Murphy and Wells Triumph

Having been runners-up at five open tournaments, it was sixth time lucky for Norfolks Ian Murphy and Grahame Wells when they won the mens doubles title at the Norfolk Open Satellite Championships held at the UEA Sportspark.

Seeded two, they had a fairly comfortable passage into the semi-finals where they met 3/4 seeds Richard Accomando and Eddie Chow from Essex, who had earlier put out Norfolks Andrew Piff and Jonathan Cooper. This proved to be a tough test for the home pair but they reached the final in three close sets 21-16, 21-23, 21-17. There they faced up to Andrew Norris and Darren Kerins (Beds), who had beaten the top seeds, Russell Binns and Craig Liversage in another tight, three set semi. Norris and Kerins came out strongly and took the first set 21-19. The Norfolk pair were still struggling in the opening rallies of the second set, but they tightened up their service game and, coupled with strong defensive play, took the set 21-15. With their opponents tiring and the crowd giving good vocal support, Murphy and Wells took a strong grip on the third set, which they won 21-12, to take their first open title.

Murphy was seeded 3/4 in the singles and took his place in the semi-finals against second seed, Richard Wrigley (Worcestershire). But it was a strangely subdued Murphy who seemed unable to get his game together and lost 21-19, 21-16.

The final, between Wrigley and top seed Danny Plant (Essex) was an excellent match, with Plant taking the title with a 12-21, 21-12, 21-16 victory.

Plant secured his second title of the championships when he teamed up with Norfolks Katherine Cooper to win the mixed doubles, beating Jonathan Isaacson and Toni Sturgeon (Suffolk) 21-13, 21-14 in the final.

The entry for the two womens events was very disappointing, particularly for England national star, Rebecca Pantaney who travelled from Gloucestershire to Norfolk, en route to Wimbledon, where she was playing in an Elite Tournament the next day. She was simply in a class above the rest of the field, beating Katherine Cooper in the singles final. But Katherine gained some consolation, winning her second title of the championships by teaming up with Toni Sturgeon to take the doubles, beating Michelle Lewin and Amber Lillingstone 21-16,21-12.