle took her first open title on the circuit, when she won the East Midlands Under 17s Bronze Extra Doubles crown.It was certainly a hard earned and well deserved success, with Stephanie winning two of her group games 15-14 and the final 15-13.