Players raise their game at U16 Champs

The Norfolk Under 16s Schools Championships proved to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable events of recent years. It was also very competitive with lots of close games throughout the tournament and relatively few easy wins.

Over 20 entrants contested the boys singles and the standard was uniformly high with many keenly contested matches. It was a sign of things to come when one of the seeds, John Carrier (Notre Dame), failed to progress from his group. This was partly due to the after-effects of a virus, but also due to the strength of the opposition.

Competition for the semi-final places was intense and, eventually, Kurtis Lefevre came up against his older brother, Lucas (both from Notre Dame) in the first semi-final. This proved to be one of the best matches of the day, with Kurtis winning with nothing to spare 21-20. In the second semi-final, Ryan Minns (Smithdon High) was always in control against Lee Robinson (Acle High), winning 21-9. The final produced another close contest with Lefevres slightly greater control overcoming Minns power. Lefevre kept just ahead throughout the match,finally winning 21-17 to become champion. Carrier gained some consolation by winning the plate event, beating John Battrick (Cromer High) in the final.

Minns moved on to reach the boys doubles final with partner, Chris Piff (CNS), their opponents being Lucas Lefevre and a rejuvenated Carrier. This was perhaps the match of the tournament in terms of sustained high quality play, with many long and exciting rallies. In the end, a couple of crucial service faults proved costly, with Minns and Piff coming out on top 21-18.

A small entry for the girls singles event was disappointing, but all entrants were of county standard, which led to a very close contest in a round-robin format. Emma Davies (Norwich High) won the competition with four wins out of five with Holly Bowen (KES) taking second place on points.She was one of three girls who won three matches, the other two being Jessica Rutherford (Gt.Yarmouth High) and newcomer, Harriet Matthews (Hethersett Old Hall). Bowen then teamed up with Rebecca Chapman (Springwood) to win the girls doubles, in another closely fought round-robin competition from Rutherford and Stephanie Rowland (Caister High).

Ryan Minns completed a very successful day by taking the mixed doubles title, partnered by Stephanie Rowland.. The younger pairing of Mark Robinson (Acle High) and Holly Bowen played exceptionally well to run the champions really close and come in second place.

* Norfolks Over 40s team played very well to beat Cambridgeshire 10-2 in the Veterans League, although the final score disguised many close, hard fought games. Eric Plane and Julian Ross and Linda Sawyer and Ann Jenkins won both their level doubles, while Geoff Roff and David Guy and Norma Bowen and Lizzie Cubitt won one each.The team then clinched the match by winning all four mixed doubles.